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How to play Xbox One games on your Windows 10 PC

Halo on the PC? Here's how to do it, with Game Streaming in Windows 10

Update 9:08 AM 08/18/2015: Changed article to reflect inclusion of the new Very High quality setting. 

Earlier this year, Microsoft confirmed that no longer would Xbox owners be tied to a console in order to relish in competitions with friends over the highest Gamerscore.

Instead, the Xbox brand is steadily on its way to becoming a 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 any device sporting Windows 10, such as a laptop or a tablet.

Related: Windows 10 just might save the Xbox One

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. That’s right, with the feature having recently slipped out of beta, anyone with an Xbox One and a device running Windows 10 can make use of it, not just Windows Insider members.

Installing updates

First off, you’ll need to make sure both devices are updated. To do this on a Windows 10 PC or tablet, click the Start button at the lower left-hand corner of the screen and search Check for updates. Xbox One updates, on the other hand, install automatically. So just make sure you’re connected to the Internet and that the OS version in Settings System > Console info matches the most recent edition from Microsoft.

Enabling game streaming

With the updates out of the way, 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 the Menu button on the controller (the tiny circular button on the right with the three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other; yeah, the one we used to call the start button) and selecting 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 my Xbox, so you might not have to do anything at all, but it doesn’t hurt to check just to be safe.

Connecting to Xbox One

On your PC or tablet, locate the Xbox app by typing Xbox into the same Cortana-based address bar you used to find the update settings. The app will log you in to Xbox Live based on the Microsoft account used on your Windows 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 item on the far right side of the taskbar.

Make sure the Gamertag on the Xbox app matches up with that of your Xbox One console, then select Connect towards the bottom of the left side panel. You should see the icon shown to the right.

A new window will open, prompting you to Add a device. If your Xbox One console is listed, click 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 now be presented with several new options, Stream and Test streaming included. Though it may be tempting to dive nose-first into the spectacular abyss, you’ll want to make sure that you have a controller plugged in to your PC or tablet via USB.

At this point, if you haven’t already, connect a micro-USB to USB cable from an Xbox One controller to a USB port on your PC or tablet. If your device doesn’t have a USB port, you may want to consider purchasing an adapter.

Streaming, at long last

Otherwise, you’re free to select Stream to begin streaming. When streaming, you’re faced with a number of options on the toolbar near the top of the screen. On the far right, you can manage the streaming quality, which ranges from Low to Very High, and by default is set to Medium.

Next to that is a utility that displays Total Bandwidth, along with LastAverage, and Max recorded bandwidth measurements. To the right of that is a Stop streaming option, a button that when pressed toggles your mic on/off, and an Xbox button which can be used in conjunction with a mouse, or by tapping it with your finger on a touchscreen display.

Ways to reduce performance issues

When I initially attempted streaming, I ran into ample performance issues, preventing game streaming from taking place for more than a few minutes. Thankfully, for me, switching to a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network did the trick. But, if that doesn’t work, there are a few other methods to take a crack at as well.

Note that when switching from a 2.4GHz network to a 5 GHz network, Microsoft suggests disconnecting all devices, other than the Xbox One and Windows 10 device, from the 5GHz network.

Otherwise, a more obvious solution might be to move the Xbox One, PC, or tablet closer to the wireless router for a more pronounced wireless connection. This will mitigate performance issues some, but if they still persist, you may want to consider switching to a wired Ethernet connection.

Related: How to optimize your network for smoother streaming video

If that’s not possible due to the location of your home networking device being too far away from your console, a set of powerline network adapters may be necessary. These would enable you to use your home’s electrical wiring as a high-speed wired network. Another option is Multimedia over Coax (MoCA), a type of adapter which allows you to use your home’s coaxial cable wiring, similarly, as a high-speed wired network.

Microsoft lists a variety of additional options on its support website for performance improvement during game streaming, so in case the aforementioned suggestions didn’t alleviate performance issues, you may want to check there.

If you have any further questions concerning Xbox One to Windows 10 game streaming, as always, leave all inquiries in the comments section below, and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.