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If you play on PC, don’t sleep on the Xbox Game Bar

Content of the article: "If you play on PC, don’t sleep on the Xbox Game Bar"

When Windows 10 first released back in 2015, myself and pretty much everyone else saw that Xbox bar which pretty much just had recording functionality and turned it off ASAP.

When Microsoft announced they were going to update it more I decided to turn it back on to track how much it would change. With the most recent update I have to recommend everyone to give it a shot again, especially if you're a single monitor user.

Of course it has gaff in it like Xbox social and achievements, which work well if you actually care about them. (Side tangent, Xbox social seems to work a lot like Discord now and picks up any games you're playing on PC. I've gotta admit that it looks strange when my Xbox status showed that I was playing Horizon: Zero Dawn and kept track of it on my profile.)

It's the PC specific features that are the most interesting. The one I find myself using most often is the audio widget. It's basically the audio mixer but you can instantly bring it up on screen, even in game. I actually use the Game Bar completely for my audio mixing as pressing Windows+G is easier than having to fiddle with a little button in your task icons.

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Secondly, there's the performance tab. This shows FPS, CPU, GPU, VRAM, and RAM usage. It even graphs there usage over the last minute and this can be pinned to the screen so you can monitor it in game. I know there's other software that can achieve this but it's great to have this built straight into the OS.

What was introduced in the most recent update was the performance tab. This is a simple version of task manager. Unfortunately, it's only really for monitoring, you can't actually kill processes and such. However, I'm sure it would be useful for game performance testing to see if it's actually another program on your PC causing FPS dips. Again, this is most helpful for single monitor folks.

Custom widgets can also be added to the overlay, but there don't seem to be many people creating anything. One interesting widget you can add is Spotify. It's a basic widget, but it works.

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TL;DR A lot has been added over the past 5 years. If you use a single monitor and get annoyed with multitasking while playing a game, give it another go.


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