Microsoft has incorporated a new feature into its Xbox Game Bar, allowing users to stream gameplay to friends via Microsoft Teams. The feature, named “Microsoft Teams Play Together,” is now available from the Microsoft Store and offers the capability to stream the entire desktop over Teams. Additionally, it provides the option to join video calls, enabling friends to appear overlaid on top of games.
The integration of Microsoft Teams into the Xbox Game Bar is designed as a space for users to socialize while watching and playing games. This concept is reminiscent of platforms like Discord, where users can view friends overlaid on a game. The feature supports up to 20 participants in a single call. Users also have the flexibility to select which monitor to stream from directly within the Game Bar. Considering that Microsoft has been deepening its partnership with Discord on Xbox, the new widget will not replace Discord.
While the integration offers a new way to connect with friends, it has its limitations. Initial tests of the feature, using games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, revealed a streaming quality of 30fps or less. Additionally, the video participants overlay feature might not be fully operational at this time.
Microsoft's Push for Communities
In recent times, Microsoft has been making efforts to attract communities to its Teams platform. In June, the free version of Microsoft Teams for Windows 11 introduced Discord-like communities. These communities are Microsoft's response to platforms like Facebook, Discord, WhatsApp, and Reddit, which are popularly used for group organization.
The “Microsoft Teams Play Together” widget is more than just a streaming tool. It offers a platform for users to interact with others through chat or video while gaming. To access the widget's offerings, users must have a personal Microsoft account. The widget allows users to see videos of friends overlaid on games, share links with anyone on any device, and continue conversations post-call via chat. Up to 20 individuals can join a call, enhancing the social gaming experience on Windows 11.