Microsoft is giving PC gamers another reason to use the Widgets panel in Windows 11: a new Game Pass widget. But that’s not all, as the company is also testing more extensive Game Pass family plan options in select countries.
Windows 11 widgets have been somewhat controversial. Essentially, it’s a small collection of news and information that you can use to keep up with world events, or they might just be wasted space that you’ll want to delete. However, Microsoft would open widgets to third-party developers.
But Microsoft realizes that its superb Game Pass Ultimate subscription (which you can get “for free” or by running the system) has an inherent problem: you never really know what’s available, what’s not, what comes in and what leaves the subscription. That’s where the Game Pass widget comes in. You can add it to your existing list of widgets and not miss a thing.
The problem? It’s only available to Windows Insider Preview testers at this time, specifically as part of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25174 in the Dev Channel. If it’s anything like Microsoft’s other additions, expect to see it sneak into Windows 11’s stable channel for mainstream users soon.
Mark Hachman / IDG
To add the Game Pass widget, Dev Channel users can open the Widgets table in the left corner of your screen. Click on the “+” icon next to your user profile, then scroll down to the Game Pass widget and also add the “+” icon. You should now see the Game Pass icon in the Widgets table.
[ Further reading: Best cloud gaming services: GeForce Now vs. Xbox Game Pass vs. Google Stadia and others ]
A Game Pass Ultimate Family subscription awaits in the wings
It might not just be you who should add the Game Pass subscription either. Microsoft said Thursday it was testing a new shareable Game Pass Ultimate subscription — the family plan that some hoped Microsoft would add. Under the new subscription, players could share their Game Pass Ultimate subscription with four other people. Unfortunately, Microsoft is currently limiting the trial to Colombia and Ireland.
Microsoft also doesn’t say exactly how much the subscription will cost, although “a full month of Ultimate will convert to 18 days of membership for this plan,” Microsoft said. However, those with whom you share the subscription will not be able to convert their subscription to a family plan, however.
In any event, the two additions to Microsoft’s Game Pass plan certainly continue Microsoft’s trend of expanding Game Pass and its subscription model. Microsoft wants you to consider subscribing to Game Pass alongside Spotify, Netflix, and other services, and this is a convenient way to do that.