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Windows Insiders can now launch cloud streaming games from controller bar

Xbox Controller Bar Preview Image
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • The Xbox Controller Bar allows Windows 11 users to easily launch games and game launchers from the Xbox Game Bar while a controller is connected.
  • A new Windows Insiders update can now add cloud streaming games to launch almost directly from the Controller Bar.
  • Other features including Auto HDR and party chat noise suppression are planned for the Xbox Game Bar.

The Windows Insiders Program announced a new feature for the Xbox Game Bar on Windows 11 that its members can test out. Now PC players in the program can launch cloud streaming games almost directly from the Xbox Controller Bar, when a controller is connected.

Microsoft showed off the new feature in the tweet below, as part of a larger livestream detailing new and upcoming Xbox Game Bar features. Once the bar is brought up either with Win+G or the Xbox button on the controller, the user selected Golf With Your Friends via cloud gaming and launched the game.

It is not completely seamless though, as selecting the cloud game launched the Xbox app and required the user to select "Play" with the controller to launch it. There is an extra step that keeps it from being direct, but is a welcomed shortcut.

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The Xbox Controller Bar was introduced in a preview build earlier this year, and gave PC players easy access to several games and game launchers through the Xbox Game Bar while using a controller. The developers also noted in the livestream that other features would be coming to the Xbox Game Bar such as noise suppression for party chat, auto HDR settings, improved child safety features, and more.

The new feature is part of Microsoft's strategy of easy access to its Xbox Game Pass service games and further development of cloud gaming. The company recently showed off its Xbox cloud gaming TV app that is currently rolling out to select 2022 Samsung smart TVs.

Thomas Meyer fell in love with video games starting in the mid '90s with a NES, Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf. He hasn't stopped and is not planning to anytime soon. Freelance for Android Central and Windows Central.