At Xbox, we put gamers at the center of our vision – enabling them to play the games they want, with the people they want, and on the devices they want. As part of our efforts and commitment to improve the gaming experience on Windows 10, we want to bring PC players highly requested features based on their feedback. The first step in that is understanding how gamers engage on Windows and making the features and experiences they want easier to access, including social, music, performance and more. Today, we are excited to release a host of new features for PC gamers to the new Xbox Game Bar on machines running updated versions of Windows 10.

Xbox Game Bar is the customizable gaming overlay built into Windows 10. Xbox Game Bar works with nearly all PC games, giving you instant access to widgets for screen capture and sharing, controlling your music, finding new teammates with Looking for Group (LFG), and chatting with Xbox friends across Xbox console, mobile, and PC—all without leaving your game. You can access these new features by pressing the Windows key and the “G” key at the same time – “Win+G” – to bring up the Xbox Game Bar when playing nearly all PC games or choose your own custom keyboard shortcut.

Here’s a detailed rundown of all the features in Xbox Game Bar:

Spotify
Like many of you, we believe music is a very important part of the gaming experience. Now you can easily control music and podcasts on Spotify from the Spotify widget in the Xbox Game Bar, including favoriting, shuffling, and selecting playlists recommended for you by Spotify. You’ll need the Spotify app for Windows installed to take advantage of this new feature, so be sure to get it from the Microsoft Store or Spotify.com.

You can get started in three simple steps:

  1. Press Win+G to bring up Xbox Game Bar
  2. Click on Spotify in the widgets menu
  3. Sign in to your Spotify account

Want to tweak the volume of that song you just started listening to? Pull up the audio widget in Xbox Game Bar to change volume settings across apps quickly and easily without having to alt-tab out of your game.

Friends, Chat, Mixer, and Looking for Group (LFG)
The social features in Xbox Game Bar allow you to have conversations with friends who play on PC, Xbox One, and mobile, as well as watch their Mixer streams and send them your creations instantly. Players can use the Looking for Group (LFG) feature on Xbox Game Bar to find new teammates or a raid party with a common play style, all without using a third-party site. Gamers can chat with their friends, using voice or text, in Xbox Game Bar across Xbox One, mobile apps, and PC. Conversations are synced on all Xbox apps, so keep chatting after the game to share memes and coordinate your next session.

Press Win+G at any time to bring up Xbox Game Bar, send a quick message, and get back into the action without taking your eyes off the game.

Broadcast & Capture
Back in December, we promised to make it simple to capture your epic gaming moments Currently, you can easily capture and view your gameplay screenshots, then share directly to Twitter without leaving your game.

With today’s update, you can take this a step further by turning your captured screenshots into memes. During your game, hit Win+G to call up Xbox Game Bar, open the Broadcast & capture widget in the widgets menu, and take a screenshot. Use the Captures widget to add overlay text to your screenshot and make a meme, which you can share with your friends via a message or with the world via Twitter.

Customizable UI
We recognize that customization is central to a rich gaming experience on PC. You can customize Xbox Game Bar to make the overlay your own. You can choose which widgets to show/hide, where you want them located, and pin specific widgets to be always visible. Build your own favorite Xbox Game Bar layout based on the way you prefer to play to enhance your gaming experience.

Here at Xbox, we are a passionate team of gamers who are inspired to continue improving the gaming experience on Windows 10. We’re in the early stages of our journey and the updated Xbox Game Bar experience is just the beginning. As always, your feedback is important to us and our partners as we continue to evolve Xbox Game Bar. So please share your ideas at the Xbox Idea Hub.

And last, but not the least, a huge thank you to all our Insiders for helping us improve the Windows 10 gaming experience!

P.S.: There are a small set of games that Xbox Game Bar may not work over (e.g. games built using the Vulkan API). For these games, you may need to run the game in windowed mode in order for Xbox Game Bar to display.

Mike Ybarra, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Platform Engineering, discusses the next Xbox update releasing to Alpha Ring Insiders starting today. Watch the video and read his comments about the update below:

It’s an exciting day at Team Xbox as Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Ring will get a first look at the latest Xbox update. This release is the next major update for gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is designed to make the Xbox gaming experience more fun, personalized, and social than ever. We’ve heard feedback from our fans that they want the ability to customize Home the way they want. This new experience on Xbox One gives gamers more choice and delivers fun faster. Updates to Home, Guide and Community are available today, with updates to Avatars, Game Hubs, Profiles and more coming this fall. Windows 10 PCs will also receive updates to the Game bar and Gaming settings menu. Here’s a detailed look at some of the new features that will arrive for Xbox Insiders starting today and continuing throughout the next few months:

Customize Your Home: The first thing Insiders will notice is the new Home on Xbox One. This update is all about personalization; we’re putting the control in your hands, so that you can decide what to see when you turn on your console. The new look and feel is part of a design system called Microsoft Fluent Design; the look, feel, and movement of the dashboard has been updated to focus on speed, customization and expression—for you. Now, customize your Home screen to be uniquely yours, and view all the things you love at-a-glance. Have a favorite game or friend? Add them to Home!  Select one, press the Menu button on your controller, and select “Add to Home.”  This now creates an entire block of content that can be moved up or down—or removed altogether, should your interests or habits change. These blocks will evolve over time based on the things you like to do. For example, adding a game to your Home screen may pull in an Activity Feed post from the developer, show when your friends are playing that game online, suggest your next Achievement, and provide a quick shortcut to the Game Hub for that title. We’ll be adding additional types of content blocks in the coming months, so stay tuned for more. The team is always pushing to make the Xbox experience faster and faster. In this release, we’ve eliminated the wait between Home, Social, and My Games and Apps by consolidating them into one dashboard experience. No more splash screens means you get to fun even faster.

Effortless Guide Navigation: With this update, it’s faster than ever to switch between tabs in the guide so you can join friends, broadcast, switch between apps, and get back Home. New tab flyouts make it easier to see more content quickly, too. The new Guide layout quickly gets you to the stuff you care about, so you never miss a moment. It’s now even easier to switch between apps or get back to Home, and the new layout will enable you to quickly jump to different tabs using the left thumbstick, d-pad, or bumpers on your controller. Sign-in, Achievements, multiplayer (including parties, Looking for Group, and tournaments), People, Home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures, and a new action center (including settings) each have their own tab in the new Guide.

A More Immersive Community: Staying connected with Friends and Clubs is now better than ever. The community section has an entirely new Activity Feed layout, showing more content at-a-glance.  When looking at feed items in detail, they are presented in an immersive, full-screen view—sharing the experience just as it was captured.  Reading comments is now much easier since the comment window can be expanded to fill the screen. You’ll now be able to skim the feed quickly or lean back on the couch and walk through it in detail – it’s entirely up to you. This makes it easier than ever to stay current with the games and friends you care about. Game Hubs, Profiles, and Clubs are also refreshed to make them more dynamic and engaging than ever before.  We’re also making Improvements to Club discovery, to quickly display which Clubs you’re already a part of, and easily discover new Clubs to join.  There will also be new titles that will be coming to Arena over the next few months, soon offering even more options for tournaments powered by Xbox Live.

Game Bar Gets Even Better: On Windows 10, we’re making it easier than ever to enable or disable Game Mode on a per-game basis by putting a switch directly in the Game bar. Mixer broadcasting with the Game bar will now give you more choices on the audio you broadcast; a new settings option will let you choose to broadcast game-only audio, or system-wide audio.  We’ve also added a new Xbox Live Network Troubleshooting option to the Settings menu in Windows 10, which will help you track down connectivity issues and optimize your online multiplayer experience.

This is just the beginning of some major updates arriving for Xbox gamers later this year.  We’ll be introducing plenty of new features in the coming months across Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Mixer, and mobile devices designed to make your gaming experiences all about you. As always, we owe some big thanks for all the fan feedback we receive and review from gamers everywhere, as well as to the invaluable members of our Xbox Insider Program for all the feedback they provide regularly. We’ll be sharing more when the update releases to more fans later this year. The team has worked hard, and we hope you enjoy these latest updates to your Xbox One experience! And of course, don’t forget to tell us what you think.