Microsoft’s New Game Bar Design for Redstone 4

Posted on November 24, 2017 by Rafael Rivera in Windows 10 with 34 Comments

Microsoft is reworking its Game Bar to take advantage of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and we got a sneak peek at what’s coming, thanks to some early code hidden in Redstone 4 build 17046.

Here are all the changes we noticed, from left to right, if you’re following along with the screenshot:

  • The awkwardly small Prussian Blue Game Bar has been replaced with a much larger transparent—soon to be acrylic—bar
  • The Game Bar now supports light and dark modes
  • The entrance and departure animations have been refreshed
  • The flipping Xbox Live avatar bubble is gone and replaced with a simpler Gamertag readout
  • Shortcuts to your Xbox Live profile, Mixer profile, recordings folder, and settings have been added
  • A clock has been added, reminiscent of the clock that appeared when opening Charms on Windows 8
  • Some broadcast settings have been promoted to toggle buttons and switches on the Game Bar (e.g. capture video, audio)

What do you think? Is Microsoft headed in the right direction here?

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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Microsoft’s New Game Bar Design for Redstone 4”

  1. Stooks

    Change for change sake?

    There is something to be said for stability. iOS and the Playstation UI hardly change at all, both are very popular.

  2. Joe Blo

    Drinking and gaming don't Mix.

  3. gregsedwards

    I love the look and design. I'm still perplexed by the feature in general, though. I mean, I get building a kick-ass screen recording and broadcasting tool into Windows, but the focus on game broadcasting specifically seems ponderous. It'd be like Microsoft building a great general purpose media streamer and only promoting it for listening to weather reports. I'd love to see them make it an easy way to broadcast yourself for any type of podcast, with or without a game running, and there should be some kind of hook into the Camera app. I understand it's totally possible to trick Windows into thinking any app is a "game," but c'mon, that's a hack at best. They should find a way to position this to appeal to a more mainstream audience, because it's great technology, but I'm afraid it's just gonna continue to languish in obscurity with such a narrow focus.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      It works with any application, just press Win+G to bring it up.

      You can record or stream Notepad if you want! Or PowerShell!

      • gregsedwards

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Exactly. And that's why I think it's weird they're marketing it as the "Game Bar," instead of something more generic like the "Broadcast Bar." And it should work with services other than Mixer or Twitch (does it even actually work with Twitch? Maybe I'm confused.) I could see enterprises using it to allow employees to broadcast training webinars and other videos outside of a tool like Skype/Teams easily. Would be a great use case for Microsoft Stream.

  4. Ron Diaz

    Why has Microsoft been so horrible at UI design with everything since the Office Ribbon? Just stupid useless UI changes that actually make my clients angry. Who approves of this garbage?

  5. NT6.1

    This new Game Bar is poorly designed.

  6. manzoor_e

    I'd be 100% happy if RS4 gets zero new feature, and instead focuses on polishing UI elements and components like this.

  7. arunphilip

    It wouldn't hurt to put in captions beneath either the 3 main sections (screenshot / recording / broadcast), or even the individual buttons themselves.

  8. Andygoes

    I get that these are different development teams, but I'm more interested in Game Mode doing things like suppressing notifications for Windows updates, pausing Store updates while playing Steam games, and turning off the night light feature automatically. Are there any Game Mode devs that actually play games?!

  9. SocialDanny123

    I'm liking this update so far. It seems like Microsoft is adding some much needed UI changes that make the OS beautiful. Despite it's 6 month development cycle, it seems like Redstone 4 has much more substantial features.

    Edit: They also need to get rid of the date on the clock. It's basically unneeded since you can basically click or touch on the clock to get a date.

  10. Ugur

    I hope it works well, and ideally better than before. The previous one worked ok but sometimes was slow to come up, like with just the right amount of delay sometimes that i'd wonder whether it got the input to bring it up.

    I'm worried using UWP and semi transparency, acrylic or whatever could make it even slower to come up.

    That's the main thing i feel MS doesn't get right these days. They make and remake and remake the same apps over and over (like i don't know how many Skype re iterations they made in the past few years for example) and i feel like most times it actually cuts back on intuitive design and fast snappy responsive usability.

    Look at who does it right and copy that model. Users don't care if an app is made in suporama mx or UWP PWA or win 32, what counts most is that it works and with updates works better and more intuitively, not whether it follows the latest internal this is our new app platform or policy because whatever.

    If you re make an app just to have it in your whatever new app platform while the usability and snappiness gets worse, you're doing it massively wrong.

    Have a look at the Nintendo Switch for example. It has less powerful graphics than home consoles and way lower than a highend gaming pc, but the graphics look awesome for a portable and hence more than good enough and it has the most stripped down UI and that is awesome because it is mega snappy and intuitive and makes the way more powerful home consoles feel slow and clunky.

    Like on the Switch one can push an app to pause/sleep by turning off the console and then turn the screen back on and it INSTANTLY starts and one can play from where one left off. Instantly, always.

    Whereas for example on the xbox ui, yes, in more recent updates they made it a bit faster again, but it is still way slower and less snappy and less intuitive than the very first ui they had many many years ago, like come on, how can they think something like that going backwards like that is acceptable?

    I don't want to be a hater, but come on, i open the Skype app on my phone and while each phone of mine is faster and faster, each Skype redesign version for phones is worse and worse and now it is at a level where it has completely unacceptable horrible design and one can't even chat lengthy properly anymore as it has some kind of memory leak, when one types longer conversations, just after 5 minutes of exchange the typing gets noticeably slower and slower with each letter i type until i can see the keys on the keyboard popping up animation coming it at 2 fps quickly.

    It is like a keylogger which sucks more cpu with each letter typed.

    While that is the only app where something like that happens on my S8+ (and it is the same on other high end phones).

    I want to use Skype because i have most of my contects in it for many years and without them screwing it up more and more it was an extremely useful service, but come on.

    How is something like that acceptable and makes it through UI/UX/internal quality test reviews?

    Then i see something like this game bar redesign and at first glance it instantly looks less intuitive to me and like just UWPified the design for no apparent reason/value for users and likely worse performance thanks to UWP and transparency, acrylic whatever.

    • SocialDanny123

      In reply to Ugur:

      All Acrylic elements like blur can be disabled...???

      Though it does seem like Microsoft would be best have a minimum spec where Fluent Design blur should be disabled and anything below that should have it disabled by default. It's an easy thing to implement anyway.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to SocialDanny123:

        It's even better than that. The system will scale the blur effect based on your hardware. On one system, I had an old Radeon HD 5000 series and it had simple blur. A newer Radeon R7 got installed and the full acrylic effect was enabled.

      • MikeMyers

        In reply to SocialDanny123:

        It's not about whether one can disable it or not (and i actually have a powerful gaming PC so unless it is really horribly done, it should run fine for me), it is more about me wondering about what is their general focus during their concept and design meetings when i look at that thing and it looks less intuitive and likely with a few other downsides right at first glance to me.

        Their focus should be on making a clear intuitive and snappy usability improvement for users.

        • SocialDanny123

          In reply to MikeMyers:

          it looks fine....??? The current design wasn't efficient and was too cramped for users especially touch users, where it is used for screen recording.

          There's nothing wrong at all with negative space.

          • Ugur

            In reply to SocialDanny123: I'll withhold my final judgment until i used it for a while. It's just up front i'd have way preferred it if i'd have heard they enhanced the functionality and usability instead of doing yet another redesign. Like give me proper settings for different video quality and resolution settings for example instead of just normal quality and high quality or have the exciting improvement that it always launches instantly now.

  11. david.thunderbird

    Looks like they are Drag-gon everything over the Edge into the muddy cragmire what a Vista this is gonna be before it ends.

  12. nevleon

    This is really a great news for game designers like me. I have been to game development since last four years. Now its become pretty much easy to create and develop game with Microsoft Bar design. Previously we are using Nox Player download to play Android games on Windows PC. with the newly released feature we no longer need to use any emulator to play games.