Microsoft wants to give you more reason to use the Game Bar, Windows' built-in tool for capturing video and screenshots while you're playing games. Guess what that means—it's meme time! In the next build of Windows coming for Xbox Insiders, Game Bar's getting some new features, including a Spotify widget and embedded meme-making tools for slapping some crazy text onto your screenshots. I can't wait to write "honk honk" on a screenshot of my favorite Forza car and go extremely viral.
Jokes about billion dollar companies making meme tools aside, Microsoft's ideas for Game Bar are cool—it's expanding the overlay with a number of widgets for more than just recording gameplay. The Spotify widget will make it easier to play custom music while gaming without switching apps. A new chat widget will pull in your Xbox Live friends list so you can send messages, see what they're playing, or see what they're streaming on Mixer.
And thankfully you'll be able to customize this widget layout and hide widgets you don't want. With this update you'll be able to "pin" the ones you do want to actually stay "above" your game screen when you hide the overlay, so you could keep a performance overlay up or even a Mixer stream to watch someone while you play.
Unfortunately the social features are limited to Microsoft's own services, right now, but that doesn't seem to be written in stone. "In the initial release we're going to do Xbox Live Friends, then listen to user feedback," Xbox Platform Director Jason Ronald told me.
These new features will make Game Bar a bit more like the Steam or Nvidia GeForce Experience overlays, and the potential for it is obviously great—because it's part of Windows, it'll work for any game. As it is now, though, Game Bar's video recording settings, which are buried in an unintuitive Windows menu, are also woefully limited compared to GeForce Experience. I hope to see options as granular as Nvidia's in the future.
Right now, there are simply better tools for the job than Game Bar, even if they're not quite as universal. But with the potential audience of everyone on Windows and the potential for Game Bar to work with games across all platforms and hardware, there's plenty of opportunity for that to change.
The new features will be available to anyone with a recent version of Windows who signs up for the Xbox Insiders program. That's pretty simple. Here are Microsoft's instructions:
- Launch the Xbox Insider Hub on your Windows 10 PC – if you don’t have it, get it from the Windows 10 store.
- Select Insider Content in the upper left
- Select Windows Gaming. If you are on Window 10 build# 17763 or higher, you will be automatically enrolled into the Game bar flight
- Press Win+G in any game to bring up Game bar and have fun!