Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer admitted last year that the software maker had “a ton of work to do on Windows” for PC gamers. Microsoft is now starting to improve its Xbox integration on PC with the unveiling of a big overhaul for the Game Bar feature in Windows 10. Available for beta testers today, the updated Game Bar now includes widgets that look more like the overlays you’d find in Nvidia’s GeForce Experience.
These widgets include many of the features you’d normally find in the Game Bar, but there’s also a host of new ones. Microsoft is integrating Spotify into this feature, allowing you to control song playback during games. There’s also an audio widget for adjusting game volume and outputs, and a widget to monitor your CPU, GPU, and RAM usage. The Xbox Game Bar can be activated by using winkey+G in Windows 10, and this new layout makes it far more glanceable if you wanted to toggle into it and then quickly get back to a game.
Microsoft is also making it easier to turn captured screenshots into memes with quick edit and sharing to Twitter features. You can capture a video, add overlay text, and then share it instantly to Twitter, all while this interface hovers above your game. There’s even a new Xbox social widget with a friends list and the ability to quick-send messages from the Game Bar.
Microsoft has really focused on improving the Game Bar from being a simple bar to more of an overlay feature that’s fully customizable. You can pin widgets where you want them and choose which ones to include or hide.
This new Xbox Game Bar is being tested right now for PC gamers, and Microsoft is looking for feedback before this is more broadly rolled out. If you want to test the new Game Bar, you can do so by launching the Xbox Insider Hub on a Windows 10 PC and selecting Windows Gaming from insider content to enable it. Microsoft appears to be finally addressing some of its PC gaming shortcomings, and we’re expecting to see some more work at E3 this year.