Windows 11 gets a window into gaming with this new widget

Microsoft is trialling a Windows 11 widget that offers a shortcut to games from its PC/Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
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Microsoft is testing a new PC Game Pass widget in the latest preview of Windows 11 to give its Xbox gaming-subscription service a visual bump on the desktop. 

The new Game Pass widget is rolling out in the Windows 11 Insider preview build 25174 for the Dev Channel, offering a visual shortcut to Xbox games in the Windows 11 widget panel.

"This widget is a window to the extensive PC Game Pass library – it will show the latest additions, games leaving soon, and others from highlighted categories and then take you to the Xbox app where you can install them, see reviews, and go all in," Microsoft said.

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PC Game Pass for Windows 10 and 11 is the Windows sibling to the Xbox Game Pass for Xbox consoles, offering a catalog of downloadable games for $9.99/€9.99/£7.99 a month. Microsoft released the PC subscription in 2019 ahead of Google launching its gaming-subscription service Stadia. The big multi-platform subscription, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, costs $14.99 a month and offers high quality games to play on Xbox, the browser, iOS and Android devices, and, as of June, Samsung TVs.  

Microsoft is also working on making it possible to sign-in to an Xbox profile and switch to recently played games. It's also working on personalized recommendations.

pcXbox Game Pass has proved popular. Microsoft revealed it had 25 million subscribers in January as it announced its $68.7 billion acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard. 

In the meantime, Microsoft is filling out the Game Pass catalog. Microsoft in June announced a partnership with Riot Games to bring several League of Legends titles to Game Pass.

To try the new Game Pass widget in Windows 11, users need to open the widget board from the task bar or press Win + W:

  • Open the widgets board.
  • Click on the + icon next to your user profile.
  • Click on the + icon besides the Game Pass
  • Close the Widget settings window.
  • The Game Pass widget should now appear in your widgets board.  

This build also brings fixes to File Explorer, the taskbar, and Settings. 

Image: Microsoft
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