Windows 10’s Game Bar gets neat new features including Spotify widget

Windows 10 Game Bar
Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is improving Windows 10’s Game Bar, having rolled out some new features in testing which include the ability to control your Spotify tunes from within a game.

The Game Bar is a small overlay window that gives you convenient access to a raft of gaming-related controls, and the new Spotify widget means you’ll be able to control your streaming music without Alt-tabbing out of the game you’re currently playing. It gives you access to play and pause controls directly in the Game Bar, along with volume, the ability to skip a song, or select a playlist, and more.

That’s definitely a welcome addition for those who enjoy listening to some tunes while playing the latest first-person shooter or RPG.

Microsoft has also made the Game Bar customizable, so you can pick and choose the widgets – like the aforementioned Spotify effort – which are present, and move them around the bar as you wish.

Another fresh feature is the ability to add text to captured screenshots to swiftly create memes, which you can then share via social media (which is all done neatly within the Game Bar).

Finally, another widget being introduced is called Xbox Social, and this lets you see what games any of your friends are playing, as well as facilitating quick text messages or voice chats.

Big idea drives

So there are some useful tweaks here, although as mentioned, all this fresh functionality is just in testing right now.

That means you won’t see any of these features on the Game Bar yet – if you want to test all this out, you’ll need to fire up the Xbox Insider Hub (which you can find in the Microsoft Store).

Within the hub, click on Insider Content, and select Windows Gaming – you’ll then be able to play with the beta version of the bar (assuming you're on build 17763 of Windows 10 or better – in other words, you must be running the Windows 10 October 2018 Update).

This is all part of one of Microsoft’s ‘idea drives’ whereby the company is asking: How can Game Bar improve your PC gaming experience? You can check out all the latest feedback and get involved on Reddit.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).