A new feature of the Xbox controller is being tested

Microsoft is testing a new feature that includes its two main gaming platforms: the Xbox family of devices and Windows PCs. The feature includes pairing the Xbox controller with the computer and gaining quick access to what is called the “controller bar”. Access to this gives players a way to instantly select their favorite games and apps they’ve used often, and if you’re part of the Insider Preview tests, you can try this feature right now.

If you’re someone who has frequently used an Xbox controller with a Windows computer, you’ve no doubt pulled the Xbox Game Bar from time to time to access your apps and do it faster. With this new feature, you’ll be able to do it even faster. A bar like the one seen in the image below will show a few icons for games and apps, as well as a “home” icon to speed up everything you plan to do next.

“The controller bar opens when you pair or connect the controller to a Windows 11 computer running the latest version of Insider Preview on Dev and Beta channels,” reads a feature post on the Windows Insider Blog. “Your last played games and installed game launchers are just a push of a button. Call the controller bar when you’re not already in the game, by pressing the Xbox button on your controller.”

Pulling the bar right away whenever you connect the controller to your computer makes sense given how likely it is when you make the most of it, but it won’t naturally linger throughout an entire gaming session if you don’t want to. Pressing the Xbox button on the controller whenever you’re in the game will pull up the normal Xbox game bar, but if you do it whenever you’re out of the game, this new view will open. Alternatively, you can also press Windows + G to achieve the same result.

For those who want to try this new feature on Windows 11 computers, you can do so by joining Xbox Insider and running the latest Insider Preview.

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