Wednesday, April 8th 2020

Microsoft Announces new Widgets for Xbox Game Bar on PC

As part of the Inside Xbox event which was held yesterday, Microsoft revealed the addition of several new third party widgets for the Xbox Game Bar from the likes of Razer, XSplit and Intel. Several more companies are also in talks with Microsoft to add apps to Xbox Game Bar, this follows the successful release of a Spotify integration earlier.

Since we introduced Xbox Game Bar, we've continually evolved it in partnership with you: our community. From simple video capture, to quick access to audio settings, to seamless listening with Spotify, to providing an FPS counter, we've kept PC Gamers at the center of everything we do. This philosophy is the driving force behind the updates we're announcing today.
Evolving Xbox Game Bar

We heard your feedback loud and clear: you don't always want to Alt+Tab to separate apps when gaming on your PC. We thought we'd bring your favorite apps to you right within the Xbox Game Bar where you can access them without ever leaving your game. Starting today, widgets for apps such as XSplit's Gamecaster and Razer's Cortex are coming to Xbox Game Bar! We've seen incredible interest from key leaders in the PC gaming ecosystem and we expect the number of widgets to continue to grow. If you haven't already, you can join our Insider program here or join the Game Bar flight in the Xbox Insider Hub to get access right away. If you aren't an Insider - no worries, you can get them in the near future. As a reminder, you can access these new features by pressing the Windows key and the "G" key at the same time - "Win+G".

Find, Install, and Manage Widgets from the Widget Store
To start with, you need a way to discover and start using your new favorite Game Bar widgets. Enter, the Game Bar Widget Store. In the Game Bar menu, you'll now see a new entry that will launch the Widget Store right in the Game Bar. From here you can browse and discover new widgets and manage installing and updating your widgets without ever needing to leave the Game Bar.

Stream Like a Pro with XSplit's GameCaster Widget
XSplit's popular Gamecaster streaming app now includes an Xbox Game Bar widget. XSplit's integration with Game Bar provides access to critical Gamecaster tools without having to tab between apps or leave your gaming session. Start and stop your broadcast, interact with chat, check out recent events and stats to help increase viewer interaction, and optimize encoding settings to ensure the highest quality stream - all from the Gamecaster widget. The widget is fully customizable, so you can expand the features important to you and even pin those you want to persist on screen during gameplay. Visit XSplit to download the full Gamecaster app with the Xbox Game Bar widget pre-bundled, or if you're already a Gamecaster user, you can visit the Microsoft Store (or the widget store in Game Bar) to download and enable the Gamecaster widget for Xbox Game Bar.

Optimize Your Gaming with Razer Cortex and Razer Gold
Another popular app among PC gamers is the Razer Cortex with System Booster. Also available today, you can download the Razer Cortex BETA widget for easy access to key Cortex features like Boost and Restore. With just one step, end unnecessary processes and services running in the background to free up more juice for gaming. The Razer Cortex BETA widget also makes it easy to check on the latest and upcoming Paid to Play games to get you earning Razer Silver. Check in daily, play, and redeem Razer Silver for a variety of exciting rewards - including Razer gear, games, exclusive gift cards, and more - right from the widget. The widget's Game Deals feature also automatically searches for the best prices for PC games. Click on a game deal to see a comparison across PC game stores. To learn more, head to Razer's website for the Razer Cortex win32 app and look for the Razer Cortex BETA widget in the Microsoft Store or Game Bar widget store.
You can also enable the new Razer Gold widget: enjoy convenience as you reload your Razer Gold wallet with Razer Gold PINs, even during a game. Razer Gold is the virtual credits by Razer for gamers, offering exclusive game deals and digital content. Spend Razer Gold and earn Razer Silver, the loyalty rewards program for gamers. Look for the Razer Gold widget in the Microsoft Store or the Game Bar widget store.

Tune Your PC with Intel's Graphics Command Center

We're partnering with Intel to bring some of the key features available in the Intel Graphics Command Center (IGCC) to the Xbox Game Bar. The widget, which will become available via the IGCC beta program later this spring, will initially provide access to display settings, power profiles, and game streaming and capture features. But as both IGCC and Xbox Game Bar evolve, so will the widget's features.

Anyone Can Get Started Building Widgets Today

In addition to these great partner widgets, we're also releasing the Game Bar SDK (Beta) today. Any developer can now build custom widgets for Game Bar. Learn more about how to get started building your own widgets today.

As always, thank you for the continued feedback about the gaming experience on Windows. It is your feedback that enables us to continue making Windows great for all gamers regardless of how and what you choose to play, so please keep it coming. If you are interested in getting first access to the work we're doing on improving the PC gaming experience, you can join our Insider program here.
Source: Xbox
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19 Comments on Microsoft Announces new Widgets for Xbox Game Bar on PC

#1
Vayra86
No just no MS.

How many times do you need to hear it? Your help is not needed. Just develop the API called DirectX and stick to keeping Windows the open playground it should be.

And if it makes you feel better, plaster that hideous Xbox logo over everything, I could care less.
Posted on Reply
#2
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
What I find hilarious is that MS has come full circle. After promoting widgets years ago on PC and promoting people to make widgets (remember W7?), they canned the whole program. And here they are doing the same thing. :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#3
Flanker
If anything, it's a nice built-in screen recorder when I don't feel like downloading more software
Posted on Reply
#4
Chomiq
Only time I've used gamebar was when I wanted to record external webex meetings at work.
Posted on Reply
#5
windwhirl
rtwjunkie
What I fond hilarious is that MS has come full circle. After promoting widgets years ago on PC and promoting people to make widgets (remember W7?), they canned the whole program. And here we are nearly full circle. :rolleyes:
Start making your bets over how long this will last, then :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#6
CrAsHnBuRnXp
The only thing I find useful for the Gamebar is the system resource widget that I can pin above everything. Other than that, dont need it.
Posted on Reply
#7
Vayra86
rtwjunkie
What I fond hilarious is that MS has come full circle. After promoting widgets years ago on PC and promoting people to make widgets (remember W7?), they canned the whole program. And here we are nearly full circle. :rolleyes:
Its a bit like fashion, I heard in 2023 they will relaunch Kinect, bundling it with the next version of the Windows OS, Windows 11. Which will once more be updated via service packs and with full inhouse testing procedures. This will coincide with DirectX 12C, which introduces new feature levels making DirectX Ultimate obsolete.

I also heard Games for Windows is making a comeback around that time.
CrAsHnBuRnXp
Gamebar
Posted on Reply
#8
dyonoctis
rtwjunkie
What I find hilarious is that MS has come full circle. After promoting widgets years ago on PC and promoting people to make widgets (remember W7?), they canned the whole program. And here we are nearly full circle. :rolleyes:
The program was canned because it made the system vulnerable : www.zdnet.com/article/security-flaws-signal-early-death-of-windows-gadgets/
I guess that they found a work around this time.

I personally don't mind, the spotify integration is great for the people who don't always listen to BGM, you don't have to alt tab anymore. And the integrated video recording is nice for the people who just want to record a video once in a while, where obs is overkill. (supporting gpu encoding would be nice though).

Some of the widget are not perfect yet (looking at the performance one who could display gpu usage and temp) but I'm all for having to install less third party apps, and doing less alt tabbing. Useless for power users, but nice for people who don't need all the features from full apps.

I'm the type that got annoyed when switching from AMD to Nvidia forced me to use after burner/precision just for tinkering with the fan curve.
Posted on Reply
#9
Valantar
Vayra86
No just no MS.

How many times do you need to hear it? Your help is not needed. Just develop the API called DirectX and stick to keeping Windows the open playground it should be.

And if it makes you feel better, plaster that hideous Xbox logo over everything, I could care less.
IMO this is rather the complete opposite of what you're saying, and very much in line with Windows being an open playground. After all, a somewhat open, extensible overlay like this is much better than the closed and proprietary overlays of all the others. If this could grow into a centralized framework (obviously with limited gatekeeping to ensure openness) for gaming overlays, that would be great. Also, the Game Bar overlay arguably has a lot more immediately useful features than a lot of alternatives - quick access to volume controls (including per application), streaming and recording controls, performance monitoring, music controls, etc.
CrAsHnBuRnXp
The only thing I find useful for the Gamebar is the system resource widget that I can pin above everything. Other than that, dont need it.
You've never needed to adjust your volume while using a controller or mute an annoying background app while gaming then, or play/pause music? Much faster and easier than alt+tabbing out.
Posted on Reply
#10
CrAsHnBuRnXp
I have a volume wheel on my keyboard and I play wow so it's already in full screen windowed mode so it is literally 0 hassle for me to alt tab out.
Posted on Reply
#11
Vayra86
Valantar
IMO this is rather the complete opposite of what you're saying, and very much in line with Windows being an open playground. After all, a somewhat open, extensible overlay like this is much better than the closed and proprietary overlays of all the others. If this could grow into a centralized framework (obviously with limited gatekeeping to ensure openness) for gaming overlays, that would be great. Also, the Game Bar overlay arguably has a lot more immediately useful features than a lot of alternatives - quick access to volume controls (including per application), streaming and recording controls, performance monitoring, music controls, etc.

You've never needed to adjust your volume while using a controller or mute an annoying background app while gaming then, or play/pause music? Much faster and easier than alt+tabbing out.
No, no no. Its really not.

Windows is an OS. Like a painter has a canvas, the OS should offer freedom. A universal overlay is not freedom. Its a piece of crap I want to get rid of, because I want that empty canvas.

In a general sense, yes. I get what you are saying. Its better if services are offered natively from the OS than when everyone starts inventing their own wheel. True. But that is not what this really is, is it. This overlay offers me buttons I really don't need unless the developer intended me to have them. Example? GTA V radio stations. Social media integration (this is also youtube/streaming nowadays). This is a per-game thing. No, I don't need in-game overlays for multimedia buttons. WTF? I'm playing a game. Not multimedia. Nor a half dozen other activities that have zero to do with the content itself.

Its like the Netflix button on your remote. Dafuq is up with that. GTFO. Just let me use the damn TV and make sure all of its functions work proper. More often than not its also not really a convenience for YOU, its a convenience for driving sales in some way or another. The Netflix button is typical of that. Every half decent smart TV has a configurable start menu and its easy to navigate there, often more intuitively than on your remote. The Netflix logo is right there in front of your face, ready to click when moused over...

That is my Windows / MS approach here. I also run my OS as bare as possible. If I don't actively use something, its right out the door. And even then you're dealing with infinite amounts of bloat. Look at how Windows 10 self installs... most of the time you get a handful of shitty apps along with it you'd otherwise never use and even manual uninstall isn't always possible.

Less is more. That is the message.

And BTW. About alt tabbing out... It was MS itself that pushed Borderless Window onto us with Windows 10... making it easier than ever to navigate between games and anything else. So really, that overlay is already there, its called the desktop and its more mature than this silly bar will ever be. To me it speaks a little bit of the same shaken design philosophy as the original Metro UI, trying to marry tablet into a desktop OS. Now MS is trying to make a PC more console-ey. I ain't got time for that :)
Posted on Reply
#12
VrOtk
Awesome! Now even more bloatware, that I'll be disabling through registry...
Posted on Reply
#13
dyonoctis
Vayra86
No, no no. Its really not.

Windows is an OS. Like a painter has a canvas, the OS should offer freedom. A universal overlay is not freedom. Its a piece of crap I want to get rid of, because I want that empty canvas.

In a general sense, yes. I get what you are saying. Its better if services are offered natively from the OS than when everyone starts inventing their own wheel. True. But that is not what this really is, is it. This overlay offers me buttons I really don't need unless the developer intended me to have them. Example? GTA V radio stations. Social media integration (this is also youtube/streaming nowadays). This is a per-game thing. No, I don't need in-game overlays for multimedia buttons. WTF? I'm playing a game. Not multimedia. Nor a half dozen other activities that have zero to do with the content itself.

Its like the Netflix button on your remote. Dafuq is up with that. GTFO. Just let me use the damn TV and make sure all of its functions work proper. More often than not its also not really a convenience for YOU, its a convenience for driving sales in some way or another. The Netflix button is typical of that. Every half decent smart TV has a configurable start menu and its easy to navigate there, often more intuitively than on your remote. The Netflix logo is right there in front of your face, ready to click when moused over...

That is my Windows / MS approach here. I also run my OS as bare as possible. If I don't actively use something, its right out the door. And even then you're dealing with infinite amounts of bloat. Look at how Windows 10 self installs... most of the time you get a handful of shitty apps along with it you'd otherwise never use and even manual uninstall isn't always possible.

Less is more. That is the message.
You are talking about it as if microsoft is actively forcing you to use it, when you can just ignore it. You literally get a gui option to disable it, and never get bothered by it in game, even the hotkeys associated with it are disabled. For the multimedia part, I had several game session with friends where we played games like raft,astroneer and just listened a musical bot on discord instead of the game bgm. Those games don't rely on deep immersion with the world. Heck, even the ps4 allows you to listen to spotify while gaming.

While I do agree that microsoft bundling candy crush for $$ is annoying, I feel like microsoft is just still trying to get even with MacOs where the os build in apps are one of the elements that people mention whenever they talk about the areas where windows lose to MacOs.
You seems to want microsoft to develop windows like debian/arch linux, when microsoft is constantly looking at the MacOs ecosystem while thinking "I want, I want, I want"...

They are just kinda bad at it because they tend to overlook optimisation/consistency and are obssesed with features: they keep adding things when the thing that they added last month (or years) is still broken...Win developement just need more rigor, sometimes even the stable release looks like an experimentation ground. It's 2020, and win 10 design language is still schizophrenic.
Posted on Reply
#14
Vayra86
dyonoctis
You are talking about it as if microsoft is actively forcing you to use it, when you can just ignore it. You literally get a gui option to disable it, and never get bothered by it in game, even the hotkeys associated with it are disabled. For the multimedia part, I had several game session with friends where we played games like raft,astroneer and just listened a musical bot on discord instead of the game bgm. Those games don't rely on deep immersion with the world. Heck, even the ps4 allows you to listen to spotify while gaming.

While I do agree that microsoft bundling candy crush for $$ is annoying, I feel like microsoft is just still trying to get even with MacOs where the os build in apps are one of the elements that people mention whenever they talk about the areas where windows lose to MacOs.
You seems to want microsoft to develop windows like debian/arch linux, when microsoft is constantly looking at the MacOs ecosystem while thinking "I want, I want, I want"...

They are just kinda bad at it because they tend to overlook optimisation/consistency and are obssesed with features: they keep adding things when the thing that they added last month (or years) is still broken...Win developement just need more rigor, sometimes even the stable release looks like an experimentation ground. It's 2020, and win 10 design language is still schizophrenic.
And that is a good thing. But its still bloat.

And you're right, I think we're seeing the same trend here. Windows is becoming more consumer oriented over time, and part of this is positive, because really its a machine meant to do 'things' for you. But its also a threat because as you know, macOS isn't really quite the empty canvas you'd want. Features can turn into 'necessities' and those are being marketed. The core feature of Windows, for me, is the fact I can run pretty much anything I want on it, in the exact way I want it to. And most of those things benefit from keeping things simple.
Posted on Reply
#15
KrazedOmega
"Also available today, you can download the Razer Cortex BETA widget for easy access to key Cortex features like Boost and Restore. With just one step, end unnecessary processes and services running in the background to free up more juice for gaming." They can start by disabling Xbox Game Bar...
Posted on Reply
#16
SN2716057
They should just offer a way to delete this software without having to go into the registry or something.
Posted on Reply
#17
windwhirl
KrazedOmega
With just one step, end unnecessary processes and services running in the background to free up more juice for gaming.
I really want to know how do they decide what's an unnecessary process/service...
Posted on Reply
#18
Valantar
Vayra86
No, no no. Its really not.

Windows is an OS. Like a painter has a canvas, the OS should offer freedom. A universal overlay is not freedom. Its a piece of crap I want to get rid of, because I want that empty canvas.

In a general sense, yes. I get what you are saying. Its better if services are offered natively from the OS than when everyone starts inventing their own wheel. True. But that is not what this really is, is it. This overlay offers me buttons I really don't need unless the developer intended me to have them. Example? GTA V radio stations. Social media integration (this is also youtube/streaming nowadays). This is a per-game thing. No, I don't need in-game overlays for multimedia buttons. WTF? I'm playing a game. Not multimedia. Nor a half dozen other activities that have zero to do with the content itself.

Its like the Netflix button on your remote. Dafuq is up with that. GTFO. Just let me use the damn TV and make sure all of its functions work proper. More often than not its also not really a convenience for YOU, its a convenience for driving sales in some way or another. The Netflix button is typical of that. Every half decent smart TV has a configurable start menu and its easy to navigate there, often more intuitively than on your remote. The Netflix logo is right there in front of your face, ready to click when moused over...

That is my Windows / MS approach here. I also run my OS as bare as possible. If I don't actively use something, its right out the door. And even then you're dealing with infinite amounts of bloat. Look at how Windows 10 self installs... most of the time you get a handful of shitty apps along with it you'd otherwise never use and even manual uninstall isn't always possible.

Less is more. That is the message.

And BTW. About alt tabbing out... It was MS itself that pushed Borderless Window onto us with Windows 10... making it easier than ever to navigate between games and anything else. So really, that overlay is already there, its called the desktop and its more mature than this silly bar will ever be. To me it speaks a little bit of the same shaken design philosophy as the original Metro UI, trying to marry tablet into a desktop OS. Now MS is trying to make a PC more console-ey. I ain't got time for that :)
I don't think we fundamentally disagree, but we do seem to disagree on the specifics here. I agree that the OS should be like a canvas - but to further the metaphor I also think it needs to provide both a basic selection of paints, brushes, palette knives and other tools. Being given a blank canvas and nothing else otherwise only helps those who otherwise either already own everything else, or have easy access to it. Windows has been a consumer OS for near two decades, but consumer uses are evolving, and the OS needs to follow suit. Or to completely grind this metaphor into the ground, we need it to provide multiple different types of canvases as well, as new types of paint and painting tools as new types of painting are invented - you don't use the same type of canvas for watercolors as you do for oil paints, etc.

This also ties into how PC use is diversifying. We have more input methods than ever before, in more form factors than ever before, PCs are used for more things than ever before, performance is higher than ever before. The OS needs to account for all of that. Sure, 3rd party solutions are always possible - but in 99% of cases they are either janky and poorly made, poorly optimized, buggy, or just not universal enough to do what they are supposed to do (unless, of course, they are standalone applications - but that's not what we're talking about here). They also generally gel poorly with the overall design of the OS, which makes for poor user experiences (the visual design of the Steam overlay is atrocious and looks like it was made in the mid 2000s). Realistically, the best case scenario for a 3rd party system interface tool (like a gaming overlay) is that it works as it should but is entirely closed off to outside developers. Is that actually better than a well-integrated, universal, expandable, adaptable 1st party solution? I would say no.

I would actually say that the wealth of input methods and modes of using a PC is the strongest argument for first-party implementations of new solutions, simply because first party development tends to have a much broader scope and tends towards making better use of new input paradigms (partly due to having more resources for development and not being as strictly bound to direct profitability of new software development). PC gaming with a controller is very common these days, and the Steam overlay is utterly useless for that (and don't get me started on Big Picture mode...). The same goes for adapting new software solutions to things like touchscreen input - while this isn't very relevant for gaming, it applies to a lot of other useful software. Expecting universally usable 3rd party solutions for this to appear is essentially utopian - for it to be good it needs to be developed by a big and experienced team, which means it won't be free (unless it's developed by volunteers and open-sourced, which generally means decade-long development cycles), which means it will never get across the threshold of adoption necessary to ensure proper integration with necessary applications and utilities. We've seen this hundreds of times. So, while I agree that it would be better for everything like this to be open-source, free, optional for those who don't want it, etc., I don't see it as even remotely possible. And the current reality is a system made up of a series of walled gardens with near-zero interaction. What MS is doing is a definite improvement over that.
Posted on Reply
#19
Vayra86
Valantar
I don't think we fundamentally disagree, but we do seem to disagree on the specifics here. I agree that the OS should be like a canvas - but to further the metaphor I also think it needs to provide both a basic selection of paints, brushes, palette knives and other tools. Being given a blank canvas and nothing else otherwise only helps those who otherwise either already own everything else, or have easy access to it. Windows has been a consumer OS for near two decades, but consumer uses are evolving, and the OS needs to follow suit. Or to completely grind this metaphor into the ground, we need it to provide multiple different types of canvases as well, as new types of paint and painting tools as new types of painting are invented - you don't use the same type of canvas for watercolors as you do for oil paints, etc.

This also ties into how PC use is diversifying. We have more input methods than ever before, in more form factors than ever before, PCs are used for more things than ever before, performance is higher than ever before. The OS needs to account for all of that. Sure, 3rd party solutions are always possible - but in 99% of cases they are either janky and poorly made, poorly optimized, buggy, or just not universal enough to do what they are supposed to do (unless, of course, they are standalone applications - but that's not what we're talking about here). They also generally gel poorly with the overall design of the OS, which makes for poor user experiences (the visual design of the Steam overlay is atrocious and looks like it was made in the mid 2000s). Realistically, the best case scenario for a 3rd party system interface tool (like a gaming overlay) is that it works as it should but is entirely closed off to outside developers. Is that actually better than a well-integrated, universal, expandable, adaptable 1st party solution? I would say no.

I would actually say that the wealth of input methods and modes of using a PC is the strongest argument for first-party implementations of new solutions, simply because first party development tends to have a much broader scope and tends towards making better use of new input paradigms (partly due to having more resources for development and not being as strictly bound to direct profitability of new software development). PC gaming with a controller is very common these days, and the Steam overlay is utterly useless for that (and don't get me started on Big Picture mode...). The same goes for adapting new software solutions to things like touchscreen input - while this isn't very relevant for gaming, it applies to a lot of other useful software. Expecting universally usable 3rd party solutions for this to appear is essentially utopian - for it to be good it needs to be developed by a big and experienced team, which means it won't be free (unless it's developed by volunteers and open-sourced, which generally means decade-long development cycles), which means it will never get across the threshold of adoption necessary to ensure proper integration with necessary applications and utilities. We've seen this hundreds of times. So, while I agree that it would be better for everything like this to be open-source, free, optional for those who don't want it, etc., I don't see it as even remotely possible. And the current reality is a system made up of a series of walled gardens with near-zero interaction. What MS is doing is a definite improvement over that.
Great perspective and yeah, agreed. Maybe I should add, this is of course MY preference with this OS. I'm also not a big fan of many recent improvements in for example mobile OS'es like Android and IOS. Certain limitations or 'I'll do this for you'-things are completely rage inducing at times :D F*ck off, I'm not stupid, and I don't intend to become stupid. This also goes down to a deeper philosophy that is less focused on commercial growth of an OS and more on, shall we say, social value in the long run... I think all these abstractions and shells that make things easy, remove us further from the technology than we should be. Underneath all that simplicity there is tremendous complexity and we don't benefit from dumbing ourselves down; its a bit of a paradox because the gap with reality is becoming ever larger and when shit really hits the fan... you know nothing and have nothing. Its like navigation in your car. Great feature. But can we still read a map by following road signs? Will our kids be able to?
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