In tandem with the staged release of the Anniversary Update on its Xbox One console, Microsoft is also making major changes to the Xbox app on Windows 10. Among them are Win32 game integration with Xbox Live and the ability to edit and share Xbox One game clips on your PC.
That’s a big deal and in many ways—as odd as it may seem at first—the changes that Microsoft is making to the Xbox app on Windows 10 are as momentous as the changes coming via the Anniversary Update on Xbox One. And that’s because the first of these changes, described below, makes the Xbox app and Windows 10 more appealing to all gamers, especially those that are playing PC games via Steam or other services, outside of Xbox Live.
This is the new Microsoft, folks: If you can’t beat them, just work with them.
Here’s what’s happening with the Xbox app on Windows 10, starting first with the Xbox (Beta) version of the app, which provides access to new features first.
Win32 games now have their own Game hubs and integrate with the Activity Feed. This is the big one: Microsoft is integrating the top 1000 Win32 games with Xbox Live, basically, so you can see what all of your friends are doing, regardless of which gaming network they use, and interact with them. Plus, you can all chat via Xbox Live, with non Xbox Live members using the Xbox app. I asked about Achievements on Win32 games, but that’s a no-go for various reasons. But for PC gamers, Xbox is now relevant, and you can get presence across all games right from within Windows 10.
One Store. The converged Windows Store in Windows 10 will provide a single, cohesive, cross-platform experience. And that means much better support for Xbox One/Live games, including the ability to browse and purchase bundles, episodic games, season passes, virtual currency and other game add-ons and DLC.
Edit GameDVR clips with any video editor and then share them back to Xbox Live. Now, you can download GameDVR clips to your PC, edit them with your favorite video editor, and then share them back to Xbox Live with the Xbox app. (Microsoft is aware that this may lead to people just uploading whatever videos to the service, but I was told that every posted video is viewed by a human to be sure they’re appropriate, and of course the service uses Safe Search and filtering from Bing as well.)
People app integration. You can now add your Xbox Live friends to the People app in Windows 10 and deduplicate your cross-platform (Microsoft account, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) accounts into single entries and send messages using Xbox Live from the People app.
Improved recording from the Game bar. When you select the “Very High” video quality setting in the Xbox app, games recorded with the Game bar (WINKEY + G) will record at 60 fps (and separately at 30 fps).
Better support for full-screen Win32 games. Speaking of the Game bar, it now supports recording clips from more full-screen Win32 games, including League of Legends, World of Warcraft,DOTA 2, Battlefield 4, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and Diablo III.
Personalized Activity Feed. Now, you can determine what gets shared on your Activity Feed automatically: achievements, clips and screenshots, or nothing.
Share to Twitter. You can now share game clips and screenshots from Xbox Live to Twitter.