Windows 11 gets new feature for gamepad fans
A new test version of Windows 11 is available to try out. Also on board: The new “Controller” bar.
Windows 11 gets the controller bar as a new feature.
At the weekend, Windows Insiders will again receive a new test version of Windows 11 to try out. Microsoft has started distributing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22616. Build 22616 mainly includes bug fixes and minor (often cosmetic) improvements. However, a completely new function has also made it into Windows 11: the controller bar function.
According to the developers, the controller bar is primarily aimed at gamers who like to use the Xbox controller on the Windows 11 PC. After tapping the Xbox button in the middle of the controller, Windows 11 displays a bar with the recently played and installed games on the screen. A game can then be selected and started via the controller.
Gamers can use it to start games faster than before on the Windows 11 computer directly via the controller. So there is no need to reach for the keyboard and mouse. At least if the games or game services (e.g. Xbox Gamepass or Steam) that are also displayed in the controller bar are to be started.
Of course, this assumes that an Xbox controller is connected to the Windows 11 computer. The controller bar is also only displayed when there is no game currently running in the background. If a game has already started, pressing the Xbox button will bring up the Xbox game bar as usual, which can also be displayed using the Windows key + G key combination.
If a game is running on the Windows 11 computer, tapping the Xbox button on the controller activates the game bar
This is how you can test the new controller bar for yourself
Microsoft now wants feedback on the new function from Windows 11 users. In addition to installing Windows Insider Preview Build 22616 (or higher), the prerequisite for using the new controller bar is the Xbox Insider Hub app, which is available here in the Microsoft Store.
In addition, the Windows Insider must also be an Xbox Insider or join this Insider program, which can be done at any time via the Xbox Insider Hub. You can then join the new “Windows Gaming Preview” in the Xbox Insider Hub, which ultimately activates the new controller bar. More details can be found in this Microsoft blog post.
All further information about Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22616 can be found in this blog post by the Windows Insider team.