The recently introduced Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16199 sneakily added a brand new tab within Settings - Games called Game Monitor. Officially, Microsoft merely noted that this is for "potential future functionality" and enabling the setting doesn't actually have any effect for the time being.
Note: Windows Insiders will see a “Game Monitor” page under Settings > Gaming for potential future functionality which doesn’t do anything right now.
However, those Insiders who already got their hands on the Preview Build shared a screen capture of the Game Monitor tab. Its description definitely points to a system-wide anti-cheat system built in Windows 10.
Gaming is more fun when everyone plays fairly. We'll share system info with games using Game Monitor to make sure everything runs the way it was meant to. Turning this off may limit the games you can play.
The note about "fair play" seems to be a pretty clear reference to Game Monitor being an anti-cheat system. Cheating to this day is still a problem in some PC games, so if Game Monitor turned out to be effective then everyone regularly playing competitive multiplayer games would stand to gain (well, except the cheaters themselves).
However, since Game Monitor would "share system information with games using this feature", it's not hard to imagine that this could potentially turn out to be an anti-piracy/DRM tool as well. Some will surely be wary of sharing system information; it looks like it should be possible to disable Game Monitor at any time, but then again Microsoft warns that turning it off may "limit the games you can play".
Cheating and piracy have undoubtedly been the two most enduring issues that game developers have had to face on the platform since the very dawn of PC gaming. It would be great if someone could solve the issues once and for all.
Microsoft has been releasing more and more Windows 10 features geared towards PC gaming, from Game DVR to Game Bar, Game Mode and lately even broadcasting via Beam (now known as Mixer). Game Monitor could be the next major feature to be announced.
We may learn more about it during the PC Gaming Show at E3 2017. We know that Xbox will be there - a recent press release quoted Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Marketing at Microsoft, saying:
PC gaming is a huge part of our gaming ecosystem – across Windows, Beam, and Xbox. The PC Gaming Show is the perfect place for us to talk about what’s next from Xbox for PC gamers.
Stay tuned on Wccftech for all the latest from E3 2017.