Microsoft is unveiling some significant changes to its Xbox Game Bar in Windows today, including new custom widgets that any developer can build. We’ve seen Microsoft gradually improve Game Bar with widgets, but it is opening it all day today with a beta SDK so that all developers can create custom widgets.
It’s a big move that is accompanied by a new Xbox Game Bar app store within the overlay, which allows developers to create and list custom widgets for people to find and install. XSplit and Razer both release custom widgets to support Microsoft’s updated Xbox Game Bar. The XSplit integration will include access to Gamecaster tools without having to remove apps or games and the ability to start or stop streams, chat with viewers, or check stream statistics all within the overlay.
Razer has also created a Cortex System Booster widget that allows players to finish processes and services running in the background. There is also a Razer Gold widget that acts as a virtual wallet for Razer’s cryptocurrency.
Intel also supports Microsoft’s push for the Xbox Game Bar. While most gaming computers will be powered by Nvidia or AMD cards, Intel releases its own widget later this spring to provide quick access to display settings and power profiles.
Custom widgets are 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 before. 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 chat quickly when you’re in a game, and Nvidia’s Shadowplay overlay can be used to broadcast games or more often to catch games.
If Microsoft can convince developers like Nvidia, Discord and many more to create custom widgets, the Xbox Game Bar can quickly become the standard overlay for PC games. Developers interested in building a custom widget for the Xbox Game Bar can access the Microsoft beta SDK on the company’s website.