Microsoft is still plugging away at Windows 10 features, and they haven't forgotten about their gaming audience in the process. This morning they announced an update coming early next year that will boast a trio of new features targeted specifically at folks who enjoy playing on Xbox Live.

In New York this morning, Microsoft reps pulled back the curtain on some new features for Windows 10 known as the "Creators Update." It'll arrive in early 2017 with, as the name implies, features that will let folks create and share content in new ways. Also included in that update are some tweaks especially for gamers, intended to offer "more ways to connect, compete and play together" than ever before through Xbox Live. Microsoft has been pretty serious about making their gaming presence more focused on PC, and these three updates seem to be the results of that effort.

First up is Beam Integration on both the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Similar to Live from PlayStation, Beam will allow folks on either Microsoft platform to stream and interact with streamers more easily than ever. In other words, if you want to watch folks play Horde Mode in Gears of War 4 or show the world how terrible you are at Killer Instinct, Beam will let you do that directly from your platform of choice without needing to use a third-party streaming service or hook up any additional equipment. I never got into watching game streams until PlayStation made it so easy with their Live broadcast feature, so it's great to see that type of functionality becoming more robust on Xbox and Windows 10, too.

The next feature is something we've already heard about for the Xbox One, but now it will have integrated functionality on Windows, too. Arena on Xbox Live is basically a new and easy way to create, play in and earn notoriety from online tournaments. From Call of Duty to SMITE, Overwatch to Forza, players will be able to compete more freely and under one roof, right there on your console or PC.

Finally, there's Bitstream audio pass-through for Xbox One, which will be bringing Dolby Atmos support to Microsoft platforms with the Blu-ray player. I'm not an audiophile, but I'm sure that news is fantastic for those of you who are.

Again, none of these updates are planned to go live until sometime in early 2017, so don't expect to rush home and get to enjoying new functionality on your PC just yet. Still, it's nice to see Microsoft making good on their plans to beef up the Xbox/PC connection, and it's features like these that could help bridge the gap completely. Let us know what you'd like to see next in the comments below.

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