Rumor: Windows 10 build 14997 hints at Game Mode feature

On Christmas day, an internal build of Windows 10 (version 14997) leaked to the internet. Unlike the Preview builds that Microsoft distributes to Windows Insiders, which are mostly-complete builds intended for QA testing, this leaked build appears to include early versions of multiple unannounced features. According to Twitter user WalkingCat (@h0x0d), the 14997 build includes a new "Game Mode."

WalkingCat is the same person who first broke the story that Microsoft could be working on a hybrid emulation scheme for x86-on-ARM64. This time around, the Windows hacker-at-large seems to think that Game Mode might bring a console-like low-overhead gaming experience to desktop Windows by adjusting the balance of hardware resources to favor running games.

The idea isn't exactly far-fetched given that the Xbox One already does something similar to Game Mode, and (at least in theory) that machine runs on a good part of the same codebase as desktop Windows 10. Sadly, there isn't a lot of detailed information about the purported Game Mode. It's not clear whether the new mode would be available strictly for Windows Store apps, or whether it would apply to standalone games and those purchased through Steam, GoG, and other services.

Windows 10 Build 14997 includes some other new stuff besides Game Mode. A new Cortana-focused setup program allows users to install the OS using voice commands. Themes can be applied in the Settings app, rather than requiring users to open the old Personalization applet. There's also an automatic blue light-reduction feature that can be configured to adjust the display's color temperature based on the time of day. All of these features and more should be coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update, expected to launch early next year.

Comments closed
    • alrey
    • 3 years ago

    I remember the time when antivirus software has game mode.

    • hasseb64
    • 3 years ago

    10 years ago I shut down processes and programs while doing gaming, but now? Will not impact 98% of the games

    • dyrdak
    • 3 years ago

    I used to think that cat and mouse game mode has been part of W10 since the beta. Whenever users figured out the way to turn off forced upon junk and fix other annoyances, MS came out with next build that set everyone back. Or have users turn off updates, win win for the security I guess;).
    I’d trade Game Mode for actual improvements and choice in setting up my system the way I like it (and not the one mandated by Redmond committee and blessed by Satya).

    • CScottG
    • 3 years ago

    They should have had this a looooooong time ago (..and I can remember “shelling-out” Windows 2000 Pro to effectively do this: programs – gone, explorer shell – gone, most drivers – gone, etc..).

    I honestly expected them to have had an on-chip OS by 2012 (with a segmented “boot” for this capability) .. but you know: Ballmer.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    I’m willing to bet that Game Mode is UWP only.

      • ClickClick5
      • 3 years ago

      This is my thought as well.

    • Tristan
    • 3 years ago

    DX 12 was meant to decrease overhead, and didn’t helped ?

      • I.S.T.
      • 3 years ago

      DX12 is brand new and needs to basically have an engine built around it meant for DX12 style stuff. If you don’t do that, you won’t get the full effect. If the game’s workload and engine are amenable, a game ported to DX12 might get a speedup.

      In short: software dev is really complex and [i<]slow[/i<].

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 3 years ago

      DX12 only addresses (a good portion of) the work in setting up rendering commands for the GPU. It obviously does nothing for all the rest of the game logic…

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    I remember programs doing this for a long time, before even consumer multicore. Even back then it was a pretty modest boost unless you were utterly stupid with what else was running, I can only imagine on modern systems with more RAM than previous systems had HDD and lots of fast cores this would be pretty modest.

    If I’m wrong and it proves to work pretty well…Why was all that sitting there for the taking all these years then, Microsoft? lol

      • Hinton
      • 3 years ago

      That was my thought at first. I am running a Haswell at 4.4ghz with 16GB of memory. So I am not limited by Windows in any way.

      However, I also have a Z3735F based netbook with 2GB of memory. This will barely launch World of Warcraft, pre-Legion, anything there would help. 😛

    • TwistedKestrel
    • 3 years ago

    Could this be meant for more modest computers? I don’t see it doing a whole lot on your average gaming-oriented PC.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    All I really want from a game mode is a way to launch a 10-foot UI with an Xbox controller that made it easy to launch any game regardless of the store I bought it from. Steam kinda does this with the guide button but Steam has to be the foreground app and it doesn’t auto-add non-steam games.

      • nanoflower
      • 3 years ago

      It does look like the Xbox app auto adds games regardless of where they were bought judging by all the games that showed up in it when I ran it for the one Msft store game I had purchased. I’m going to guess the 10 foot UI is for living room use and not a UI that’s at your desk. 😉

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        The Xbox app on my pc has a couple of games but not nearly everything I have installed.

        And yeah this is a request for a decent PC UI. No chance with all those Xbox Ones to sell I know, but here’s hoping.

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