Xbox Is Trying To Make It Easy To Know Which Games You Can Play

Scrolling through your Xbox game library, it can be hard to tell which games you can actually play at the moment – maybe you downloaded something from Game Pass but are no longer on the service, or your friend came to play a game and took the disc that was at home with them. Microsoft is currently testing a solution to this problem, with badges warning that a game can’t be released, according to Xbox engineering lead Eden Marie.

Inside a twitter topic, Marie explains that the feature adds two badges to the screens where you see the games, such as the home screen or the game library. If you can’t play a game due to licensing issues – say it’s been pulled from Game Pass or you’re not signed in to the Xbox Live account associated with the game – you’ll see an exclamation point on its thumbnail. If you need to insert a disc before playing, it will show an icon with a crossed out disc. The test is currently for people in the Xbox Alpha & Alpha Skip-Ahead Insider groups, which Microsoft says are generally “invitation-only”.

It sounds like a useful feature, letting you know at a glance which games in your library you can actually play, helping you to avoid the situation where you see a game in your library and get excited to play it, only to receive one (potentially less -than-helpful) error message.

When asked if testing would make these error messages clearer or if the system would respond to something like an Xbox Live outage that temporarily makes games inaccessible, Marie said the team will “continue to try to improve the error messages that appear when a game fails to launch to be more specific and clear.” She continued, saying that “some new error types are included in this test, but others (such as recognizing exactly that a game has left Game Pass) will require more work in upcoming releases.”

What it means to “own a game” has gotten a little more complicated in recent years, so it’s good to see that console makers are starting to sort out some of the confusion gamers may face. While it’s nice to see things like buttons that let you easily remove content you can no longer play from your library, as a commentator suggestedsaid Maria in a follow-up tweet that there will be other improvements in the future and that the icons being tested are a “necessary first step”.

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