Originally, Microsoft’s Xbox One console would have allowed users to loan out parts of their library to friends and family. That original plan didn’t pan out, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way for you to still share your Xbox One games with your friends and family.
Sharing games with friends is a time-honored ritual. In an age where you want to be able to talk to your friends and family about a hot new release, simply loaning them your copy has turned into an easy way for the family to experience a new game on the cheap.
Microsoft hasn’t yet announced a new specific feature that allows users to share their games. That being said, last year it did reveal a little talked about feature called Xbox Live Home Gold.
Xbox Live Home Gold is all about enabling you to take your games with you anywhere. With Home Gold, users are able to assign a specific Xbox One console as their “Home console.” Even when users log out of their home console others are able to access Xbox Live and play their titles with no problem. Additionally, they can take advantage of their Xbox Live subscription too. There’s a tiny little detail in Microsoft’s explanation of Xbox Live Home Gold that pretty great. Even when someone is logged into the home console and playing a user’s games, that user can still go to another Xbox One, login and enjoy their titles and online multiplayer.
Before we show you how to assign a specific Xbox Live console, it is absolutely important that you understand the risks involved in sharing Xbox One games with friends using this method.
Unless you’re sitting in front of their console, you’ll need to supply them with the username and password for your Microsoft Account. That’s the same username and password that’s attached to your credit card information if you’ve added it to any Microsoft service. Additionally, it’s used on Microsoft’s Outlook.com email service. If you’re not inclined to trust your friend with this information, it’s a good idea to enter the information into their Xbox One yourself. Even giving your passwords to someone you think you can trust is a bad idea. You will be able to lock down your account so that they don’t have access to your sensitive information.
Second, you can only assign a single Xbox One as your Home Console. Because of this, setting the Xbox One at your friend’s house as your home console means any other Xbox Live accounts on your console will instantly lose Xbox Live Home Gold benefits. If your kids or significant other uses your Xbox One and a separate Microsoft Account to access Xbox Live and your games, setting someone else’s Xbox One as your home console will take away their privileges. Thankfully, you can change your home console back to your own at any time and reclaim those game sharing privileges for your own household.
Pick up your controller and turn on your Xbox One by pressing the white Xbox logo at the top. If you have a Kinect 2 sensor and have configured your Xbox One properly you can also say “Xbox, On.”
Now, you’ll need to sign in with the Microsoft Account username and password attached to Xbox Live. Pick up the controller and use the left joystick to highlight the green icon with a small white person in it on the top-left corner of your screen. Press the A button to open the Who are you? Area.
Use the left joystick on your controller to browse down to the bottom of your screen and select Add New.
Use the joystick, the A button and the on-screen keyboard to enter your Microsoft Account email address.
Now enter your password.
Select Next to get past the Privacy Statement for Xbox Live.
Now the next step is very, very important. You want to give your friends access to your games, but you don’t want them to be able to purchase more games on your account or change your settings. Instead of selecting the Make it fast, Make it Magic option, choose Lock it Down.
That’s it, the console should now drop you back to the Home Screen.
Use the Xbox One controller’s joystick and A button to go into My games & apps or simply say My Games & Apps if the Xbox One you’re using has a Kinect 2 sensor.
Users the controller to select Apps from the menu on the left side of your screen. Then scroll over to the right with the joystick and select Settings from the list of apps installed on your console.
Welcome to the Settings app. Use the joystick and controller to select My Home Xbox. It’s the option in the bottom left corner of your screen. You may be required to re-enter your password.
Select the Make this my home Xbox button on the right of your screen.
Select Make this my home Xbox again from the pop-up menu.
Now they’re all set, anyone logged in on that console will be able to play your games anytime they want. They’ll also be able to do so while not having access to any of your settings or files. At worse, they’ll be able to see your email address.
When you go home, you’ll still be able to sign in with Xbox Live account and do all the same things you could before.
To be clear, this Xbox Live Home Gold requires that users purchase digital versions of games if they want to share them in this manner. You’ll still have to pass around the disc for any game you purchased from GameStop or other retail outlets.