With Xbox One now more closely linked to Windows 10 as ever, new gaming features on the desktop platform are not common. However, with the upcoming Redstone 4 release, Microsoft will tweak the Windows 10 Game Bar feature.
If you are unfamiliar with Game Bar, it is a feature for PC gamers on the platform. It offers quick access to settings and abilities, such as game recording and screenshots. Sure, most users already use third-party apps for these needs, but Microsoft wants to improve Game Bar.
According to a report from Thurrott, code in Redstone 4 build 17046 shows what some of the improvements will be. For example, Microsoft will remove the Xbox Live avatar from the bar, replacing it with a Gamertag. New shortcuts will be added, like Mixer integration and light and dark themes.
Mixer is Microsoft’s game-streaming service that debuted earlier this year as a re-branding of Beam. The company has been vocal in pointing out Mixer is more than a normal streaming service. The company clearly wants to make the Windows 10 Game Bar more functional with Mixer integration.
As with all Redstone 4 news, we are a long way off from this feature being launched. It will go through testing with Insiders before potentially making it to the next Windows 10 feature update. Microsoft has yet to officially announce what the new Windows 10 release will be and when it will launch.
We know it is codenamed Redstone 4 and we know some of the early features. We also know it will probably drop next spring.
Microsoft operates Windows 10 as a service these days. The company launches two significant updates per year (Creators Update and Fall Creators Update for 2017), and patches fixes and security monthly in between.
It is also worth pointing out that while it is likely the improved Game Bar will drop with Redstone 4, it is not guaranteed. Microsoft has pulled scheduled features before release in the past. However, Game Bar seems a simply enough implementation that I expect to see it next spring.