Windows Xbox Game Bar gains more utility and controller support

Xbox control bar

Image: xbox

PC gamers often cite the precision of a mouse and keyboard as an advantage over playing on a console. While it’s a valid argument, there’s something familiar about gaming with a controller. i do it when i play infinity halo on my desktop, and while I could probably get a slightly better kill-to-death ratio with a mouse and keyboard, using a controller feels more comfortable to me. Then there are the many games that are simply better played with a controller (auraI admit, it’s not one of them).

Now, Microsoft is adding another reason to use a driver on PC, and it’s taking an Xbox Series X page. As described in a blog postWindows Insiders can now try an early preview of a feature called the “controller bar,” which appears when you press the Xbox middle button on the controller. A new view of the Xbox Game Bar, the Controller Bar shows the three most recent games you’ve played along with three launchers (Stream, Origin, etc.) installed on your system.

Xbox control bar

Image: xbox

While it won’t pick up where it left off, the new interface is reminiscent of the Xbox Series X game switcher in that you can quickly jump from one title to the next without opening a launcher or pulling out a mouse and keyboard to click. a shortcut. If you’re using a mouse and keyboard, the feature appears to be accessible in the Xbox Game Bar (Windows + G).

I can see myself using this feature quite often, especially when connecting a gaming laptop to my TV for gaming in the living room. This would, in theory, save me from having to plug in a wireless mouse and keyboard to navigate Windows 11.

Microsoft says that the driver bar opens when you pair or connect a controller to your Windows 11 PC running the latest Insider Preview build on the Dev or Beta channels. You can manually activate the interface when you’re not in a game by pressing the Xbox button.

Because Microsoft specifies that the function works by pressing the Xbox button, this suggests it won’t work with other controllers, like the PS5 DualSWe reached out to Microsoft for confirmation and will update this article if we get more information.

How to use the controller bar on PCs

If you’re a Windows Insider who wants to try this experimental feature, please download the latest Insider Preview build (225xx) from the Dev or Beta channels. Next, download the Xbox Insider Hub from the Microsoft Store using this link.

Once downloaded, open the app and sign in to your Microsoft account. After logging in, go to “Previews” and join the Windows Gaming preview. Check for updates in the Microsoft Store and make sure you’re running version 5.722.5022.0 or later. Reboot your PC and the new interface should appear after you have paired your controller.

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