Microsoft has been doubling down on PC gaming recently — adding a PC-specific arm of Game Pass, updating to DirectX 12, and adding DirectStorage from the Xbox to Windows 11. Today, the company detailed new gaming features for the Edge Browser and also highlighted upcoming features for Windows 11 currently in preview.
The desktop version of Microsoft Edge might not be where the most hardcore PC gamers do the majority of their gaming, but some of the features seem pretty nifty. Perhaps most important to those playing on Steam or the Epic Games Store is a new Efficiency Mode, which will automatically lessen the resources the browser is using. I can see this being particularly useful for those who want to keep a browser window open for checking a walkthrough, but who aren’t actively using the browser.
For players streaming games from the cloud to Edge, there’s Clarity Boost, a feature designed to make your game look sharper and clearer. We're told that it's based in spatial upscaling, using client-side scaling to improve video stream quality.
Less important is a gaming-focused new tab page, which you can fill up with game news, guides, tournaments, and quick access to game streaming. There's also a Games menu with access to casual free-to-play games such as Atari Asteroids, Microsoft Solitaire, and Microsoft Jewel — though I'm of the opinion that this may bloat the browser for those who don't use them. (Then again, I played the Chrome T-Rex game many times when that was my main browser, so maybe there's a market for it.)
These new gaming-focused Edge features come alongside several gaming features Microsoft is testing in Windows 11 Insider builds. Those include new optimizations for games in windowed mode, an upcoming HDR calibration app (opens in new tab), and a Controller Bar — like Game Bar — with shortcuts to access cloud gaming and jump to your favorite launchers without needing to use a keyboard and mouse. A new Game Pass Widget is designed to let gamers explore the Xbox catalog in a similar fashion with a mouse and keyboard.