Xbox app for PC gets speed boost, ditching Electron for React Native UWP

Xbox app for Windows 10
Xbox app for Windows 10 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The new Xbox app beta for Windows 10 switches from Electron to React Native UWP with its latest Fast Ring release.
  • The change appears to bring significant performance benefits while reducing its installation size.
  • The new Xbox app beta is available for download via the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft appears to be reworking its Xbox beta app for PC, dropping the Electron framework, with significant performance enhancements in tow. The new Xbox app first hit Windows 10 last year, home to Xbox Game Pass for PC, as Microsoft looks to position the app as its next gaming hub on Windows 10 devices. That currently includes dedicated Xbox Game Pass integration, social feature, and a streamlined storefront, aligning with the new Xbox Game Bar experience.

While the new Xbox app first debuted as an Electron application, a popular framework for building desktop apps, it now undergoes a shift to React Native as a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app. Microsoft appears to leverage Facebook's open-source framework via the latest Fast Ring release, switching to C++ over .NET. That comes just days since Skype shifted from React Native to Electron, spotlighting two contrasting approaches to flagship app development.

While the Electron framework is widely adopted for app development, React Native provides a leaner, native experience on Windows. The upshot is decreased memory usage, cut by over 50 percent on our PCs, with significant performance enhancements as a result. The app installation size has also shrunk, from nearly 300MB down to 60MB.

Xbox app functionality overwise remains unchanged, serving as the central hub for Xbox Game Pass PC, currently featuring over 100 titles for a flat $10 monthly free. The app also features a custom storefront better tailored to core gaming, alongside the social essentials for Xbox Live.

The switch to React Native appears to be limited to the Windows 10 Fast Ring as of publication, likely to expand to additional users with time. The new test version is 2004.2000.29 , which is up from 2003.1001.4.0. If you want to try the current Xbox beta app for yourself, you need to be running the May 2019 Windows 10 update at the very least, with the app available for download here.

An in-depth look at the new Windows 10 Xbox app

Thanks, Nero, for the tip!

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.