KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — If you’re a gamer on PC, you might be familiar with the Game Bar. By hitting Win+G or, if you have an Xbox controller for PC, hitting the Xbox logo on the controller it’ll bring up the Game bar which lets you do things like control audio and monitor system performance while in game. It’s simple and only really ever useful when you’re already in game, but Microsoft are planning some notable changes to it especially for controller users in particular.
Microsoft are now testing out an early preview of an improved Game Bar called Controller bar. Controller Bar provides an easy and controller-friendly way to access your recently played games as well as your game launchers with just your controller. It automatically triggers open once you pair or connect a controller to your gaming PC running Windows 11 and rather than the usual Game Bar that shows your widgets, it instead lists up to three of your most recently played games on your PC as well as your bookmarked game launchers like the Xbox App and Steam.
Meanwhile, when you are in a game, the Xbox button on your controller will still take you to the regular Game Bar with its widgets along with an additional tab on the left where you’ll find the recently played games and game launchers tucked away. It might not seem like much when you consider that most PC users already predominantly have a keyboard and mouse and only bring out the controllers when they’re gaming, but it’s actually pretty useful in home theater-styled gaming setups for couch gaming in the living room, or even simracing setups where the PC is tucked away behind a racing wheel, a controller and the display.
If you want to try out the new Controller Bar for yourself, it’s sadly still only for Windows Insider users in the time being, with no word just yet on when Microsoft plans to roll it out for stable releases. However, if you are a Windows Insider user running the latest Build 225xx from the Dev and Beta Channel, you can simply download the Xbox Insider Hub from the Microsoft Store and access the Previews tab in the app. There, you can download the latest version of Game Bar and reboot your PC to get the new Controller Bar. — SoyaCincau