Windows 10 Game Bar Adds Looking for Group Tool

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A new version of the Game bar available to Xbox Insider Program members attempts to solve a problem as old as online gaming: the masses of trolls, throwers and terrible players. If the company is successful, this could make other additions to Game bar seem like nothing in comparison.

As reported by Windows Central, this version of the Game bar offers a new Looking for Group tool that does, well, exactly what it sounds like. Players can set up new groups with specific requirements for their players, find groups whose criteria they meet and chat with other group members before joining them in-game. It’s like online dating, but for people who just want to enjoy a few matches without having to deal with toxic players.

The appeal of the new Looking for Group tool is probably apparent to anyone who plays games online. Developers can account for hard facts with their matchmaking system, like someone’s preferred role or their placement in the ranking system, but things like “he screamed into the mic all game,” and “she used every racial slur I’d ever heard as well as a few that I hadn’t” are harder to track.

This problem isn’t unique to any particular title, so it’s nice to have a nearly game-agnostic platform to find people to play with. (The feature doesn’t yet support every title, but that could change as it develops, since it’s mostly a matter of indexing.) Why settle for a Looking for Group tool in just one game when it can be used for pretty much every game played online?

Game bar is well suited for this task because it can be accessed from any game by pressing Win + G. That way, there’s no need to Alt-Tab from a game to check various platforms devoted to finding decent people to play with. Unless, of course, the Looking for Group tool in Game bar doesn’t become popular enough with the right people.

That’s probably the biggest obstacle to this feature’s success. If it’s not popular there will be little reason to use it. If it’s popular but there are a bunch of jerks, screening them before hopping into a game could be too much hassle. It needs to be popular, easy to use and far more likely to group people with similarly minded players than the jerks they’re trying to avoid.

Xbox Insider Program members can get the version of Game bar with Looking for Group support via the Microsoft Store. Windows Central reported that it has a few bugs—the most frustrating of which being that the scroll wheel doesn’t work—but finding them is exactly what the program is for.

Here's to hoping the feature makes an official debut soon, because it'd be nice to have a significantly lower chance of having to play with unpleasant strangers.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.