Xbox Windows 10 app: 6 things to try

Windows is the most popular platform for PC games, and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles are among the most popular video game consoles. However, they didn’t fit in particularly well, and PC games didn’t fit into a specific Windows gaming ecosystem.

Instead, Valve’s Steam software is the largest and most populous bridge between gaming and Windows. Microsoft plans to fix this issue in Windows 10 with the new Xbox app. It combines the social and matchmaking features that have made Xbox Live so popular with the power of Windows gaming, and adds exciting connectivity options between Windows 10 PCs (and Surface tablets running Windows 10) and the Xbox One ( $ 105.00 on eBay).

The Xbox app serves as the front-end to Xbox Live for Windows 10 systems and represents Microsoft’s plans to expand Xbox’s reach as a platform. The Xbox One is still Microsoft’s great gaming console, but the Xbox on Windows 10 is making features previously exclusive to Xbox available on PCs and tablets. When Windows 10 launches, the Xbox app will offer several new features previously not available on a PC through Microsoft.

1. Follow your friends on Xbox Live
The Xbox app for Windows 10 functions as a comprehensive communications and activity tracking hub for Xbox Live. Whether you or a friend of yours is on PC or Xbox One, you can see who’s playing what, watch clips of games they share, and even send messages and invites from your computer. This is very useful if you see a friend playing a cross-platform multiplayer game on their Xbox One and you want to join them without leaving your desk.

Xbox app

2. Buy Windows 10 games
Besides keeping track of friends, buying games is one of the most important aspects of an online gaming platform. Xbox Live has made it a staple of the Xbox One, with all major games released digitally and many exclusive titles only available through the service. But on PC, Steam has dominated the space for years. The Xbox app includes access to Microsoft’s own online software store, so you can purchase games directly through the service. However, the pre-launch Xbox app store looked paltry when we looked at it, with most games appearing to be casual or mobile-oriented titles rather than big names. That will hopefully change when Windows 10 officially arrives.

3. Stream Xbox One games to your PC
If you have an Xbox One, you can stream it to any room in your home via a Windows 10 PC or tablet. Even Xbox One exclusives will be playable in front of your monitor or via a Surface Pro on your coffee table, with game streaming. However, you do need an Xbox One gamepad connected to your PC or tablet.

Xbox app

4. Monitor achievements
Combine your Xbox One and Windows achievements into one Gamerscore roster and pool, so you can keep your gaming bragging rights organized across platforms. Achievements are incorporated into the software much more easily than with Microsoft’s previous attempt, the Games for Windows Live platform.

5. Cross-platform multiplayer
The next MOBA Fable Legends will be released simultaneously on Xbox One and Windows 10, with cross-platform multiplayer allowing users of both platforms to compete against each other. Currently, Fable Legends is the only Windows 10 / Xbox One cross-platform game announced, but more are planned in the future.

Xbox app

6. Record and share gameplay with Game DVR
Game DVR debuted on Xbox One, and it’s coming to Windows 10 with the same features and options. Game DVR is built into Windows 10, and a Game Bar menu can quickly set up capture sessions. Pressing Windows key and G brings up the game bar, which has buttons to start game capture or take screenshots. Once you hit save, the Game Bad disappears into a clock in the corner of the screen, staying out of the way while letting you know it’s capturing what you’re doing. When you’re done, the clips and screenshots appear in the Xbox app under the Game DVR menu, and you can share them with friends through the app or access the files in Windows 10 to do what you want. want with them.

Bizarro Bonus: Windows 10 on Xbox One
It’s less of a gaming feature brought from Xbox One to Windows 10 and more of an operating system upgrade to the Xbox One itself. The Xbox One operating system is basically Windows, with an Xbox One-oriented Metro interface. After the launch of Windows 10 for PC, the Xbox One will be updated to also run Windows 10. This means performance upgrades, new apps, and maybe a lot more features for the gaming console to serve as a. PC, while your PC is working harder to be like a games console.

The Xbox app brings many long-desired and Steam-only PC gaming features into Microsoft’s fold, but only time will tell if Windows 10 can shake up the house Valve has built. Social, matchmaking, and game capture features are way ahead of anything Microsoft has offered natively in the past, but the integration and availability of the game could make or break the Xbox as a must have software for it. PC games.

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Hands-on with the Windows 10 Xbox app

Before the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft often talked about games on its new operating system. For Xbox gamers, this means integration with Xbox One (and indirectly, Xbox 360), so the platforms aren’t so isolated from each other. The Xbox app is one such element of this integration, and it’s good enough, even for something that isn’t 100% polished yet.

The lay of the land

When you first log in, you land on the home screen, which displays several items spread across three columns: recent games you’ve played, a shortcut to start game streaming, games Microsoft has featured, a recent activity feed of everything you and your friends have done, a user search box, and your friends list.

If you want to start a party, you can do so with any Xbox Live friend by clicking on them in your friends list to view their profile, then clicking “Invite” – and it will work if they’re on Xbox One or in the Xbox app. You can also do cross-platform voice chat.

To dive deeper into the app, you will choose a section from the left navigation bar. These range from being able to read your Xbox Live messages to being able to connect to your Xbox One:

Profile – Click on your avatar image to be taken to your profile preview. Here you can customize your gamer picture, avatar, become invisible (or visible) to your Xbox Live friends, share (or hide) your real name, browse your saved video clips, and view your friends list.

My games – Apparently Microsoft means this should be used as a launcher for Windows games, but you can create a shortcut to any application file (.exe) installed on your system. (If you decide you want to be able to launch Firefox or Paint from the Xbox app, you can.)

posts – This section syncs with your Xbox Live account’s message box and shows you all the conversations you’ve had with friends in a thread format (very similar to Xbox One).

Activity Alerts – If someone likes, shares or comments on something you’ve done recently (i.e. appears in your activity feed) or adds you as a friend, you’ll see a notification about it here.

Achievements – The Xbox One and Xbox 360 games you have played are displayed in the list that appears for the first time when you choose this section; you’ll click on a game to see its individual achievements in a grid-like format (similar to Xbox One). It’s much easier to sift through cheevos in this app as opposed to Xbox One or via Smartglass, since you’ll be scrolling the grid up and down instead of having to endlessly scroll right on a console, or dig into multiple menus in the Smartglass app.

Xbox Windows 10 app

Game DVRs – Can use this tab to view existing content you’ve taken clips from (including on Xbox One)

Shop – Click this option to load the Windows 10 Store app, which lets you buy Windows 10 content like games, music, and videos.

OneGuide – If you’re signed in to your Xbox One and have already set up OneGuide on that console as well, you can view TV listings through this section. You can also quickly switch channels while playing on your Xbox One or start streaming a TV show on your PC.

Connect – If you haven’t signed in to an Xbox One console yet, you’ll see a window asking you to add a device. Once you set it up, you can control your Xbox One remotely (whether to navigate or power it on/off), record video clips of your Xbox One gameplay, and stream Xbox One games to your PC.

Settings – Here you can configure a handful of things like notifications, Game DVR hotkeys, and Xbox One Game Streaming quality.

The initial experience

At launch, the Xbox app isn’t as neat as I expected, but all of its little quirks are just that – tiny. Nothing I’ve encountered so far has been mind-boggling or frustrating; most of the time I encountered small hiccups like the app giving an error when trying to switch between accounts (easily fixed by quitting the program and restarting it).

Instead, I noticed more strongly how the Xbox app makes the Xbox One experience more enjoyable. I always prefer to launch games and apps directly on my console, but when I want to check a game’s info page, investigate a friend’s profile, start a party, browse my achievements, change channels in OneGuide, sort my DVR clips and perform other secondary functions, it’s so much easier to do on my PC. With the added benefit of being able to stream from my Xbox One to my PC, I don’t think I would be without this app in the future. (Unless the Xbox One’s transition from Windows 8 to Windows 10 brings dramatic changes to its user interface.)

And after

When I spoke with Microsoft just before Windows 10 launched, they mentioned that like Xbox One, the Xbox app will also receive monthly updates. Some months will focus more on major adjustments; the other months will be more “feature-rich” and give everyone even more features. Here’s hoping that sooner rather than later the Xbox app will have a section that will allow us to stream our PC games to our Xbox One consoles.
Alaina Yee is IGN’s technical editor and resident cardboard fort designer. When she’s not thinking about burritos, she’s Tweeter about them.

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