I’m an Xbox Sport Cross evangelist. I’ve been a subscriber for years, and I’ve really helpful it to the purpose of annoyance to lots of my console and PC gaming pals. Microsoft rebranded the PC model at The Sport Awards. I’m nonetheless a fan, however the points with PC Sport Cross go far past the title.
The Xbox app on Home windows 11 and Home windows 10 has constantly been a difficulty since PC Sport Cross launched in 2019. And now that Microsoft needs the PC model to take a seat on the identical stage because the console one, it’s time to begin addressing the issue.
Xbox Sport Cross for PC, meet PC Sport Cross
First, the background. Xbox Sport Cross for PC is now PC Sport Cross, which Microsoft revealed by means of a tongue-in-cheek trailer at The Sport Awards. It’s about how everybody associates Sport Cross with consoles and ignores the PC portion.
That’s true. Sport Cross is now synonymous with Xbox. Though Microsoft affords PC Sport Cross alone, most individuals are getting it by means of a Sport Cross Final subscription (which incorporates the console and PC variations, in addition to Xbox Reside). I’ve had just a few pals this yr get into PC gaming, completely unaware that they might entry a whole lot of video games for a couple of dollars every month.
It’s sufficient of a difficulty, at the very least, that Microsoft determined to make a trailer about it for The Sport Awards. I’ve used PC Sport Cross because it launched, and I can let you know that the title isn’t — and by no means was — the issue.
The issue is the Xbox app
The issue with PC Sport Cross is the Xbox app. I’ve used PC Sport Cross because it launched two years in the past, and the Xbox app has at all times been probably the most constant ache level. It’s liable to bugs, horribly disorganized, and lacking important options that make platforms like Steam tick.
Disorganization is the silent killer. The filters thatsearch by means of Sport Cross’ huge library don’t work. I like to modify between my Xbox and my PC, so I’ve grown connected to Xbox’s Play Wherever video games (which allow you to switch progress between the 2 methods). Solely a fraction of the Play Wherever video games present up with the filter, despite the fact that chunk of the library helps Play Wherever.
Microsoft makes use of tags to notice the capabilities of every sport, however they don’t filter these video games within the outcomes. A whole lot of the tags don’t make sense, both. For instance, you may filter by “60fps+” capabilities, however you’ll solely discover 5 video games. Why is that this a filter on a PC? And extra importantly, why does it solely embrace 5 video games?
These points are only a small pattern of the bigger high quality of life issues plaguing the Xbox app. You’ll be able to’t see your playtime or manage your put in video games into teams. And you’ll’t transfer your set up folder or see what the newest patches are in your video games. The tagging system would assistance on the standard of life entrance, however not when half of the library is mismarked (together with some first-party Microsoft titles!)
The bugs and updates are what kill the Xbox app for me, although. Right here’s a small sampling of the bugs I’ve encountered throughout variations:
- Getting caught on the splash display screen.
- My library not exhibiting any video games (that is taking place as I’m typing this text).
- Obtain and Replace buttons doing nothing.
- No choice to replace a sport when it’s out there, which breaks multiplayer in some video games.
- Field artwork refusing to load.
- Preloaded video games caught on the preload display screen after they’ve launched.
- Inexplicably hogging huge quantities of system sources.
Bugs occur, and I used to be at all times capable of clear up the issues above by quitting and reopening the app. However they’re too persistent to not handle, particularly contemplating that it’s important to obtain an replace each time Microsoft proclaims a brand new batch of titles (which, sure, is one other large downside with the Xbox app).
Name PC Sport Cross no matter you need — I don’t care. However Microsoft can’t act just like the title is the issue right here. PC Sport Cross is a superb service, providing simply nearly as good of a price as its console counterpart. Perhaps Microsoft would see larger adoption if the Xbox app was a vacation spot like Steam, not one other half-baked PC gaming app that locks video games behind software program that gamers begrudgingly use. PC players have loads of these.
What PC Sport Cross is doing proper
I don’t need to disparage Microsoft. Over the previous two years, I’ve seen PC Sport Cross develop from an additional perk on Sport Cross Final subscriptions to a platform worthy of its personal subscription. It’s incredible, and I need to see Microsoft proceed constructing on what it’s already doing proper.
Most video games used to solely come to the console model, however now it’s uncommon to discover a Sport Cross title that isn’t on PC as effectively. EA Play is a superb addition, too, permitting you to play an enormous record of EA video games on PC with no separate subscription (although with out achievements, which can be the case with EA video games on Steam).
Microsoft has clearly centered on increasing Play Wherever, too. Halo Infinite, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon are just a few latest examples of video games I’ve performed throughout console and PC by means of Play Wherever. It is a nice program, and it demonstrates that Microsoft is aware of what lovers with each a console and PC need.
Points with bugs, disorganization, and high quality of life points gained’t go away tomorrow. And proper now, some video games are nonetheless unique to console, plus there’s a protracted record of titles that don’t assist Play Wherever. The distinction is that Microsoft is consistently bettering on the sport entrance.
For nearly three years, I’ve seen the identical bugs and points repeatedly. I’m not asking Microsoft to repair the Xbox app tomorrow, simply to place a foot ahead to ship new options, repair long-standing points, and make the app really feel extra like a vacation spot for PC gaming. That may do extra for the service than a rebrand.