Microsoft is unveiling some significant changes to its Xbox Game Bar on Windows today, including new custom widgets that any developer can build. We’ve seen Microsoft gradually improve the Game Bar with widgets, but it’s now opening it up fully today with a beta SDK to enable any developer to create custom widgets.
It’s a big move that’s accompanied by a new Xbox Game Bar app store within the overlay, allowing developers to create and list custom widgets for people to find and install. XSplit and Razer are both releasing custom widgets to support Microsoft’s updated Xbox Game Bar. The XSplit integration will include access to Gamecaster tools without having to tab out of apps or games and the ability start or stop streams, chat to viewers, or check stream stats all within the overlay.
Razer has also created a Cortex System Booster widget, which will let gamers end processes and services that are running in the background. There’s also a Razer Gold widget, which acts as a virtual wallet for Razer’s cryptocurrency.
Intel is also backing Microsoft’s Xbox Game Bar push. While most gaming PCs will be powered by Nvidia or AMD cards, Intel is releasing its own widget later this spring to provide quick access to display settings and power profiles.
Custom widgets is an important step for the Xbox Game Bar, which has been well-received compared to some of Microsoft’s Xbox app work on Windows 10 in the past. Now that custom widgets will be available, it will be interesting to see if Nvidia and Discord choose to integrate into the Xbox Game Bar. Discord has its own overlay that lets you quickly text chat when you’re in a game, and Nvidia’s Shadowplay overlay can be used for broadcasting games or more commonly for capturing gameplay.
If Microsoft can convince developers like Nvidia, Discord, and many more to create custom widgets then the Xbox Game Bar could quickly become the default overlay for PC gaming. Developers interested in building a custom widget for the Xbox Game Bar can get access to Microsoft’s beta SDK over at the company’s site.
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