Microsoft's Xbox team should ditch Upload Studio and embrace the Windows Photos app
Now that the Xbox One X supports 4K video, the aging Upload Studio app has become a bit of a burden. It's time for a change.
Upload Studio is the name of the Xbox One's rudimentary video-editing toolset, allowing users to merge and edit clips, as well as overlay text and more. However, it has become painfully out of date. Not only does Upload Studio revolve around using the now-dead Kinect, it doesn't support 4K game footage on the Xbox One X. It's also laggy and difficult to work with. I can't imagine adding 4K footage into the mix would make it any easier, either.
Microsoft's Movies & TV recently app got updated with the new video-editing tools found in Microsoft's Windows 10 Photos app, which are surprisingly good. Perhaps this is where Microsoft should look for game-clip sharing on Xbox Live.
Photos vs. Upload Studio
Using the UWP-based Windows 10 Photos app, you can splice clips together, similarly to Upload Studio. However, it also supports other fun features, such as inking and anchor text, the ability to add music and audio tracks, and slow-motion controls. And it's far easier to use than Upload Studio.
I edited the following clip of Battlefront II in less than a minute. Part of the speed was due to the fact that I was using a mouse on a PC, but therein lies my central point.
The best thing about Upload Studio is that it hooks directly into your Xbox Live game clips. To edit game clips on Windows 10, you have to download the clips first from the Xbox app, search for them, and then edit. Wouldn't it be much easier if Photos simply had a folder specifically for Xbox clips stored in the cloud? Then it could allow for direct editing.
Microsoft has always struggled to curate and create social platforms. Skype is chasing Snapchat and Instagram with a cringeworthy attempt to copy the ephemeral, or disappearing, "Stories" format, which nobody will ever use. Additionally, despite how good the Photos app has become for making quick and fun clips, it still pales in comparison to iMovie (and Clips, and more so Final Cut Pro), which are exclusively available to Apple's macOS, and remain a selling point for those products. I'm not sure many Windows 10 users will ever find and use the Photos app for these sorts of scenarios either, sadly, as sharing fun clips takes place far away from Microsoft's platforms – for the most part.
Xbox Live has over 50 million users, and although Microsoft hasn't really capitalized on its social potential, people share video clips on Xbox Live, despite how painful and clunky the network is to use and how poor the Xbox app is on Windows 10, iOS, and Android.
Mixer.com is also new to the streaming and video sharing scene, under Microsoft. Thousands of hours of game footage are being viewed through Microsoft's fledgling streaming platform, and while it doesn't yet support video clips, there's no reason to think this feature won't arrive in the future. Mixer even has its own dedicated personal-streaming and editing app available for Android and iOS, known as Mixer Create.
Microsoft has the tools to make social video work
The tools and, more importantly, the will to share are there across Xbox Live and Mixer. Microsoft just isn't supporting users very well right now. The teams at Xbox and Windows should work together to transform Mixer, Xbox Live, and the tools found in Photos to create a truly powerful cross-platform video sharing service, that could even plug-in to Skype to shore up its sad "Stories" feature. Someone at Microsoft should take charge of the potential for video sharing game clips and streaming footage. Maybe Microsoft could find itself with a semi-capable social-sharing platform as a result.
The strange spread of social services at Microsoft, from Remix3D, Mixer.com, to Xbox Live, to Skype, and even LinkedIn and the newly-purchased AltSpaceVR, could coalesce into something more meaningful for social and sharing.
Sadly, I think it's more likely that we'll be stuck with a completely incoherent and inconsistent experience. This is Microsoft after all. At the very least, though, I think it's time to sunset Upload Studio, and push those resources toward making Photos the one-stop-shop for editing video on Microsoft's platforms, across Windows and Xbox.
What do you think?