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Microsoft's Xbox team should ditch Upload Studio and embrace the Windows Photos app

Upload Studio
Upload Studio (Image credit: Windows Central)

Upload Studio is the name of the Xbox One's rudimentary video-editing toolset, allowing users to merge and edit clips, as well as overlay text and more. However, it has become painfully out of date. Not only does Upload Studio revolve around using the now-dead Kinect, it doesn't support 4K game footage on the Xbox One X. It's also laggy and difficult to work with. I can't imagine adding 4K footage into the mix would make it any easier, either.

Microsoft's Movies & TV recently app got updated with the new video-editing tools found in Microsoft's Windows 10 Photos app, which are surprisingly good. Perhaps this is where Microsoft should look for game-clip sharing on Xbox Live.

Photos vs. Upload Studio

Using the UWP-based Windows 10 Photos app, you can splice clips together, similarly to Upload Studio. However, it also supports other fun features, such as inking and anchor text, the ability to add music and audio tracks, and slow-motion controls. And it's far easier to use than Upload Studio.

I edited the following clip of Battlefront II in less than a minute. Part of the speed was due to the fact that I was using a mouse on a PC, but therein lies my central point.

https://twitter.com/JezCorden/status/936517349699735552?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The best thing about Upload Studio is that it hooks directly into your Xbox Live game clips. To edit game clips on Windows 10, you have to download the clips first from the Xbox app, search for them, and then edit. Wouldn't it be much easier if Photos simply had a folder specifically for Xbox clips stored in the cloud? Then it could allow for direct editing.

Microsoft has always struggled to curate and create social platforms.

Microsoft has always struggled to curate and create social platforms. Skype is chasing Snapchat and Instagram with a cringeworthy attempt to copy the ephemeral, or disappearing, "Stories" format, which nobody will ever use. Additionally, despite how good the Photos app has become for making quick and fun clips, it still pales in comparison to iMovie (and Clips, and more so Final Cut Pro), which are exclusively available to Apple's macOS, and remain a selling point for those products. I'm not sure many Windows 10 users will ever find and use the Photos app for these sorts of scenarios either, sadly, as sharing fun clips takes place far away from Microsoft's platforms – for the most part.

Xbox Live has over 50 million users, and although Microsoft hasn't really capitalized on its social potential, people share video clips on Xbox Live, despite how painful and clunky the network is to use and how poor the Xbox app is on Windows 10, iOS, and Android.

Mixer.com is also new to the streaming and video sharing scene, under Microsoft. Thousands of hours of game footage are being viewed through Microsoft's fledgling streaming platform, and while it doesn't yet support video clips, there's no reason to think this feature won't arrive in the future. Mixer even has its own dedicated personal-streaming and editing app available for Android and iOS, known as Mixer Create.

Microsoft has the tools to make social video work

The tools and, more importantly, the will to share are there across Xbox Live and Mixer. Microsoft just isn't supporting users very well right now. The teams at Xbox and Windows should work together to transform Mixer, Xbox Live, and the tools found in Photos to create a truly powerful cross-platform video sharing service, that could even plug-in to Skype to shore up its sad "Stories" feature. Someone at Microsoft should take charge of the potential for video sharing game clips and streaming footage. Maybe Microsoft could find itself with a semi-capable social-sharing platform as a result.

The strange spread of social services at Microsoft, from Remix3D, Mixer.com, to Xbox Live, to Skype, and even LinkedIn and the newly-purchased AltSpaceVR, could coalesce into something more meaningful for social and sharing.

Sadly, I think it's more likely that we'll be stuck with a completely incoherent and inconsistent experience. This is Microsoft after all. At the very least, though, I think it's time to sunset Upload Studio, and push those resources toward making Photos the one-stop-shop for editing video on Microsoft's platforms, across Windows and Xbox.

What do you think?

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

15 Comments
  • Saw the title, first thought was, BACK OFF! Thankfully, I read on. I do use upload studio, and don't mind it. In fact, I used it a few days ago, and was frustrated that there were no new templates and features. Your suggestion sounds good, and they are missing a trick with those clips.
  • Upload studio is so wack. It kills the quality so hard. Says it's 1080p but it's 1080p my ass. Artifacts all day. It's a joke.
  • Sadly photos app is a crashing mess, especially when it comes to video editing. Also, doesn't it sound stupid "video editing in photos"
  • Did the photo app replace the Movie Maker program? Had a tech illiterate family member that used to churn out loads of family videos, sadly every one of them had pan pipes as a backing track.
  • Yes Movie Maker is dead which is a shame, it fell victim to the now dead Windows Phone strategy with universal apps. The smart thing to do would be to being it back with updated codecs and throw it on the  MS Store as a way to drive traffic to the store, so many people use Movie Maker it would surprise those who thought it useless.
  • Damned good idea.
  • Agreed.
  • It reflects the scattershot approach of Microsoft, Xbox team have upload studio, windows team have photos and mixer team have their own seperate editor. Skype is also being eroded by Discord on the Win desktop which should scare MS. Really they should evolve Mixer into a gaming only Youtube competitor too and hand over editing duties to Mixer software.
  • I hadn't heard of Discord until I read your comment. Search engine tells me it's like teamspeak. Good to see it overtaking Skype on the desktop. Cool story, bro.
  • Discord is like teamspeak and is more universally used (at least in my experience) than skype or teamspeak for pc gamers. Most clans, teams, squads, or w/e use discord for their channel.
  • Skype imo is a lost cause.
  • There's so much potential with game clips stored in the cloud for record on xbox, edit on pc etc all seamlessly. Wish it would happen. Right now it's record on xbox, download to pc, edit, re-upload.... So much potential
  • Does Upload even exist still?
  • What? You mean to tell me they don't already use the photos app? .... WTF???
  • Well Microsoft could leverage what they have and create a UWA editor, or bring back the movie maker moniker as a UWA and revamp it.