Skylis Tries: Game Bar

Recently I’ve been producing tutorial videos on our digital resources collection. Essential to shooting these videos is a good screen recording program. There are an abundance of programs for both Mac and Windows operating systems out there, but I wanted to start with something basic.

Windows 10 comes with one built-in app that allows users to record their screen: Xbox Game Bar. Xbox is a video game brand owned by Microsoft, and with Windows 10, it appears they included this app aimed at computer gamers for the purpose of recording gameplay.

After exploring, making several recordings, and seeing how the results held up against what I needed to accomplish, I put together a list of design pros and cons for Xbox Game Bar:


  • simple interface for new users

  • simple, limited settings that won’t overwhelm with options and complicated names

  • built into Windows 10 (i.e. free for Windows 10 users)

  • can turn on/off microphone

  • can turn on/off sound from system and its applications (browsers, media players, etc.)

  • customizable keyboard shortcuts for several recording processes and features

  • recordings are saved directly to the computer; you keep your video, no host website required


  • turning off audio in Game Bar turns it off for the whole computer; you can’t listen to audio without including it in the recording

  • only captures the whole screen; no settings to record part of the screen. This reduces privacy and requires more advanced production editing to crop the recording later

  • cursor cannot be modified with app to be more visible during recording

  • invasive smart-naming feature reads text from the first frame/window to name the file

  • no pause feature during recording, only full stop

  • can only end a recording by clicking stop with the mouse; no keyboard shortcut

The limited settings for the video component as well as the shooting process make it clear this app wasn’t developed for much other than fullscreen gameplay recordings, but I gave it a shot. You’ll see the final cut (edited using Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 16) in my upcoming tutorial on accessing our Boston Globe database from ProQuest.

The verdict: this app is handy and can work in a pinch for simple recordings. It’s best suited for videos focused on the content of a window. However, those seeking more polished recordings that require less editing during production and highlight actions taking place in windows should try some of the other options out there.