Microsoft is adding a Game Bar for controller users in Windows 11
Today, Microsoft announced that Windows Insiders can test out Controller Bar. Essentially, this is a different view of the Game Bar that’s designed for people using controllers. It will get you access to game shortcuts and more.
First off, you’ll see that when you pair an Xbox controller to your PC, assuming that you’re in the Dev or Beta channel of the Windows Insider Program. If you press the Xbox button on your controller, while you’re in a game, the Controller Bar will launch and you’ll see widgets instead of game shortcuts.
This is a notable change. If you’re a gamer on Windows 11, you’re probably familiar with the Game Bar, which you can use to record games, take screenshots, and a whole lot more thanks to third-party widgets. However, it’s very much optimized for those that are using a mouse and a keyboard, right from the Win + G shortcut that you probably use to open it.
Gaming with a controller on a PC might not be the most popular method in the world, but people do it. Indeed, Microsoft definitely has the telemetry to prove it, and it’s continuing to work hard to make gaming with a controller a more positive experience for its users.
In order to get started, you’ll have to be on Windows 11 build 225xx or higher, and an Xbox Insider. You can download the Xbox Insider Hub from the Microsoft Store, where you’ll be able to opt into trying out the new Game Bar. Once you’ve opted in and rebooted, you’ll see the Controller Bar as soon as you pair or plug in a controller.
As for when it will ship, that’s anyone’s guess. The Xbox Game Bar is updated through the Store, so even though the minimum requirements for the update are currently build 225xx, Microsoft could decide to push this at any time.