A Step Forward for Gaming on Arm Devices

Jay DiFuria

This year at Microsoft Build 2024 we announced a new set of Windows devices, Copilot+ PCs. Copilot+ PCs are a new class of Windows 11 PCs, including Arm-powered devices that are powered by the Snapdragon® X Series. These new Arm devices have cutting-edge new processing power coming from the CPU, GPU, and NPU (neural processing unit). This new hardware, in combination with innovations in Windows 11, is a step forward for Arm gaming.

A few weeks ago, we showed several initiatives that improve the gaming experience on Arm-based Copilot+ PCs: advancements such as Prism emulation, automatic super resolution (Auto SR), progress bringing fan-favorite games that use anti-cheat to Arm, the launch of Linaro’s new game compatibility site WorksOnWoA.com, and the demonstration of the Unity Game Engine Editor operating natively on Arm. In this post, we’ll dive into each of these in more detail starting with new innovations within the latest Windows 11 release.


Windows 11 24H2 Platform Innovation

Windows 11 24H2 includes many new capabilities that utilize the high-performance hardware of Copilot+ PCs and new software optimizations. One example is our new emulation engine – Prism. Prism works transparently whenever you open a x86 or x64 app on an Arm-based Windows 11 device by converting the x86 or x64 code to the Arm64 instruction set – without additional work required from developers.

Given that many of today’s games are x86 or x64, Prism unlocks a large back catalog of games that work great on Arm under emulation. While Windows on Arm has had emulation in the past, the performance improvements of Prism, along with automatic super resolution and the new Snapdragon® X Series processors together emerge as a game-changer. As an example, here’s a brief video of Baldur’s Gate 3 using DX11 and Prism to run emulated on an Arm-based Windows 11 Copilot+ PC:


At Build this year we have also introduced automatic super resolution, the latest innovation in gaming graphics! Auto SR is the first OS-integrated AI super resolution technique, making select existing games automatically play smoother while still looking stunning, by default! To learn more on how Auto SR enhances games on Copilot+ PCs with a Snapdragon® X Series processor, check out the latest DirectX Blog Post talking about automatic super resolution.


Celebrating Partner Momentum on Windows on Arm

Don’t just take our word for it – many Windows gaming partners have recently introduced and improved their support for gaming on Arm.


Latest Anti-Cheat Providers on Arm

Anti-cheat software makes competitive online gaming safe and trustworthy. These tools ensure that games load and run on PCs securely and are protected from cheaters. The most sophisticated anti-cheat services use kernel drivers that are not supported by emulation today. Microsoft has partnered with top anti-cheat developers and game studios to ensure their software works well on Arm. We’ve helped partners get access to pre-release builds, development guides, and expertise from our engineering teams as more partners bring their solutions to Arm.

We are excited to announce the latest advancements in gaming compatibility on Arm: anti-cheat solutions such as BattlEye, Denuvo Anti-Cheat, and Wellbia XIGNCODE3 / UNCHEATER all now support Windows on Arm! Anti-cheat support on Arm means gamers can enjoy their favorite titles securely and fairly, on Copilot+ PCs.


Partner in Focus: BattlEye Anti-Cheat

BattlEye, one of the leading anti-cheat solutions in the gaming industry, has extended its support to Arm. This marks a pivotal moment for gaming on devices powered by Arm processors, enabling a wider audience to participate in a secure and cheat-free environment. With BattlEye’s support on Arm, many popular games that exclusively use BattlEye are now fully compatible with Arm-based devices.

Here’s BattlEye’s CEO & Lead Developer, Bastian Suter, describing the journey and partnership:

“In the past few months we worked on porting our kernel driver to a native Arm64 build… We worked with Microsoft to make improvements to the Prism emulator to enable easy rollout of our solution, so that we didn’t need to implement more complex workarounds on our side and which would require lengthy developer involvement when rolling out Arm64 compatibility to games.

We collaborated closely with Qualcomm to come up with a way to add Arm64 support for probably over a year now. They helped us solve some of the requirements we had and provided us with proper hardware to develop/test on. They as well as Microsoft also provided resources for testing the solution until release. Microsoft also developed and deployed Windows updates to make the solution work for customers.”

BattlEye will be supported in the Windows 11 24H2 update, version 26100.863. Below is a brief demo of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, powered by BattlEye, running on a new Arm-based Copilot+ PC!


Partner in Focus: Unity

We have been working with Unity to bring their industry acclaimed Unity Engine to Arm-based Windows devices. During Microsoft Build 2023, we showed Unity runtime support for Arm-based Windows devices in their 2023.1 release, enabling developers to bring their titles to new hardware.

Fast-forward to Microsoft Build 2024, where we showcased the Unity Editor running natively on Arm, demonstrated on the newly introduced Copilot+ PCs! In the latest Unity 6 Preview release, Unity has boosted rendering performance with DirectX 12 backend improvements, added all new build profiles to streamline build management, and simplified multiplayer game creation with end-to-end solutions like Unity Cloud services integration, Multiplayer Center, and Multiplayer Play Mode.

Unity as Arm-native means that game and app creators can now take advantage of both the powerful capabilities of the Unity Engine and the performance efficiency of Arm-based Windows devices to build high performing experiences for their audiences. See below for a clip from our live Unity Editor demo from Build this year:


Partner in Focus: Linaro

Speaking of game compatibility, Microsoft and Qualcomm have contributed compatibility data to a third-party open-source site from Linaro. This website is an open-source database dedicated to cataloging game compatibility on Arm-based Windows 11 devices. To kickstart this initiative, Microsoft and Qualcomm have jointly validated and shared nearly 1,400 compatible games for Windows on Arm, with more than 1,200 titles offering a good experience at 30 FPS or higher, at 1080p resolution. To learn more about Windows on Arm game compatibility, you can use Linaro’s new website https://WorksOnWoA.com/!


Prepare for Gaming on Arm!

As we continue to push the boundaries of Arm gaming, we’re encouraging studios to be ready for feedback from users on these devices. Now is the perfect time to start testing your games on Arm devices and ensuring compatibility!


Resources: Develop for Windows on Arm

Here are a variety of references for development on Arm:


Leave a comment

  • Violet 0

    As a gamer I like to have a cheater-free experience when gaming on PC, just like I can experience that on Xbox. Imo Windows should have its own anti-cheating feature so 3rd parties can utilize that instead of creating their own, this could improve user privacy too.

  • Paul Smith 0

    Highly skeptical of this alleged step forward.
    On my brand new Surface Laptop, I’m looking at the “Best of Game Pass” list on the Windows Store:
    Forza Horizon 5? Nope. Won’t install with “This product isn’t compatible with your PC’s processor”
    Minecraft Dungeons (or Legends)? Nope.
    Halo Infinite? Nope.
    Control, Starfield, Hellblade 2, Call of Duty… that’s right, a game that isn’t even out yet knows it isn’t compatible with this brand-new allegedly game-changing ARM64 processor.

    Microsoft seriously need to do better. People are laughing at how badly you’ve managed this. AGAIN.

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