Microsoft has just powered up the Xbox App for Windows in a new update that brings in a lot of useful changes, on the accessibility front for starters, and also with game cards, better filtering for your games library to find what you want, and more.
Essentially, this acts as a one-stop-shop hub where you can access accessibility settings for the Xbox app – for example, disabling animations or background images (those are actually two new features designed to remove what might be unnecessary distractions for some folks). Also, the menu offers convenient shortcuts to other accessibility options (for Windows in general, for instance, or the Xbox Game Bar).
Another significant change has been introduced for game cards, which offer up more info. So you can now see at a glance how long a game takes to finish (typically), details on pricing, and relevant info on when the title is coming to Game Pass (or indeed being dropped).
There are also new options to filter your game library, so for example, it’s possible to look for games you can beat in a few hours (under five) if you just want a quick fix for your next venture into PC gaming. It’s also possible to sort games via accessibility features, too.
Microsoft has implemented tweaks on the social side for the Xbox App, too, allowing you to pop out your friends list (or a chat) into a separate window. If you have two desktops going, you can have a game running full-screen in one, and your social stuff popped onto the other.
Analysis: Impressive steps forward
There’s some very useful stuff added here, with the extra details on game cards, and additional filter options likely to prove very handy (especially the idea of looking for quick fix games, or indeed the opposite end of the spectrum – games that will consume your life for the next month or three, perhaps). Note that the estimations of game lengths are drawn from a website (HowLongToBeat.com).
Furthermore, Microsoft continues to put its best foot forward with further efforts on the accessibility front. We’ve seen a lot of such work in Windows 11 at a broader level – with lots of progress with Voice Access in particular of late (courtesy of the Moment 3 update) – and it’s great to see this happening on the gaming side of the equation in the OS, too.
As a final note, one thing PC gamers might have missed is that Windows 11’s live captions work in games, too – and the feature does a pretty good job for those titles which don’t have native captions.
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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).