Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to gaming with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18334. The build, which is currently available to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program, is focused almost entirely on testing "technology tailor-made for gaming" on the company's desktop operating system.
The build's release follows news that Microsoft plans to bring Xbox Live to iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Windows. (And the previous announcement of the Project xCloud service to bring Xbox games to a variety of devices.) We suspect Preview Build 18334 has something to do with preparing Windows 10 for that expansion, given its focus on using an Xbox Live Gamertag on Windows 10.
Good news for Windows Insiders: Microsoft gave away an unspecified number of free copies of State of Decay to test these new technologies. The company said it only had "a small number of available slots" with this initial release, but it planned to "be expanding over the next few weeks," so there's still a chance to pick up a free game on the horizon. Just sign up and follow the company's 10-step process.
If that process sounds daunting, well, don't read on to the list of known issues. Microsoft outlined numerous problems of varying severity. Some just involve a wonky title screen; others might see the Install button in the Microsoft Store fail. But perhaps the most worrisome issue could be the fact that Battleye, an anti-cheat tool used by Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, doesn't work.
There are the usual bug fixes, performance improvements, and known issues in Preview Build 18334. Then gaming pops back up in the list of flaws with the warning that "Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD)." So if you aren't interested in helping Microsoft prepare for Xbox Live's expansion, it's probably a good idea to sit this particular build out.
Of course, that's exactly what these builds are for, especially in the Fast ring. Microsoft advised the faint of heart--also known as people who don't want to risk their main system's integrity to use pre-release operating systems--to stick with the Slow ring. But hey, you don't get a free copy of State of Decay for being a fuddy-duddy, right?