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The Xbox app on Windows enhances handheld usability

Discover the latest updates to the Xbox app on Windows, enhancing the handheld gaming experience with new navigation features.

In an exciting update aimed at enhancing the gaming experience on handheld devices, Microsoft has introduced a new feature to its Xbox app on Windows. Known as “compact mode”, this addition, first rolled out last year, was designed to make the app more accessible on smaller screens. The latest upgrade, however, aims to address the complexities associated with navigating the app via a D-pad and sticks.

New features to ease navigation

Today, Microsoft rolled out a fresh update for Xbox Insiders that includes a “Jump back in” feature. This new addition allows users to quickly relaunch they've recently played on their Windows handheld devices. Up to nine games are displayed on the Xbox app's main screen, and gamers can now simply press the menu button on their controller to start playing instantly.

This feature is smart enough to detect if a game is already running and switch directly to that active session. Additionally, it automatically navigates to the game hub, where players can see which of their friends are online, check achievements, and more, enhancing the social aspects of gaming.

Accessibility improvements and ongoing challenges

Microsoft has also updated the friends panel to make it more accessible when using a handheld or controller. Now, users can quickly access a slide-out list of friends from the sidebar, complete with large buttons that make joining party chats a breeze.

Despite these advancements, navigating the Xbox app on devices like the still poses challenges, particularly when trying to access the sidebar without touching the screen. The layout often prevents users from accessing the sidebar by navigating left unless they are at the top of the page or have selected a specific element.

While Microsoft has made significant strides in improving the handheld gaming experience on Windows, there remains much to do. Nevertheless, for PC Game Pass subscribers who own a Windows handheld, these early enhancements are a step forward, anticipating more focused improvements on controller navigation across the operating system.

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Emma Job
Emma Job
Emma is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition. With a decade's experience in content writing, she revels in both crafting and immersing herself in narratives. From tracking down viral trends to delving into the most recent news stories, her goal is to deliver insightful and timely content to her readers.

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