Windows 10 Xbox Jazz Improved In Anniversary Update

If you’re using Windows 10, you’ll either have just download a hearty big Windows update or have it waiting for you. Perhaps you started work twenty minutes late today because of this ‘Windows 10 Anniversary Update’ installing. Maybe you’re even mentioning that on a website you know your colleagues read, to support your excuse. Once you do have the update installed, you’ll find a few updates and additions to its games hub, the Xbox app. It’s important to have a solid PC games centre included with Windows, so I welcome advancements. Microsoft still have a long way to go, mind.

Between the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and last week’s Xbox app update, Windows 10 Xbox and gaming stuff is… better than it was?

Support for the new wireless Bluetooth controllers, introduced with the new Xbox One S model, is now live. Preparation for Xbox Play Anywhere, which will share games between Xbox One and Windows 10 accounts, is now done and waiting for a game to come out and support it. The built-in recorder can now capture at 60fps, and clips from non-Microsoft/Xbox games can be shared and seen across Xbox Live too. Xboxeers and PCfolk can voice chat together. Things that aren’t major but make it better? Read more about all that over here.

I do think it’d be good for Windows to come with a solid games store and hub. For many people, the idea of even downloading and installing Steam or any other games store program, let alone trusting it, is weird. (Heck, and even if you can convince someone, Steam’s hardly an inviting interface.) If a store is right there and has games, that’s good! More people gaming on PC is good for us all.

Microsoft’s current interest in PC gaming seems more thought-through than any of the squillion previous times that they’ve declared they’re taking PC gaming serious. Maybe, this time, they’ll even stick with it. Or maybe it’ll be another repeat of the awfulness that was Games for Windows – Live, and Microsoft will inconvenience players to bolster their own inferior ecosystem then lose interest, give up, and leave developers picking guff out games’ guts for years afterwards.

Microsoft’s refusal to engage with the healthy, well-established stores and marketplaces which already exist on PC is just silly. Release Crackdown 3, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, and all the others on Steam and whatnot too, you big sillies. Give up your ill-conceived dreams of dominating PC gaming and strong-arming people into your systems. Be happy to coexist on the finest and most diverse gaming platform.

And for goodness’ sake, redesign the whole Xbox app because this mess is absurd:

Names have been covered, obvs.

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  1. frymaster says:

    For many people, the idea of even downloading and installing Steam or any other games store program, let alone trusting it, is weird

    and for others, the idea of using another download manager than Steam is anathema. I’m not sure what the answer is, either, but anything non-Steam (origin, uplay etc.) seems to start from a reviled rather than neutral rating (for example, people seemed to be genuinely outraged that Bethesda put the – free – Fallout Shelter for PC on their own download manager rather than anywhere else)

    While it’s true some have been more reliable than others (though look how bad Steam was in the HL2 days!), the tribalism can get a bit much. I was cheering when Origin announced their “Great game guarantee” refund policy because, even if 95% of my game library is Steam, competition, especially based around providing a better service to users, can only be a good thing

    • Kefren says:

      The answer to keep everyone happy is always: release your game (book/film/doodah) for each store. Then Steamers can buy it on Steam, Ubis on Uplay, Eaters on Origin etc. It’s restricting to one store only, or requiring multiple clients for one game (e.g. Uplay and Steam), that rightly annoys everyone.

      • Kefren says:

        Ideally Antidrmrs would get it on GOG too.

        • MultiVaC says:

          Yeah, the issue I take with this sort of thing is that exclusive titles that force anyone who wants to play them into using any given store/downloader is not really what comes to mind when I think of “competition”, at least not the kind that creates a healthy marketplace that results in better services and prices. I don’t think anyone has ever really chosen Origin because they like anything about it, they just begrudgingly open it up when they want to Mirror’s Edge or Mass Effect. None of these applications really function as alternatives to one another (except for maybe GOG) as much they are attempts to force users into the company’s own controlled ecosystem to maximize profit, which isn’t going to benefit us a while lot. And yes, that goes for Valve and Steam too, even though that is the one I prefer using.

      • frymaster says:

        something else I didn’t think of is that for anything multiplayer or internet-interacting, it’s in their best interests to use one or other service’s account integration (steamworks or similar), muddying the waters for the “release on all platforms” crowd, though I agree that’s definitely the way to go for single-player

        • Kefren says:

          True. I only really play single player games. I suppose a partial way round it is that, as well as a full-featured online service, they always included a LAN option. Then at least some form of future-proofed gaming would exist on each store, and could save the day once the publisher shuts down their own servers.

      • engion3 says:

        Ubisoft doesn’t sell things on Uplay anymore. I got watchdogs and far cry primal, launched it for first time in forever and there’s not even a store component anymore.

    • Llewyn says:

      Competition is indeed a good thing. The revulsion for Origin and uPlay is that there was no attempt at providing competition on launch, just a mirror of MS’ strongarm tactics – requiring their platform (and in some cases restricting sales to it) for their games while offering a service which resembled the mire that Steam had already clambered out of.

      I have no idea how this strategy plays out on a wider scale, but from a personal anectodal perspective, they’re still tainted by that. I recognise that Origin led the way with refunds (while also leading the way with full account bans) and I’ve seen minor good points with uPlay at times, but to me they’re both services I only use because I have to (and typically expect not to be able to, in uPlay’s case.)

      I start them when I want to play a game I have on them, I close them when I’m done. I start Steam soon after I boot up and I shut it when I’m rebooting months later. This is not because I prefer to give Valve money particularly, but because they’ve provided a service that encourages me to. I’m aware how long it took Valve to get to that point; it was unnecessary for EA and Ubisoft to take the same path.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        Actually Steam led the pack with full account bans.

      • TormDK says:

        If anyone started strongarming anyone, it was Valve with Half life 2, where Steam activation became mandatory.

        Never forget, never forgive. Valve does not deserve our praise on that subject.

        Everyone else is just trying to play catch up, a monopoly is not in our interests at any rate and Steam isn’t really all that (I say that, with more than 400 games in my library, and having seen literally every game on Steam’s discovery queue – all 9,768 of them).

        • Herr_C says:

          Trying to play catch up… Well, trying is IMO a bit of a too strong word to use here. Origin, uPlay, MS Store… are after all this years still only glorified download managers. I do not see how are they trying to provide any kind of additional service to even get close to what Steam is offering.

        • Llewyn says:

          I’m aware how long it took Valve to get to that point; it was unnecessary for EA and Ubisoft to take the same path.

        • malkav11 says:

          You’re right, a monopoly isn’t in our interests, which is why stores/clients that exist purely to provide publishers a monopoly over their own games (Origin, uPlay, Rockstar Social Club, etc) are to be pilloried, not celebrated as competition for Steam when they’re nothing of the kind.

          • Premium User Badge

            liquidsoap89 says:

            Let’s not forget that Steam follows all those same practices in regards to platform exclusivity. Steamworks provides developers with extra features through Steam, which also locks the game to that platform. And let’s not forget those EA/Steam shenanigans from a few years ago when Valve removed EA’s games from Steam because EA was selling DLC though places other than Steam.

            basically, everybody here is evil.

          • malkav11 says:

            Steam is an actual marketplace selling thousands of games. Origin, uPlay, Rockstar Social Club? You might find a couple of third party titles on them, but they’re almost completely just company stores and their raison d’etre is locking in control over their own games.

            Yes, Valve absolutely shouldn’t be locking their own games to Steam, but they’re a developer, not a publisher, and their body of affected work is vastly smaller than most of the other companies making similar moves. And of course, they’ve been coasting on CS:Go, TF2 and DOTA 2 for years now and who knows when we’ll see another Valve game release, while Ubisoft and EA churn out titles by the dozens every year. And yes, they offer a (relatively unobtrusive) DRM system and a few similar bits of kit, but it is up to the companies making the games whether to use them. That so many of them do is not Valve’s fault.

            I welcome genuine competition to Steam from a marketplace standpoint (better prices, features, service, etc all come from actual competition), but I don’t want it to come in the form of a million competing clients (none of which come anywhere close to Steam’s feature suite, and all of which further clutter up my computer and force me to hunt down what I have where, maintain separate friends list, etc), and it certainly doesn’t manifest by balkanizing games into a bunch of separate monopolies any more than breaking up Ma Bell into regional telecom monopolies made real competition in the telecom market.

          • Emeraude says:

            Steam is an actual marketplace selling thousands of game.

            It certainly is, but mostly only because Valve was the first to use the strong-arm tactics that led to its success, which gave it the traction it needed to attract publishers/developers.

            That so many of them do is not Valve’s fault

            They created the gun, they designed it to be pointed at the customer’s head.

            Amusing how when MS pointed a very similar gun at Valve’s head, suddenly it was all about how great openness is for the PC platform.

          • malkav11 says:

            You think Steam is the marketplace it is today because Valve locked two or three of their (admittedly very popular) games into it? I find that extremely hard to believe. I certainly didn’t give a rat’s ass about Steam until they started doing the big sales they did, and that is the biggest thing I would credit with their success.

            And come on. You honestly think that companies weren’t using DRM before Steamworks? Usually worse and more intrusive (and yes, some of them still do)? Valve provided it because that was something the people making the games they wanted to sell wanted from them. I resent the mindset that calls for DRM, for sure, but Valve didn’t create it and if they weren’t willing to support it, they wouldn’t have gotten much third party stuff on Steam. Maybe any. After all, GoG’s not had all that much luck on that front and they had the advantage of setting that as a contrast to the other services like Steam and using that as a marketing tool, plus an original focus on old games nobody else was doing much with.

            Microsoft isn’t doing what Valve did. But even if they were, as the company that makes the operating system, they’re in a very different position than Valve is and it’s a lot scarier and more problematic when they start throwing their weight around, because they have the ability, potentially, to enforce their crap on a system level. And frankly, they have a track record of screwing stuff up on a remarkably consistent and frequent basis.

          • Emeraude says:

            You think Steam is the marketplace it is today because Valve locked two or three of their (admittedly very popular) games into it?

            Not only I do think the lock matters, *you* do (” if they weren’t willing to support it, they wouldn’t have gotten much third party stuff on Steam” – your own words, very same post).

            And then yes locking those first games gave them the initial momentum. They had that big install base locked, were the only such market in town, which made them attractive to third party developers, who asked to use the platform, and Valve obliged.

            And come on. You honestly think that companies weren’t using DRM before Steamworks?

            I know what companies were doing before – I was against them, same way I’m against Valve and copycats now. Valve holds a special spot because it’s the biggest offender right now. Qualitatively I find Steam worse on many fronts than many previous DRM iterations.

            Microsoft isn’t doing what Valve did. But even if they were, as the company that makes the operating system, they’re in a very different position than Valve

            MS is in position to exactly do to developers/Publishers what Valve did to end users: it’s enclosing the system on them, taking away control. It’s *because* they’re in a very different position that they can do it.

            I do find amusing the hypocrisy of people like Mr Newell clamoring for openness when their success has been entirely dependent on closing things on end users.

          • malkav11 says:

            You seem to be conflating two different things: Publishers only selling their games through their store/client and DRM. I didn’t say “if they weren’t willing to support it” about the lock in. I said it about DRM. Third parties will, for the most part, not do business with a store that won’t support DRM.

            Do I think Valve got a certain subset of people to use Steam at all by making their games exclusive to Steam? Sure, probably. But all that particular maneuver gets them is their own private little fiefdom. You know, like Ubisoft and EA and whoever else have now. I didn’t give a rats ass about Steam back then and I don’t think anyone outside of Valve’s immediate fan base did either.

            It was actually competing – getting third parties involved in selling their stuff there, helping them price their stuff for sales, making Steam sales these big events that get a lot of attention, adding all kinds of secondary features that make someone want to buy a game on Steam instead of elsewhere, happily giving out Steam keys to anyone selling their game on Steam to use as they see fit, and so on and so forth that has made Steam the dominant force in PC game sales. Ubisoft isn’t doing that. EA isn’t doing that. Rockstar isn’t doing that. And Microsoft aren’t doing that. If they did, I would be a lot more interested in shopping with them.

            (The sales were the big thing, I think. I actively refused to use digital stores in the early days because they were too expensive and price inelastic compared to retail. It was Steam sales, and the attendant culture, that drove the switch for me.)

          • Emeraude says:

            You seem to be conflating two different things: Publishers only selling their games through their store/client and DRM.

            I have to when the client is both delivery mean for product and DRM. They’re one and the same thing conflated by design. AND the very tool for the locking to happen in the first place.

            I’m not discounting the sales. I’m saying Valve would never even have reached the level needed to even do them in the first place if not for the lock up imposed on end-users.

            The thing you seem to be disregarding is how the original fiefdom, to use your term, is what made Valve’s client interesting as a solution to publishers/developers. It was the only significant game in town, the only solution with enough market traction and, of course built-in DRM.

            Which then of course gave them even more traction by way of exclusives – on a supposedly open platform, that is open for devs/pubs, not end-users. Still today, if you don’t want of get locked out of a whole non-insignificant portion of gaming, you have to make do with Valve… and the copycats created *only* because publishers themselves were getting frightened of the lock up and its implications, with Steam becoming both the Walmart and Gamestop of the digital space (only one that matters now they effectively killed retail by forcing the link to digital).

            That’s why there’s no competition with and uPlay/Origin. They are to Steam what SteamOS is to Windows. Just something that needs to exist for power balance purposes.

  2. Andrew says:

    Microsoft’s refusal to engage with the healthy, well-established stores and marketplaces


    I don’t blame Valve for having F2P games, collectible cards and such, and I’m not gonna blame MS for pushing their own store. That’s how they make money (Win 10 was kinda free, and Steam have a ton of free features). Not an ideal situation, but not that bad either.

    Thing is, and that’s relevant only for me, but I stop caring about this stuff. If I don’t like something (obnoxious DRM, stupid PR stunt, other shitty behavior), I can easily ignore the whole publisher. I barely touch Uplay, Origin, GOG and Activision’s games. I don’t have anything against them, not really, but there are a lot of other games, so, yeah.

    On the other hand, just one good game (“Sea of Thieves”, fingers crossed!) can convince me to to use one of those thingamabobs. And MS store is already on my PC (I have them all, actually). And they already gave me free Win 10 version of “Minecraft”. So, yeah, maybe the can be good for us.

    Or, maybe it’s all a cunning plan, my lord!

    • Mokinokaro says:

      The funny thing is that Microsoft’s outright said they want to put more games on Steam and other storefronts.

      Their new UWP framework also isn’t locked to the Windows store. Developers can put together their own packages and sell anywhere they want.

      • Andrew says:

        “Halo” games on Steam are UWP games.

        There a lot to talk about here (“boxless Xbox”, for example, already a huge topic), but, basically, I’m not saying MS is doing a great job or anything, at least not right now. But they shaping to be a good alternative, which is always welcomed. I just don’t get people waving around “Remember the GFWL” flags. That’s just too much of a swing to the other side, for my taste.

    • pistolhamster says:

      Cunning plan, eh Baldrick? It is as cunning as when Lincoln said “Let’s go to the theatre tonight, dear.”

      Anyways, I am with you. I don’t play Ubigames anymore. Or EA games. Haven’t touched Activision for something like I really wanted to play ME3 – but Origin meh’s me out of it as long as I can still get a full supply of fun games on gog/steam. I don’t even play Blizzard games anymore. Call me lazy!

      • Andrew says:

        Oooh, Blizzard, I forgot about them. Last time I played free version of “Diablo III”, thought that “Torchlight II” is better and never looked back.

  3. IcyBee says:

    It’s pretty outrageous that this app can’t be uninstalled in the normal fashion. Whatever the hell it does – I don’t want it.

    Get-AppxPackage *xboxapp* | Remove-AppxPackage

    I’m really annoyed that the anniversary put this and all the other useless Metro nonsense back.

    • Asurmen says:

      Just ignore it?

      • purex. says:

        I honestly wish I could, but the damn thing started capping my fps at 60 and inducing input lag, so it made me pay attention to it. At least for the brief time it took to remove it.

  4. Greg says:

    I think we’re missing a HUGE component here. Steam is MUCH MORE than a store front. We’re talking about integrated communications, Workshop, Mod support, a thriving community AND SECURITY. All the other crap, like Origin, Uplay, etc… is little more than a store front, with a little PR candy thrown in. Would I trust my video game library to a company that released two back to back broken Battlefield titles and destroyed their Simcity IP? Hell No! I don’t have much faith in Microsoft’s latest attempt either. The whole “Games for Windows” saga is still fresh in my mind. That lasted 3 years maybe. Then they bolted for the exit door. Games we bought and thought we’d be able to play for years were broken over night. I’m sure this “mandatory update” is going to be a repeat of the browser wars. Steam, much like Netscape has a significant lead, then Microsoft started breaking it with their operating system. If there’s a way to refuse or disable this update, I’m itching to know how.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Windows 7

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Umm…mod support and workshop is just a storefront. Actually it was Valve’s storefront to monetise an existing free mod scene.

      Origin has integrated chat and all the platforms integrate security into them.

      Also Microsoft never broke Netscape and I’d like to see your evidence that they are breaking Steam at an operating system level.

      • Premium User Badge

        TightByte says:

        Oh, mattevansc3. I don’t remember reading your opinions around here since last Microsoft was a subject of criticism.

        Personally, I remember when we read Vinod Valloppillil’s treatise with great interest, one Halloween nearly two decades ago, on how to “embrace and extend” with the end goal being to disrupt and lock in.

        I never see anything Microsoft does as throwing its hat into the ring, I recognise it only as a sluggish but determined attempt to monopolise the ring and make it Microsoft-hat only.

        Since even anti-trust laws have been having a difficult time keeping Redmond at bay, the safest bet is simply to oppose their monopoly by going the opposite way; just say no, even if it is in fact the better offering or the superior technology. I advise any and all to decline the short term boon for the benefit of long term variety.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          Not sure whether to be creeped out by your stalkerish tendencies of monitoring when I’m posting or appalled at how shit a job you are doing of it.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Tim Sweeney (who seems to have morphed into a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist over the years at Epic) seems to think Microsoft will intentionally break Win32 to stop Steam, Origin, etc.

        You know, completely ignoring how that would kill 90%+ of apps currently used on Windows machines and cause a corporate revolt against Microsoft.

        Sweeney is an idiot, basically.

        • Emeraude says:

          Given MS’s history, I can certainly see where he’s coming from on that one – I would say hope for the best and prepare for the worse is the only way to go with them (certainly better than the company deserves). Sounds more like misplaced zealotry (at least as far as the accusations of things being done right now are concerned) than conspiracy theory to me.

          And the discontinuation of win32 is on the plate, it’s been labeled legacy for a while now. MS is not going to hit a switch. It’s going to be a slow transition process. It does matter to think in advance where that process is leading us.

  5. Chirez says:

    I guess the absence of any of that shite is ample evidence of my having successfully crippled windows update. Which is nice.

    It would be lovely if MS could manage to run an honest, user friendly storefront where people could buy games without having to know anything about steam, or any of the other poor excuses for digital distributors.

    They can’t, and they won’t, especially so long as they have total control over the operating systems of the majority of users, but it’s a wonderful dream.

  6. Carra says:

    Games for Windows Live is still giving me nightmares.

    Reminds me of the time I bought Arkham Asylum on steam and played for two hours. After logging out it had not saved my progress because I was not logged into a windows account: had to restart the entire game.

  7. slerbal says:

    Christ I wish I could just uninstall that Xbox bullshit. I don’t want it and it enrages me that it is uninstallable despite adding nothing I want to Win 10. (Yes I know there are ways to uninstall it using various superusers, but it is clear MS don’t want you too and make it harder and harder plus the damn thing reinstalls with each update…). I will not buy games from the Windows Store. I remember Games for Windows Live and I am well aware of how MS recently cut off anyone who owned Xbox fitness without as much as a by-your-leave. As soon as they lose interest in windows gaming again they will cut everyone off who bought a damn thing.

    • pistolhamster says:

      Open Windows Powershell and enter this command:
      Get-AppxPackage *xboxapp* | Remove-AppxPackage

  8. UttiniDaKilrJawa says:

    Still no fix for the 5.1 surround sound bug.

  9. brucethemoose says:

    I look at Microsoft like I look at a repeat criminal offenders.

    Yeah, they could stay straight… But over the long run, the odds aren’t good. So I’m stepping WAY back until they come out with a killer game that warrants the risk.

    • Emeraude says:

      I look at Microsoft like I look at a repeat criminal offenders.

      That’s what they are.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I look at all corporations in that way, whether they have previous or not.

  10. gng75 says:

    I use the Xbox wireless adapter to connect my Xbox controller to my laptop, running Windows 10 – ever since this update downloaded my controller will not stay connected.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      It appears to be a somewhat common issue. Hopefully they get it fixed.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Aitrus says:

    If this means I can play the next Red Dead game on my PC I will be happy.

    • Andrew says:

      Don’t jinx it! Best game of the last generation! Well, ok, in top thr… five.

  12. tonicer says:

    lol win10 … lol xbox … wtf rps?? i thought this site was cool!

  13. Kaldaien says:

    Doh, so Bluetooth controllers really are a thing. That sucks, WiFi Direct was superior. Glad I have a original Xbox One controller.

  14. frightlever says:

    “I do think it’d be good for Windows to come with a solid games store and hub.”

    Nope. You’d be pretty dumb to put your trust in Microsoft to curate game purchases when their history of subscription services and digital downloads has been a succession of failures and shut-downs.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      That’s why I said, and I quote, “I do think it’d be good for Windows to come with a solid games store and hub.”

      • Urthman says:

        I guess I don’t understand the hypothetical in that sentence. Are you wishing for a Windows operating system created by some other company besides Microsoft? Wishing for Microsoft to somehow transform into a trustworthy company?

  15. yogibbear says:

    I installed Windows 10 last week before the “free” “deadline” expired. So I went ahead and installed Forza 6: Apex. Oh god. It was horrible mess of menus and the driving was good, but the tracks were ugly and the game kept wanting to download shared skins for cars rather than starting with default manufacturers paint and then letting me go find shared skins if I wanted to. It was AWFUL in UI and design decisions. So I honestly have started investigating how to disable the entire Xbox App because that’s how bad my experience with it was. :(