It's finally official—the Windows 10 Creators Update will start rolling out to the general public starting April 11, Microsoft confirmed today. Microsoft made a point to mention it's a "free update," which could indicate that major updates will one day require a paid subscription, or maybe just even more ads.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves with speculation. In the here and now, updates to Windows 10 are still free, including the forthcoming Creators Update. It's the first major update to Windows 10 this year, with one more planned for a later date.
For gamers, the Creators Update will introduce built-in broadcasting via Beam. This will allow both PC and Xbox One players to stream their game sessions and interact with viewers in real-time. Microsoft is promising low-latency here, with no additional hardware or software required.
"With Beam, you don’t just watch your favorite game streams, you can chat, interact and participate with streamers and community in entirely new ways," Microsoft says.
The other thing to look for is a new Windows 10 Game Mode. What this does is prioritize resources to boost performance in games. While that already happens to a some degree on PCs, Game Mode is designed to do a better job of it.
"I will say that it's likely that we'll be able to eke out a little bit more performance on the UWP side with some games, essentially because of the way Win32's architected vs. the way UWP's architected. Specifically, there's no way at the platform level to really know where a game starts and stops.... You could have a number of Windows services running, we don't know if that's part of the game or not, that the game's calling into," Kevin Gammill, a partner group program manager for Xbox, told PCGamer in an interview.
Beyond gaming, the Creators Update will introduce a Windows Defender Security Center. This is a dashboard where users can tweak their security options in one place, versus bouncing around Windows in search of different settings.
The Creators Update will also that some people have with the OS. As part of that, Microsoft altered its Express Settings option so that it more clearly shows users "simple but important" privacy settings that they will have to choose when upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8. Existing Windows 10 users will see the same thing via notifications prompting the selection of privacy settings.
The Creators Update will bring about a spattering of other improvements as well, such as faster browsing through Microsoft's Edge browser, tighter security, a night light feature that reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your screen so that you an sleep better.