Developers that want to stop cheaters in their Windows games are getting a little additional system-level help from Microsoft via TruePlay, a new API being rolled out through Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update.
The feature, which is now documented on the Windows Dev Center lets developers easily prioritize a game as a protected process, cutting off some of the most common cheating methods by essentially preventing outside programs from looking at or altering the game’s memory. TruePlay also “monitor[s] gaming sessions for behaviors and manipulations that are common in cheating scenarios,” looking at usage patterns on a system level to find likely cheaters.
TruePlay is only available to developers using the somewhat controversial Universal Windows Platform, which Microsoft has been encouraging developers to embrace for a while now. The anti-cheat system can be applied across an entire game or only certain portions, so developers can monitor cheating only in multiplayer matches, for example.
Windows users will have to explicitly opt in to TruePlay monitoring through a system setting, which first showed up in preview builds as “Game Monitor” back in June. Users that don’t opt in won’t be able to play games with TruePlay implemented, though; as the settings page notes, “turning this off may limit the games you can play.”
That convoluted setup seems to be an acknowledgement of the potential privacy implications of TruePlay protection. When likely cheating is detected under TruePlay, the user’s (presumably anonymized) system information is shared with developers to aid in their anti-cheating efforts. As Microsoft notes, “to protect customer privacy, no data is shared or transmitted until permission is granted,” and no information is sent until “processing has determined cheating is likely to have occurred.”
While developers could set up similar protections and anti-cheat monitoring on their own in previous versions of Windows, the TruePlay API makes such protection a more streamlined, plug-and-play process. The OS-embedded protection can also give developers some extra confidence that Windows is looking for potential cheating vectors across the entire operating system at a low level. Given the serious cheating problems plaguing many popular PC games these days, that extra support from Windows can’t hurt.