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Microsoft Teases New Xbox Desktop Experience

(Image credit: Julia Zavalishina/Shutterstock)

Microsoft updated the Xbox app for Windows 10 today with a new name, Xbox Console Companion, and a message informing gamers that it will soon become "a dedicated app for your Xbox console's features and settings." The company also said that "a new desktop experience is coming soon!"

For now, the app doesn't appear to have changed, aside from its branding. Microsoft likely pushed the update to prepare for the E3 2019 gaming show starting sunday; its announcements for this year's gaming expo are set for June 9 at 1 p.m. PT. Releasing this update a few days before that event allows Microsoft to try to reach as many people as possible, squash last-minute bugs in the more substantial update and keep the focus on bigger announcements on Sunday.

Changing the Xbox Console Companion's purpose also makes sense in light of Microsoft's recent changes to its gaming lineup. The company announced on May 30 that it's bringing the Xbox Game Pass subscription offering to PC, many Xbox-related social features were recently added to the Game bar and Microsoft updated its Wireless Display app in March with support for game streaming to help bridge the gap between an Xbox and a PC.

All of these changes make it seem like Microsoft is planning to make Xbox a core part of the Windows experience, rather than an afterthought limited to a dedicated app. This is likely part of the company's efforts to prove that Microsoft head of gaming Phil Spencer's claim to PC Gamer in February that "delivering great gaming experience to PC players is critically important to the future of Xbox and gaming at Microsoft" wasn't an empty promise. 

We should learn more about what Microsoft has planned for Xbox's future on Windows during its E3 presentation. The company's also likely to discuss its Project xCloud game streaming platform--which it recently partnered with Sony to work on--as pressure continues to mount from Google Stadia, plus Nvidia's GeForce Now and whatever seemingly every other company ends up calling their take on game streaming. Oh, and hopefully there will be games, too.