Microsoft promises to support modding, overlays, G-Sync and Freesync in Universal Windows Apps

Phil Spencer

At Microsoft's //Build/ 2016 conference on Wednesday, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that Microsoft had heard the (negative) feedback on Universal Windows Apps loud and clear, and will be supporting modding and overlays on the Universal Windows Platform. Microsoft also plans to support disabling V-Sync and enabling games to work with G-Sync and FreeSync Variable refresh monitors in an update coming in May.

Spencer didn't go into detail about those upcoming features, but he did give a short demo of how developers will be able to easily convert existing Windows32 applications to Universal Windows apps, while retaining support for mods and features like Steamworks. Spencer showed an existing Steamworks game, Age of Empires II, running as a converted app for UWP (which let it show off how many players were online in a Start menu live tile) and the game seemingly ran normally. Spencer also promised any of the mods in the game would work just fine, but didn't demonstrate them in action.

"This allows these games to take advantage of the common services and technology in both Xbox and Windows 10, things like platform-specific features like Live Tile support, notifications," said Spencer after showing a demonstration of a converted version of The Witcher 3. "We have consistent input support with controller and mouse and keyboard across all of our devices, and distribution in the Windows Store or any other store."

We still have a lot of questions about how these features will work, especially with converted games. Will they support mods that aren't developer-sanctioned? Does support for overlays mean any piece of recording software like Fraps will work just fine? We hope to get more details from Microsoft later today at the //Build/ conference.

Age of Empires 1

Age of Empires 2

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).