New Xbox Controller Feature Being Tested

Microsoft is testing out a new feature involving its two major gaming platforms: The Xbox family of devices and Windows PCs. The feature involves pairing an Xbox controller with a PC and gaining quick access to what’s called the “controller bar.” Accessing this gives players a way to instantly pick from their favorite games and apps they’ve been using frequently, and if you’re part of the Insider Preview tests, you can try out this feature right now.

If you’re someone who’s frequently used an Xbox controller with a Windows PC, you’ve undoubtedly pulled up the Xbox Game Bar from time to time to access your apps and more quickly. Through this new feature, you’ll be able to do that even faster. It’ll show a bar like the one seen in the image below that displays a couple of icons for both games and apps as well as a “home” icon to expedite whatever you’re planning on doing next.

“The controller bar opens when you pair or connect a controller to your Windows 11 PC running the latest Insider Preview build in the Dev and Beta Channels,” the post about the feature within the Windows Insider Blog said. “Your most recently played games and installed game launchers are just a button press away. Invoke the controller bar when you’re not already in a game, by pressing the Xbox button on your controller.”

Pulling up the bar right away whenever you connect the controller to the PC makes sense seeing how that’s likely when you’ll have the most use of it, but it naturally won’t stick around throughout your entire play session if you don’t want to it to. Hitting the Xbox button on the controller whenever you’re in a game will pull up the normal Xbox Game Bar, but doing so whenever you’re outside of a game will open up this new view. Alternatively, you can also hit the Windows + G command to achieve the same result.

For those who want to try out this new feature on Windows 11 PCs, you can do so by enrolling in the Xbox Insider program and running the latest Insider Preview.


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