With bigger worlds and incredible experiences to explore, there’s never been a better time to play video games. And that goes double for PC gamers, who now enjoy unprecedented access to previously exclusive console titles.
One big reason is Microsoft’s push to make it seamless for people to play Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S games on PC. Many Xbox One games, including Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, are massively popular, too, with healthy multiplayer communities keeping them active.
And with the release of Windows 11, there are even more ways to play Xbox One games on PC. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to play your Xbox games on PC, from streaming to natively running them off your rig.
1. Download Xbox Play Anywhere games directly to your PC
The first method of playing Xbox One games on Windows 11 is the most straightforward, but it’s also the most limiting. You can only play certain titles through the Xbox Play Anywhere system – but it includes most major newer releases. For example, it features both Gears 5 and Back 4 Blood.
To access Xbox Play Anywhere, follow these steps:
- Visit the Xbox Play Anywhere website
- Log into your Microsoft account
- Install games with the Xbox Play Anywhere digital game license directly to your PC
- Once you download the game, you can launch it directly from the Microsoft Store
Now just make sure your Xbox One controller (or third-party peripheral) is connected and you’re ready to play.
2. Sign up for Xbox Game Pass for PC or Game Pass Ultimate
One of the biggest boons of the current gaming landscape is Xbox Game Pass. The service costs either $15 per month for its Ultimate unlimited version, which allows you to play on both Xbox and PC, or $10 per month for PC-only access. And there are hundreds of titles available.
Just like Netflix, Microsoft frequently adds and removes games from the service, except for first-party titles like the Halo, Forza, and Gears series. However, we recommend that you keep track of what’s coming and going so you can play what you want before it leaves.
If you join Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll gain access to most, if not all, Xbox Play Anywhere titles. You can even switch between your PC and Xbox to share your progress between the two machines. An Ultimate account includes an Xbox Live Gold membership, too, which you need to play most multiplayer Xbox games online on an Xbox console.
Play cloud-enabled games with Xbox Cloud Gaming
One of the biggest perks of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is Xbox Cloud Gaming (sometimes referred to as Project xCloud). This service allows you to play certain Game Pass titles directly through the Cloud Gaming app. It’s a great way to save space on your hard drive or to continue playing a game while someone uses the PC.
To set up Xbox Cloud Gaming, you need to log in to your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate account. You can then access any cloud-compatible Game Pass title through the Xbox companion app and stream it to your PC.
As long as you have a solid internet connection, this eliminates the need for a gaming PC. You can play the game directly on your PC without worrying about the graphics requirements from a direct installation.
You can also enjoy this service on tablets and mobile devices if, again, you have a stable internet connection.
3. Use Xbox Remote Play to stream directly from Xbox console
What if the game you want to play isn’t on Game Pass or Xbox Play Anywhere? In this case, your only option is to stream the game directly from your Xbox console with Xbox Remote Play.
This is the most complex way to play Xbox on a laptop or PC. But it also gives you the most options and works with all Windows computers.
Here’s how to turn on Xbox Remote Play:
- Turn on your Xbox One (or Series X|S) and go to Settings
- Select Devices & Connections
- Select Remote Features
- Check the box to Enable remote features
Test your remote play setup
After you enable Xbox Remote Play, select the Test Remote Play option. When you run this diagnostic test, you’ll find out if there are any connection issues with your Xbox One console. If there are, you may want to consider a hard-wired internet connection.
Connect to your Xbox
- After you run Test Remote Play, open the Xbox app that’s built directly into Windows 11
- Select the Connection option
- Turn on your Xbox One
- Click on the Stream button to select and play any game you own on the Xbox One
- Start streaming
What if I have streaming issues?
If you experience latency issues, you may want to lower the stream’s video quality. This will lower the resolution and allow you to hit a consistent frame rate.
1. Open the Xbox app
2. Select the Xbox One tab
3. Adjust the Video Encoding Level, which should have several settings to choose from based on your internet connection.
- 2.4 GHz wireless network: Try using the Low settings.
- 5 GHz wireless network: Try Medium or High settings (depending on the signal strength).
- Ethernet connection: You should be able to stream on Very High settings. This will run the games at the intended 1080p resolution and maintain the frame rate.
Best PCs for playing Xbox One games on PC
While there are various ways to play Xbox One games on your computer, you do need a PC with the specs to enjoy your games as intended. If you choose to play via Xbox Play Anywhere, for example, you will need to download the game to your hard-drive in order to play it. In this case, your PC must be powerful enough to run the game.
However, if you use either Xbox Cloud Gaming or Xbox Remote Play, your PC does not need the latest graphics card or processor. This is because you’re simply streaming games and not directly downloading them.
Here are several great options from HP to play your favorite Xbox One games directly or via streaming.
1. HP OMEN 30L desktop PC
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The HP OMEN line is the gold standard when it comes to gaming PCs, and the HP OMEN 30L desktop is no exception. It boasts a powerful NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 Super™ graphics card and an upgradeable Intel® Core™ i5-10600K processor with liquid cooling.
In addition to all your favorite Xbox games, you should have no issues running the latest titles on this machine, too.
2. HP Pavilion 15t laptop
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When you can stream games through Xbox Cloud Gaming and Xbox Remote Play, you don't need a hard core gaming PC to play your favorite Xbox games. The 15-inch HP Pavilion laptop is more than capable of streaming, and it’s perfect for budget-minded gamers who need a computer for work or school, too.
It’s an excellent, compact laptop with a large screen-to-body ratio and an upgradable 15.6-inch diagonal Full High Definition (FHD), IPS, and anti-glare display. This is a great setup for streaming games and other media, including your favorite TV series.
3. HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop - 15t-eb100 touch
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If you want something a little different to play your games, the 15-inch HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop is for you.
Thanks to its strong hinge, you can use it as a laptop in clamshell mode, and then flip it into tablet mode to play or stream.
The 15.6-inch diagonal 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) AMOLED laptop screen will make sure your games look better than ever. Plus, you get a combination of built-in Intel WiFi 6 AX 201 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5, which supports Gigabit file transfer speeds over wireless connections. This will help to nip any latency issues in the bud when streaming your favorite titles.
Luckily for gamers of all types and budgets, there are several ways to play and stream your Xbox One games to your PC. If you have the right components for gaming, you can just download games through Game Pass or Xbox Play Anywhere and play them directly on your PC.
If your computer isn’t built for gaming, don’t sweat it. Thanks to remote and cloud options, you can easily access game titles through Xbox Cloud Gaming or Xbox Remote Play.
These options vary in terms of technical know-how, but they’re all streamlined to ensure you can explore new worlds, play with your friends, and earn new achievements in no time. Use your AAA discount to save up to 35% on select HP products online at AAA.com/hp.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.