Between game streaming on Windows 10 and the recently-introduced Xbox Play Anywhere program, relishing in competitions with friends over the highest Gamerscore no longer requires you to have an Xbox One console within reach. Instead, the Xbox brand is steadily on its way to becoming an expansive platform rather than a single, dedicated gaming device. A small, but significant part of this transformation lies in the ability to stream games remotely from an Xbox One to just about any device sporting Windows 10.
Xbox One and PC in hand, this nifty guide has been designed to show you how to properly configure both pieces of hardware with the intent of streaming games in less stationary locations. Keep in mind, however, that Microsoft only recommends streaming to a device with a 1.5GHz CPU or better and a minimum of 2GB of RAM over a home network connection.
Streaming on a Windows 10 PC
First, you’ll need to make sure that the firmware is up to date on both your Xbox One and the PC you’re streaming to. To do this in Windows 10, click the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen and search “Check for updates” in the text field. Xbox One updates, on the other hand, install automatically. Just make sure you’re connected to the internet and that the OS version in Settings > System > Console info matches Microsoft’s most recent edition.
Enabling game streaming
After installing all necessary updates, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn on your Xbox One and navigate to the Settings app, either by locating it in My games & apps or by pressing Menu on the controller — this is the same button we used to call Start, directly to the left of the “X.” Afterward, select Settings.
In the Settings app, choose Preferences, and make sure there’s a check mark beside Allow game streaming to other devices under the System & App column. This option was enabled by default on our Xbox, so you might not have to do anything at all. That said, it doesn’t hurt to check.
Connecting to your Xbox One
On your PC or tablet, locate the Xbox app by typing “Xbox” into the same Cortana-based search bar you used to find and update your settings. The app will then sign into Xbox Live using the Microsoft account you used on your Windows 10 device.
Pro tip: If you’re having trouble logging into the app, try configuring your PC or tablet’s date and time to adjust automatically. You can find Date and time settings in Control Panel, by searching for them using Cortana, or by clicking the date and time menu located on the right-hand side of the taskbar.
Afterward, make sure the Gamertag in the Xbox app matches that of your Xbox One console and select Connection toward the bottom of the left side panel. You should see an icon that depicts an Xbox One with waves protruding from it. A new screen will then open, prompting you to Add a device. If it lists your Xbox One console, select Connect. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually enter its IP address in the corresponding location.
In the event that this is necessary, your console’s IP address can be found in Settings > Network > Advanced Settings.
Connecting a controller
With your PC or tablet connected to your console, you should see several new options, including Stream and Test streaming. Though it may be tempting to dive head first into the streaming abyss, you’ll want to make sure that you have a controller plugged in to your PC or tablet via USB, or using the wireless controller adapter for Windows 10. Alternatively, gamepads designed for the Xbox One S can be linked to a PC using a Bluetooth connection.
At this point, if you haven’t already, it’s time to connect a micro-USB-to-USB cable between your Xbox One controller and any available port on your Windows 10 PC.
Stream, at long last
Once properly connected, you should be free to select Stream and begin playing Xbox One games on your PC. When streaming, there are a number of options displayed in the toolbar near the top of the screen. On the far right, you can manage your streaming quality, which ranges from Low to Very High. By default, however, it’s set to Medium.
Next to that is a utility that displays Total Bandwidth, along with Last, Average, and Max recorded bandwidth measurements. To the right of that is a Stop streaming option — a button that toggles your mic on and off when pressed — along with an Xbox button which can be used in conjunction with a mouse, or by tapping it with your finger on a touchscreen display.
Streaming to an Oculus Rift
If you weren’t already aware, a trimmed-down version of the Xbox app recently made its way to the Oculus Rift. The application, convolutedly named “Xbox One Streaming to Oculus Rift,” is free in the Oculus Store and allows you to toggle between three different VR environments (“Citadel,” “Retreat,” and “Dome”).
Thankfully, the process for connecting and streaming from your Xbox One console to a Rift headset is the exact same as from an Xbox One to a PC. Just ensure that your Oculus-connected PC and Xbox One are a part of the same home network, and voilà, you’ll playing Gears of War 4 on a massive virtual screen. The instructions for setting up the connection are detailed on the first page.