PC gamers have been able to play Xbox games released on the platform for some time now, and the new update for Xbox on PC provides even more control of their games.
An upcoming update will give players the ability to decide where to install their games, potentially saving PC gamers a lot of hard drive space — especially those who prefer to put their hefty installations on dedicated hard drives. Additionally, players will now be able to mod their Xbox on PC titles.
With the launch of the Xbox One, many formerly Xbox-exclusive titles like the Halo and the Gears of War franchises have become available to PC gamers. With services like Xbox Game Pass, PC owners are able to enjoy many newly released titles and a massive library of older games for a fraction of the sum it would cost to buy them separately.
As more first-party Microsoft games become available on the PC, the new update will allow players to control how and where they access their games on Windows. The upcoming update to the Xbox app will make the platform more Steam-like, and allow PC gamers to have access to folders and modify them freely.
The Verge reported on Friday that sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans told the publication that the changes are part of an update that is currently being tested internally.
Previously, players who bought highly moddable games like Fallout: New Vegas and Skyrim would have to jump through tremendous hoops to make any sort of alterations to the titles. It was much easier to simply buy the games off Steam or GOG, which sells DRM-free games, if you intended to mod them.
The issue has remained a sticking point for Microsoft’s PC game store, which has struggled to gain adopters despite its low prices.
As The Verge details:
The Microsoft Store has traditionally restricted access to where games are installed using Windows-based folder permissions that make it difficult to backup games or move them freely. This is a headache if you ever need to reinstall Windows and you install games to a secondary drive, or if you uninstall a game installed from the Microsoft Store and it still uses up disk space.
Other PC game launchers like Steam or Battle.net allow players to backup games and restore and verify them. Microsoft’s new Xbox app update includes an option to verify and repair files, which will presumably be used to support backing up games. There are also new options to browse to where files are installed, change the drive where games are installed, and pick custom folders for installs.
“With great PC games like Back 4 Blood, Age of Empires IV, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite on day one with Game Pass, we wanted to provide players with more options to customize their experience in the Xbox app,” said Jason Beaumont, partner director of experiences at Xbox to the publication. “We’ll continue to share updates as we launch additional features.”
Following the publication of The Verges’ report, Microsoft released a video going over the changes. The company announced that Xbox Insiders will soon be able to test out a new version of the Xbox app on the PC with the new features.