Major Nelson takes us on a tour of the Xbox app for Windows 10

If you want to see the brand new Xbox app for Windows 10 but haven't got it installed yet, fear not! Xbox's Larry Hyrb, Major Nelson to you and I, has posted a video tour of the new app with Richard Irving from the engineering team. It's the first time we've had the pleasure of a dedicated Xbox gaming app on Windows – not counting Smartglass, of course – and is something we're really excited to put through its paces.

While there's still a ton of work to be done, there's a lot of good stuff in this early build. Here's what we've got.

  • Your Profile – provides you quick access to your Xbox profile and recent activity and achievements. With the initial preview build, you can see your Gamerscore, recent Activity, Achievements, Following lists and Game Clips. Activity – provides detailed information on your last game played and also allows you to post updates to your Activity Feed. Achievements – allows you to browse all of the games you have recently played across all platforms and see how you are doing on Achievements.
  • Following – displays your Friends and also enables you to see games that you are following. You can "Follow" a game by clicking on the Follow button on the game details page.
  • Game Clips – provides you access to your recorded game clips
  • Home – the Xbox app home page will provide you quick access to your Recently Played games, your friends and their online status and an Activity Feed of recent events, game clips, etc.
  • Recently Played – you can see your recently played games, along with your gamer score and achievements earned across all platforms, you can also filter this list down to Xbox One and eventually other devices. When you click on a game, you bring up the Game Hub – where you can see your Gamerscore, Achievement status, Time played and Game clips for a particular game. Additionally, this is where you can choose to "Follow" a game.
  • Friends – you can see your friends across devices and search and find new friends. Additionally, you can go the profile page for your friends and followers and view their recent activity, achievements, friends, games they follow and game clips. People you might know – the new Xbox app on Windows 10 provides you with a list of people that you might want to add to your Friends list, for example people that are Following you.
  • VIPs on Xbox – You can now also choose to follow key gamers and content creators across the Xbox Live community, such as Clip Creators and Popular Broadcasters.
  • Activity Feed – you can view your activity feed and post text, like and comment on your friends' recent achievements and Game clips. In this version of preview build, the sharing functionality is not yet enabled.
  • Messages - Users can view messages from other users and system messages / notifications.
  • Settings – Within settings, you can see the current Version number of the Xbox on Windows app, and choose to Sign out from the app. Additionally, you can turn on/off the following items:
  • Live tile – choose to display # of friends online, unread messages and activity alerts on the Xbox app tile on the Windows 10 Start menu
  • Notifications - for the following items:
  • Favorite online – Notify me when my favorite friends are online
  • Twitch broadcast started – Notify me when my favorite friends start broadcasting
  • Message – Notify me when I get a new message

We'll be spending a lot more time with the Xbox app on Windows 10 soon, so keep it locked to Windows Central!

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • I wish game streaming was already built into it! :D
  • They'll probably need to put Windows 10 on the X1 first
  • Yeah you are right. I am just so excited about that.   I can already picture me when I am being too lazy staying in bed playing on my surface instead of going to where the Xbox One is (hopefully it will be OK on a Surface). :D
  • X1 is already Windows10 "ready". It'll never run true Win10 (if you watched the press event on the 21st they mentioned some devices [phones, etc] are getting modified versions), but it already contains the kernal. That's what makes it a Win10 device, just like phones, computers, and "internet of things" devices. It's just a matter of adding the associated functionality. A simple update like they do with the monthly releases. Shouldn't be long as they've already got it running in-house.
  • There is no "true" Windows 10. Windows 10 is modular, it installs various pieces of it's overall feature set depending on the device it's going on. Xbox and Phones will have things PCs don't. That's why they call everything Windows 10. Because they all are. They just check or uncheck certain items to be installed.
  • Okay, "true" may not have been the best word, but the sentiment is correct. Having spoken with a lot of people at MS about Win10, they consider the desktop the prime version. However, all versions share the same kernal. This is precisely why they can support a universal app model. Without it, they can't. That's why WP7 can't run WP8 apps, and why some W8.1 apps can run on WP8.1 (they share about 85% the same base code). That means that even your IoT device is running Win10. Don't be mistaken. It is the same OS as a phone, as PC, and as X1. The environment (UX) is really the only thing that's changing based on device.
  • Yep, mostly the UI layer and the 'features' (ie modules) change across devices. That's a lot more than just the kernel ... Phone, Desktop, Tablet and Xbox already shared the same kernel in Windows 8. All Linux OSes share the same kernel, but they are still very different OSes. With Windows 10 the entire OS is actually shared across all devices. It's just the UI layer and installed features that are different. I know that's exactly what you're meaning, but I'm just clarifying for those who misinterpreted what you meant because of the use of the word 'kernel'.
  • Ah, it's not in the last build? Thought it was, sucks. But still, good update.
  • How do we get 10 on xbone??
  • Meanwhile, the Games App on Windows Phone has been unusable for weeks....for everyone
  • For months really, or whenever WP8.1 was installed.
  • Isn't that all still stuck on Xbox 360
    Hey look at this. They have good side-by-side screenshots of new windows features comparing the new apps (Office, Spartan, Xbox) on laptop/tablet vs. phone. You wont be disappointed- the new Xbox app for WP looks awesome!
  • Are you joking? The Xbox WP app looks like a horrible iPhone app. Hamburger menu in upper left and mystery meat icons in upper right. WHAT THE HELL DO ANY OF THOSE MENU ICONS DO? With Metro design language you would have words there or icons with words that pop up from the ellipses. And where is all the SmartGlass functionality by the way? Why do we now have 2 Xbox apps, 2 browsers, 2 Skype apps, 2 versions of Office, and 3 Health apps? And every single new app has been designed to look like iOS which works terrible on large screen phones. Dumping Metro is a disaster for anyone who appreciated Windows phones and tablets. They even put the Spartan browser address bar at the top making it harder to reach on phones and tablets. What a bunch of iOS Apple conformist garbage. Microsoft has given up and is just trying to fit in now.
  • My my my somebody's grumpy today... Let me ask you something: Why is it that whenever anybody says anything positive about what's happening on this site, an irrationally angry fanboy like yourself has to get super piiiiiiiiissed and jump down their throats? And over what? A silly hamburger menu? Who cares? That is a common design element that all three major mobile platforms use (4 if you count blackberry). As for Smartglass, Daniel Rubino confirmed in a comment that it's going to be built into the Xbox app. As for the WP-is-dumping-metro-and-turning-into-ios paranoia, it's not. Besides, even if that's at all true, Microsoft (being the creator of the design) has every right to change it as they see fit. And every developer (including Microsoft) has the right to do whatever the hell they want with their apps. By the way, I have a 1520 (a large screen phone) and the newer apps work just fine. Don't know what you're talking about there. Reachability? Bull. Just an excuse for you fanboys to keep whining about Microsoft making a small simple change. So, according to you guys, all controls MUST be at the bottom, or it's "turning WP into IOS"? What about the top or middle? That's all touch enabled as well.
  • App is working fine on my 1020
  • Not sure what you mean by unusable for everyone cause the app works just fine on my 521 and my wife's 925.
  • Thought he knew I wanted it. Just asked @DanieRubino in the other post to do this for us.
  • This isn't our video. We haven't even finished installing Windows 10 and getting into it all yet!
  • I know....I'm saying that cuz I think somehow Major read my mind that some of us needed an in-depth view..that's all.
  • If this is what Microsoft meant by re-comitment to PC gaming then its a huge letdown, honestly who gives a damn about streaming XBOne content to a PC monitor, and the other useless crap. TB summed the whole MS PC gaming crap nicely here:  
  • I think it is awesome and will be using the crap out of it - especially the xbox one game streaming feature.  Not everyone has a kick-ass gaming PC (though I do), but almost everyone has a crappy or semi decent PC that could benefit from this.  They've also stated they are looking into going the other way around too - streaming PC games to xbox one.
  • Streaming games both ways would be a major game changer. Hopefully they would introduce streaming games on phones that are capable of doing so.
  • Yeah I was disappointed that they only mentioned that PC and tablets running windows 10 would be able to stream games, streaming to my 1520 would be awesome - only problem is getting a gamepad hooked up to it (though they could totally sell a kit with the cable and something like the moga uses to hold the phone that attaches to the gamepad).  Speaking of - still waiting on a wireless adapter for the xbox one gamepad for PC.
  • I'm sure streaming to phone would be easy to implement once they have tested and approved controllers such as Moga. They would be stupid to not include phones.
  • I'd much rather that they made something official like Sony did with the PS4 remote play mount ( but that would be okay too.  It was a little easier for sony since they used bluetooth, an xbox one version would require a cable unless they started building the chip used to connect xbox one controllers wirelessly into phones (which is so not going to happen - especially since they haven't even released a PC dongle yet).
  • Yeah ... Possibly they could implement some kind of USB-OTG-esque pairing (or even better, actual OTG) and then combine it with a first-party mount.
  • Xbox One controllers use Wi-Fi direct.
  • they were originally going to but they ended up going with something proprietary instead :(
  • Streaming both ways would be good, but only if it is limited to games in the Windows Store, not from Steam or other third parties. If only the former, that means Microsoft wouldn't lose any money on sales. If the latter, that would cannibalize Xbox game sales, and that would be disastrous to Microsoft's Xbox coffers.
  • I'll have to look for the interview I read earlier today, but that's not how Phil Spencer sees it at all.  I would expect it to stream Steam games just fine.
  • Microsoft allowing Steam games to stream to Xbox One would be financial suicide. Then everyone would buy Steam games (i.e. Microsoft receivers no money) instead of buying Xbox One gamese (i.e. Microsoft receives money). Why would they invest money in R&D to enable streaming of a competitor's service to their own platform, thereby facilitating revenue loss?
  • Playing games on steam is still playing games on Windows. Microsoft needs Windows to be popular and they know steam is a big part of windows gaming. Did you watch the presentation?
  • That makes no sense. That's like saying that playing games on Google Play is still playing games on Windows since Google Play is on Windows. Microsoft makes no money for game sales on Steam or Google Play and the like. Any money spent on Steam is potentially lost revenue to Microsoft. Steam is an enemy. And allowing Steam games to stream to Xbox would cannibalize Xbox One game sales. It would be suicidal. The only reason Steam even exists is because Microsft inexplicably gifted Valve the PC gaming market without competition. They should've done years ago what they are just starting to do now. Yes, I watched the entire thing.
  • Well this isn't where I originally read it, but this article sums it up:
  • Streaming steam games through my xbone would be the dream.
  • Will it replace SmartGlass? I don't see any use for it since we have Xbox app.
  • Seems like it with the exception if using the app for a remote and such like you can on smartglass.
  • Yes, this will replace SmartGlass.
  • So you're saying they will pull the SmartGlass app? I'm assuming you mean only from Windows devices. Surely they'd still leave SmartGlass on enemy platforms iOS and Android because there is no way the Xbox app will go to those platforms, yeah?
  • I doubt it would be removed from the other platforms. Though I would expect that they will update it to match the new layout and rename it to just 'Xbox'. SmartGlass doesn't have that much brand recognition, especially since the feature it's actually named after is pretty much a non-starter (unfortunate as that is).
  • Sure, just like Xbox Games would never come to those platforms :) I'm guessing the iOS and Android apps will just get renamed to Xbox with some modifications.
  • Looking forward to getting xbox streaming going! Pc gaming is not for me apart for c&c or sims but they messed those up. Steam is always to go to for pc gaming Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • This is actually a let down, it's basically smartglass social features? I hope the updates bring a lot more!
  • You are aware it's a preview, the app is not even finished. Expect it to be updated every month with new features.
  • This doesn't look very gamepad/big picture mode friendly
  • You just gave me an idea. With streaming you could effectively have your Xbox gaming in every room. All you need is a low-powered computer connected to every TV, with an Xbox controller connected (via a long USB cable, but hopefully we will get a wireless adapter in time). Provided this app works well with controller navigation and voice, your gaming could follow you on every TV in the house.
  • Yep, that's exactly my plan.  I have my xbox one in my living room, a surface pro via hdmi in my bedroom, a gaming pc in my game room (hooked up to the TV), and a pc in my office so I'm hoping I can just play xbox one anywhere I happen to be in the house (hoping that streaming to phones comes too so I can even do it on the shitter).  I've been looking for the interview I read with Phil Spencer yesterday (should have saved it) that pretty much confirmed that a person can be running a windows app (ala, Netflix, HBO Go, Live TV) on the same xbox one you are streaming a game from too without them even knowing you are doing it.  This is going to pretty amazing.  
  • If apps can run full screen while a game streams in the background, it's perfect! I'm sure mobile streaming will come too, they just need to test and approve certain third-party mobile controllers or figure out some kind of USB-OTG pairing for the Xbox One controller.
  • Why xbone controllers don't have wireless to PC functionality :|
  • Because it uses a proprietary WiFi protocol to communicate. As most WiFi functionally is actually coded into the WiFi chip, these things sometimes need specialised hardware to support. I would say the best we can for for is a USB dongle, unless newer Xbox controllers begin to support WiFi Direct.
  • I hope they include some features for the xbox 360 down the line. At least integrate the current smartglass app to have u unified experience.
    I know Microsoft want to push the new xbox rather than the 360 but it would be a bit selfish imo
  • If they would add smartglass, it would only be for one of them (Xbox One). Smartglass for X1 uses your local network to send the inputs to the X1. Smartglass for X360 send the input from your network through LIVE out of your house - and then back to you console. X1 and X360 are built differently. I think our beloved X360 will not get much more updates.
  • Technically Xbox One doesn't even use your local network -- WiFi Direct is completely P2P.
  • Smart glass was initially part of the now defunct games hub.
  • Will Xbox messaging eventually be built into the Windows Phone messaging hub the way Skype is?
  • Most likely it would be baked into the xbox app and then hooked into the messaging hub. Then again that is just wishful thinking :).
  • That's smart thinking, actually!
  • Since Skpe messages will be in blue, it would make sense to implement XBox messaging and have it in that same green background color. But, not everything that makes sense actually happens...
  • I would love that. Currently it seems like a superfluous messaging system, but integrated into messaging could give it a lot of life on Windows phones.
  • I hope this is a sign of things to come, the return of the hubs!
    On a side note, looks like custom avatars are slowly taking the back seat lol.
  • Hubs. God we miss those. The only one that got better by pulling it from the OS is the podcast. Look at what they did to the game hub. Pulled it out from the OS, destroyed it, and never touched it again. Incompetent as all hell.
  • While not featured on Windows Central (though I have tipped them a couple of times) Microsoft has been posting jobs for someone to come and rejuvenate Avatars, possibly for use across much more than just Xbox.
  • If it is running well ill install it in my main machine in the next week. For now I am sticking to virtual machine
  • Just create a partition. That's what I did and it's running great.
  • Yep, dual boot is the way to go. It means you can use it at full power and as your daily driver, with the option to revert back if it gets unmanageable. Personally I've been using it every day for work since the initial preview, and even though it got a bit buggy for a time it was still very usable. If I had had it in a VM I would have tinkered and then forgotten about it.
  • Wish they spent this much time on the Zune to Xbox switch. Ugh.
  • True dat!!
  • Right now I care more about the music app and if it will finally play nice with windows phone.
  • You guys forgot the essential point of this update. Xbox users can play games with the PC users! Cross-device ( does this even exist? Cross platform then)
  • I'm very excited to see the uptake on this and how it shapes gaming on Xbox and PC. I'm especially interested to see how it's handled (if at all) in types of games where mouse and keyboard have the upper hand (eg shooters, RTS, MOBAs, etc). Will these games simply shun it, or will we start seeing 'controller-only' lobbies?
  • Well that's a great feature, but you can't avoid 360 had that at the beginning, some games supported it. so it's not that something new, but we hope this time it's big and really good for gamers on PC and Xbox. that means nice games on store can be found and nice multiplayer gaming can be done like happened at the beginning of 360
  • It did exist very briefly and early on in GfWL before Microsoft gave up on it. Sony has some games like that
  • did they elaborate on whether the console needs updating for that feature and will those us who are part of the tech. preview get any X1 updates along with the PC & phone? Not everyone part of the Win10 tech preview is part of the dashboard preview program