Microsoft is bringing its newfound love of user feedback to the Xbox app for Windows 10, with a beta version launching later this month.
The app will be called Xbox Beta, and will launch through the Windows Store. Microsoft hasn’t given a specific release date, nor has it said which features will be available at first. (We can speculate on a couple future possibilities, such as downloading over-the-air DVR shows from an Xbox One for offline viewing, and streaming PC games to an Xbox One console .)
Before the launch of Windows 10 in July, users were able to test the work-in-progress Xbox app through the Windows 10 Insider Preview . Now that the new operating system is widely available, it makes sense for Microsoft to break out a separate test version of its Xbox app. That way, gamers can try new features without having to use an unstable version of Windows .
While Microsoft has a long history of publicly testing programs such as Office and Windows before an official launch, the idea of ongoing preview or beta tracks is fairly new. Still, they’re necessary as the company switches to more rapid feature updates in many of its products. In addition to the Windows 10 Insider Preview, Microsoft also offers a preview program for its Xbox One and Xbox 360 software.
Why this matters: With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to bridge the gap between console and PC gaming, letting users stream Xbox games on the PC, communicate with friends, and view screenshots and recordings through the Xbox app. Still, there’s plenty of room for minor tweaks—an update this month adds game progress comparison with friends, and real-time activity feed updates—along with major features such as cross-platform play. Players who don’t mind the occasional bug will soon be able to try these updates before they’re ready for the masses.