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Microsoft is updating its PC gaming store to make Xbox Game Pass easier to use

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Faster downloads, better mod support, and other changes are on the way

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a graphic of a xbox logo with master chief Image: Microsoft

A handful of new features are coming to the Xbox app on PC, making it much friendlier for playing Xbox and Xbox Game Pass games.

As of Thursday, Xbox Insiders get to test out a grab bag of features on PC, including Xbox Cloud Gaming and, for the first time, modding. In addition, the app will also unroll more general improvements: the ability to choose separate drives for game installation, and improvements for download speed, to name a couple. The update is already live for Xbox Insiders to test, and will roll out to the rest of users at a later date.

Jason Beaumont, partner director of experiences at Xbox, shared the new features via a November update from the official Xbox channel Thursday.

The move is part of a larger push to support Xbox gaming for Windows PC users. In June, Microsoft said that Xbox Game Pass would be included as a part of the Windows 11 operating system. However, just because people could play Xbox Game Pass games on their desktop didn't mean that it was completely optimized yet. These changes are a key step toward improving the experience.

The update also gives players access to local files, which means they may now mod Xbox Game Pass games on their PC. Games that are moddable will say so in their game details page.

There are some other additions, like a toggle for using high-dynamic range color (HDR) with older games, as well as a new section for cloud gaming — which gives Windows PC users the ability to play console games — when the app is updated.

The upgrades are currently being beta tested by the Xbox Insider program. Those who are interested in getting access to the new features can sign up for the program and give them a try.