Windows 11’s 2022 update has just arrived and includes some neat features for gamers, including a controller bar along with various tweaks to usher in graphical improvements.
Let’s start with the Controller Bar, which is a new controller-friendly view for the Xbox Game Bar. Those who play with a controller can bring it up with a single tap — a press of the Xbox button for those using a Microsoft gamepad — and it provides a compact bar that lets you easily use the controller to access to your most recently used games (or launchers) ).
On the visuals boosting front, a big step is the addition of a new HDR calibration app for the Windows 11 2022 update, which, as you might guess, is for those with an HDR display. The tool allows for better color accuracy adjustment and ensures bright areas aren’t blown out (and similarly black levels are accurate for dark areas in your games).
Additional good news for those with an HDR-capable display is that Auto HDR, which is the feature that increases the brightness and color range to simulate HDR for games that don’t actually support it, is now available across more games.
This upgrade also gives Windows 11 improved DirectStorage support over a wider range of drive configurations (with RAID 0 now supported).
Finally, for those who run games in a window rather than full screen, windowing has been greatly improved. Microsoft has brought Auto HDR and variable refresh rate (VRR) support to windowed games (they were only good for full-screen use previously). DX10 and DX11 games are also set to get “dramatically improved” display lag when running in windowed mode with the 2022 update.
Analysis: Some handy upgrades, especially for those with HDR displays
While there’s nothing game-changing here, there are some solid, if more minor, upgrades that will improve quality of life in a number of scenarios.
It’s great to see Auto HDR support being expanded – we’ve got a guide on how to enable this feature right here, by the way – and the HDR calibration tool is a useful boon too. Those with an HDR display are definitely getting some love from Microsoft here, and as mentioned, so are people running games in a window. Not many people do, it’s true, but still, there are use cases for windowed gaming, and promises of dramatic display latency boosts sound like very good news in terms of smooth gameplay.
The controller bar is something we welcomed when it appeared in preview back in May of this year, when it was still quite buggy. So hopefully these bugs have all been ironed out, but as we know from past experience, it’s not unusual for issues to arise when a new upgrade arrives – especially a major feature update like this. Fingers crossed that any issues are minor in nature, whether they’re game-related or appear elsewhere in the Windows 11 2022 update.