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It’s been a while since Microsoft moved to the Universal Windows Platform system that attempts make apps, well, universal across Xbox One and systems running Windows 10, minimizing the development work between the platforms by unifying many elements. 2016 saw the release of the first AAA video games to the Windows Store, a move that was considered unsuccessful by many players due to Windows 10 Store games suffering performance problems on PC due to the UWP program.

Now, in 2017, Microsoft is working on the next big update to the Windows 10 OS specifically targeted at gamers. This update will introduce the (recently leaked) ‘Game Mode’ that should improve the performance of video games on PC.

According to Windows Central and their sources, Windows 10’s Game Mode will try to improve any given UWP game’s performance by reallocating system resources so games, which are often taxing on system resources, will run better. This mode “streamlines variations between Xbox consoles and PCs”, which should allow Windows 10 machines to run games according to the standards for Xbox One games as set out by Microsoft.

Microsoft describes those “target” standards as 900p to 1080p resolution for Xbox One and 4K resolution with 60 frames per second for Project Scorpio, and we’ve received evidence to suggest that the Xbox One already utilizes “Game Mode” in games developed for the Universal Windows Platform.

According to their sources, Game Mode is already a part of the devkits developers use to build their games for Microsoft’s platforms, with updates to the system being released in the fall and winter of this year. This system is, of course, tied into the UWP program and can only be used by games using the UWP program.

Our information states that games developed for the Windows 10, Xbox One, and Project Scorpio ecosystem specifically need to be “Game Mode enabled” Universal Windows Apps (UWA).

What this essentially means is that developers can already use the Game Mode functionality in the devkits provided by Microsoft, making it easier for developers to develop games for Microsoft’s ecosystem without needing to retool their games for PC and Xbox One.

This could explain why we’re already seeing major players jump on the UWA-train, with Resident Evil 7 set for a Windows 10 Store debut on January 24th, 2017. If it is a Game Mode enabled UWA, Resident Evil 7 is ready for true 4K on Project Scorpio as a result, unpacking its 4K PC textures and settings when it installs on the console.

This is the next step for Windows in their continued mission to consolidate gaming on both the PC and the Xbox One under the same roof.

Whether this will turn out the way Microsoft hopes it’ll turn out is anyone’s guess at this point, but the Windows Store remains an unpopular alternative to the Steam Store for many players despite the UWP and UWA programs allowing for cross-platform play and syncing of savegames and settings between versions on different platforms.

The Game Mode is expected to be released for Windows 10 systems with the upcoming Creators Update scheduled to release somewhere this spring.

What do you think of the Game Mode? Let us know in the comment section down below!


Chris Anderson

Staff Writer

I've been playing games since I was just barely able to walk, and I never really stopped playing them. When I'm not fulfilling my duties as senior staff writer and tech reviewer, I'm either working on music, producing one of two podcasts or doing freelance work.


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