Windows 10 Game Mode goes live in latest Insider build

Windows Insiders who are subscribed to the Fast ring can begin testing out the much anticipated Game Mode in the latest Windows 10 preview build (15019). However, Microsoft warns that there are some unrelated bugs in the newest build that could impact the ability to play popular games. In fact, Microsoft debated the decision of whether or not to release this build in its current state.

"We recognize that this is painful for those wanting to try out the new gaming features announced this week. We deliberated a lot on whether to release this build to Insiders with these issues, however we decided to go ahead and release it as we need feedback from Insiders on other areas of the OS," Microsoft stated in a blog post announcing the new build. "The team is working hard to get these platform bugs fixed and we plan to push the new gaming features again when we release a build that includes these fixes."

The post specifies "Popular games... may experience crashes or black screens when trying to load due to a platform issue. When clicking on certain elements in desktop (Win32) games, the game minimizes and cannot be restored."

In other words, don't download this build for a peek at Game Mode unless you're okay with some big issues—some stuff's definitely going to be broken. We wouldn't recommend this build for your primary PC, but if you have a secondary gaming system sitting around, go wild.

Microsoft's new Game Mode is an optimization scheme that prioritizes resources and stifles some background tasks to boost performance in games. Users who want to test it out can navigate to Settings > Gaming and flip the Game Mode toggle on. Once that's turned on, users can enable the feature in UWP and Win32 games by bringing up the Game bar (Windows + G) and clicking the Settings button.

Microsoft gave us the first details of how Game Mode will work in an interview earlier this week. The ultimate goal is to provide a performance boost by bumping up the average and peak framerates.

The newest preview build also enables built-in Beam streaming to broadcast gameplay for both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. This is another option that can be found by pulling up the Game bar.

In this newest build Microsoft added support for more than a dozen games in full-screen mode with Windows Game bar. They include Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 2 - Zombies, FIFA 14 and 17, FIFA Manager 14, Grim Dawn, Guild Wars 2, Left 4 Dead 2, MapleStory, Paragon, Payday 2, Rocket League, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Sims 4, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, and Warface.

The last bit of interest to gamers is a new Games section in Settings. This has been added to Windows 10's Settings app in the latest build to make it easier to access the new gaming features. It's not fully fleshed out yet, but will continue to receive more features as Microsoft makes available new preview builds.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).