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Windows 10’s TruePlay gaming tech starts sniffing out cheaters

Microsoft’s TruePlay is just one of dozens of features debuting with Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, but one of the few Microsoft didn’t really talk about. Thanks to a rather technical MSDN support page Microsoft posted, we now more about this anti-cheating technology for PC gaming, built right into Windows 10.

Anti-cheating software has a fraught relationship with gamers. No gamer likes cheaters. No gamer likes being booted off a game for cheating when they’re not. And gamers get furious when anti-cheating technology or DRM either prevents them from accessing their games, or slows down or trashes their systems. (Names like PunkBuster, Game Guard, and others live in infamy for a reason.) 

What this means for you: Anti-cheat software isn’t new, but TruePlay marks the first time it’s been built natively into Windows 10. The market for Windows Store games is a much smaller market compared to, say, Steam (which has its own Valve Anti-Cheat tech), so it’s hard to know how much TruePlay will be used. Still, gamers have to wonder how TruePlay might spoil the fun with its own intrusive anti-cheat tactics. We’ll have to wait and see. 

TruePlay: An optional anti-cheating tweak, or not?

You can find TruePlay within the Windows 10 Settings Gaming menu. TruePlay is clear about its mission in the setting’s description: “Gaming is more fun when everyone plays fairly,” Microsoft says.

TruePlay is actually off by default, at least within the Windows 10 16299.19 build. Opting out could have consequences, though: “Turning this off may limit the games you can play,” the description adds.

To ensure fairness, TruePlay will be watching your behavior while you game, the description explains: “We’ll share info with games using TruePlay to make sure everything runs the way it was meant to.” 

The support page adds more under-the-hood detail. “A game enrolled in TruePlay will run in a protected process, which mitigates a class of common attacks,” the page explains. TruePlay will also watch gaming behavior for signs of cheating: “A Windows service will monitor gaming sessions for behaviors and manipulations that are common in cheating scenarios.”

Microsoft seems to be mindful of the frustration of false positives, describing how the data will be screened. “To ensure and protect customer privacy while preventing false positives,” the support page says, “these data are only shared with developers after processing has determined cheating is likely to have occurred.”

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