Originally, Microsoft’s Xbox One console would have allowed users to loan out parts of their library to friends and family. That plan didn’t work out; Microsoft was forced to go a different direction when fans made it clear they wouldn’t support a video game console that required them to be constantly connected to the internet. That change in plans doesn’t mean there isn’t a way for you to still share 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 everyone to experience a new title on the cheap.
Microsoft hasn’t yet announced a specific feature that allows users to share their games. That being said, it did reveal a little talked about feature called Xbox Live Home Gold shortly before release.
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 Begin
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. Really, there isn’t a single thing in the Microsoft ecosystem that doesn’t rely on this type of account.
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. Note that you can only switch home consoles three times within a year.
Turn on the friend’s Xbox One and connect to Xbox Live.
Press the glowing Xbox logo on your controller twice to open the Xbox Guide.
Push up on your left joystick to the user menu. Now choose Add & Manage from the list of options available to you in the Guide.
Choose Add New.
Enter the Microsoft Account attached to your Xbox Live Gamertag. Do not choose the “Like Magic” option. You want to force the console to ask for your password every time that you log in. This will keep your account safe.
Go to Home by pressing once on the Xbox logo on your controller. Look for the tile on the right side of your screen that has the GOLD logo on it. It’s always the third rectangle from the top. Select it to be taken to the membership area.
Once in the membership area, select the Share Gold on this Xbox button.
Now select Make This My Home Xbox.
Sharing Digital Games with a Roaming Xbox Live Profile
Of course, switching which console you treat as your home console is a long-term solution for what could be a short-term problem for you. Roaming profiles allows Xbox One owners to sign into another users console without necessarily assigning it as their home console.
To do this you simply login into Xbox Live with your username and password. Since all game saves on Xbox Live are synced, you’ll have all the latest progress from your titles at home – provided your console at home is connected to the internet. Additionally, you can download your digital games to the friend’s Xbox One to play. When you log out, those digital games stop working.
It’s a really good idea to keep all of your games on a hard drive so that you can take them with you if you’re going to use the roaming profile method. If you do, you won’t necessarily have to keep downloading any games that you want to play. Note that in some cases Xbox One gets confused if there’s a copy of a game stored locally and another stored on an external hard drive.
Xbox Play Anywhere & Sharing Digital Games
Microsoft’s new Xbox Play Anywhere feature lets you download two copies of a digital game, one for your Xbox One and another for your Windows 10 PC. You can’t use the same Xbox Live Gamertag to play the same game on both a PC and an Xbox One. You can use the feature to play an Xbox Play Anywhere game with someone else that’s on your home console.
Read: Xbox Play Anywhere: What You Need to Know
For this to work correctly, you’ll need a Windows PC powerful enough to play the game. You’ll also need to have purchased a code or a digital download for the game. The game needs to be a part of the Play Anywhere program too. Lastly, the game needs to support cross-platform multiplayer.
Good luck sharing your games