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 that sports 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.
Also, note that Xbox One streaming does not work like Sony’s Remote Play service for the PlayStation 4. Streaming from an Xbox One console to a Windows 10 device only works if both units are connected to the same network. By contrast, Sony’s Remote Play enables PlayStation 4 owners to stream their games to any Windows-based device in and outside the home network via free Remote Play software. The drawback to Sony’s solution is that if the company’s network is down, Remote Play will be offline as well, even if owners are trying to stream games in-house.
Streaming on a Windows 10 PC
First, make sure your Xbox One and the Windows 10 PC you’re streaming to are up to date. 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. This can also be accomplished by clicking the Start button, clicking the gear icon in the left-hand strip, and clicking Update & security.
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 the 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. Still, it doesn’t hurt to check.
Connecting to your Xbox One
On your PC or tablet, locate the Xbox app by clicking the Start button to access the tile-based Start Menu, which is generally where Microsoft places the app in Windows 10. If it’s not there, type “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 credentials 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 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-hand 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 the 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 connected to your PC or tablet.
You can grab one of your Xbox One controllers and connect it to the Windows 10 PC using a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable. If you want a wireless option, that same Xbox One controller can be used with Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows, which sells for roughly $20 on Amazon. There’s also a few rare systems, like Microsoft’s Surface Studio, which ship with a built-in Xbox Wireless Adapter.
Keep in mind that you aren’t required to specifically use an Xbox One controller — Xbox 360 controllers work just fine with streaming in Windows 10. What’s more, you can head down to Walmart and purchase a wired Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller for a lower price. PDP Rock Candy, PDP Afterglow, Thrustmaster, and PowerA all produce third-party offerings, which cost less than Microsoft’s proprietary gamepads.
Finally, you can take the financial plunge and purchase the new, updated Xbox One controller that arrived alongside the Xbox One S last year. This model can be purchased on Amazon for around $45, though we’re fond of the more expensive Ocean Shadow Special Edition ($60) and the Dawn Shadow Special Edition ($54).
If you do purchase a new Xbox One controller, however, it can connect to your Windows 10 PC using a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable, Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows, or by way of Bluetooth. If your Windows 10 PC doesn’t have Bluetooth, you can get a small adapter that plugs directly into a USB 2.0 port for relatively cheap, such as this Asus model ($13).
At this point, if you haven’t already, it’s time to connect your Xbox One controller to your Windows 10 PC and start the streaming process.