Windows 11 Insider Adds Controller-Driven Game Bar

Why is it important: This week, Microsoft introduced a new Xbox Game Bar feature in Windows 11 designed for gamepads. For the first time, Microsoft provides a way to run games from the Windows desktop without a mouse or keyboard.

Controller panel comes Windows 11 insiders today. This is a new version of the Xbox Game Bar that opens when you press the Home button on your Xbox controller outside of a game. Users can now launch their last three games or download game launchers such as Steam and the Epic Games Store. The regular Xbox Game Bar will still show up after pressing the Home button in a game.

To launch the new feature on Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 225xx or later, download the Xbox Insider Hub from the Microsoft Store. Sign up as an Xbox Insider at the Hub, go to Previews, and then join the Windows Gaming Preview. After that, update your Xbox Game Bar to version 5.722.5022.0 or later, restart your computer, and connect your Xbox controller or another Xinput controller.

The controller panel will come in handy for users with home theater PC setups that don’t allow for comfortable placement of the keyboard and mouse. Until now, Steam’s Big Picture mode has been the only way for PC gamers to jump from desktop to game using only a controller. Downloading non-Steam games this way requires manually adding them to the Steam library.

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