What just happened? Effective immediately, Intel is winding down game driver support for older iGPUs. Integrated graphics aren't meant for serious performance, but recent ones can run many of today's popular games, including the ones whose support Intel is downgrading.
This week, Intel announced that active software support is now only for 11th generation CPUs and newer. It is moving its 6th through 10th generation CPUs to legacy software support. So, aside from critical fixes and security patches, older processors will get updates less frequently than newer ones.
Essentially, Intel is splitting its drivers into two groups in the same package. The legacy set is for every processor from Skylake to Ice Lake, including Elkhart, Lakefield, and Jasper Lake. Active support is for Rocket Lake, Alder Lake, and presumably the Raptor Lake processors set to launch in October. Mainly, this means older Intel integrated graphics users won't get any more day-0 game support drivers.
While newer iGPUs still receive support drivers for new games as they launch, the others must wait for updates to come every quarter. To check your system's CPU on Windows, head to Settings > System > About. Next to "processor," the first digit after the hyphen indicates your processor's generation.
Pushing the seven-year-old Skylake CPUs back to legacy support is unsurprising, but the 10th generation processors are barely two years old. The support downgrade could potentially affect gaming performance for a good portion of iGPU users.
In the June 2022 Steam hardware survey, all Intel iGPUs combined made up about a seven percent share of polled systems. However, many of the most popular PC games aren't on Steam and are light enough for iGPUs to handle. These include titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends, Minecraft, Valorant, and Sid Meier's Civilization 6.
Even TechSpot's benchmark show an Ice Lake iGPU managing playable framerates in some of those games, along with Rocket League and Grand Theft Auto V. So it's hard to say how many users this will impact.