Microsoft is expanding the usefulness of the Windows 11 Xbox Controller Bar, which is a feature of the Xbox Game Bar on the platform that launched in May. Specifically, the company is now testing an ability that allows PC gamers to launch cloud streaming games directly from the Controller Bar.
Currently passing through channels of the Windows Insider Program – and confirmed by Microsoft in a Tweet – the announcement was part of a live stream to highlight the benefits of the Xbox Game Bar. Microsoft has big plans for the feature with a bunch of inbound features.
In the demonstration, the company used the Win+G keyboard prompt to access the Xbox Game Bar and then selected Golf With Your Friends from Xbox Cloud Gaming. It is worth noting players can also open the Controller Bar by pressing the Xbox button on their controller.
Unfortunately, this is not a direct play feature in its current form. All the access does is open the game in the Xbox app where the user can then press “Play”. Still, it is more seamless than having to navigate to the app and then find the game. So, a shortcut and not a direct path.
This continues Microsoft's push to make Xbox Game Pass more accessible to users. Remember, you need to have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to access Xbox Cloud Gaming. Other perks of the Ultimate tier include Xbox Live, Xbox Gold, EA Play, and over 100 games.
Windows Insiders you can now launch cloud streaming games directly from the controller bar. Watch our webcast to find out more: https://t.co/W3IXbYGwif. Please file feedback in Feedback Hub (WIN + F) under Gaming > Xbox Game Bar. pic.twitter.com/DA0J7GLaLs
— Windows Insider Program (@windowsinsider) August 31, 2022
Xbox Game Bar is a central hub for controlling games on Windows 11, and indeed on Windows 10. It has been around for several years, providing widgets and tools for checking game performance, using social abilities, taking screenshots, and more.
The Xbox Controller Bar is an extension of the Game Bar that essentially provides the same functionality as the Xbox button on a controller.
Tip of the day: Whether it's for a presentation, song, or YouTube video, at some point in your life you'll need to record audio from your computer. Windows 11 has multiple options to record sound due to its litany of apps. In our tutorial, we show you how to record audio using the built-in Windows 10 Voice Recorder and the freeware audio editor Audacity.