Microsoft shocked gamers when the news broke Monday that it wants a future where Xbox and Windows play the same games, with the Xbox upgraded on a more frequent basis and working more like a PC. With games developed for the Windows 10 universal platform, PC gamers will also be able to play top new Xbox releases on their desktop and vice versa.
But players may not be aware that they can play top Xbox One games on their Windows 10 PC right now. Here’s how.
Windows 10 has a nifty little feature called game streaming. If you’re not on Windows 10 just yet, that’s easily rectified. Microsoft is giving away upgrades for Windows 7 and 8.1 users until July 2016, so upgrade now to get started.
Game streaming means gamers can play whatever they feel like from any room in the house. Play “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” “Rare Replay” and “Halo 5: Guardians” on PC using the Xbox One controller. No need to hog the TV.
Game streaming is an intensive task and needs a good PC and network performance. Microsoft recommends a 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a wireless network that uses either “N” or “AC” technologies. Alternatively, you might get better mileage out of opting for a wired connection, if it’s convenient.
First off, switch on the Xbox One, navigate to “Settings,” then “Preferences,” then enable both game streaming and “SmartGlass” connections. The latter can be set to only accept connections from profiles signed in for added security.
On the PC side, go to the “Xbox” app, then “Connect,” then choose your console from the list. Once connected, you have two options to get playing. Either choose “Stream” from the console connection screen, or choose a game and select “Play from console.”
Of course, this won’t be quite as good as the system Microsoft is proposing. This still requires the Xbox to be on the same network as the PC, and won’t mean controlling a game with a keyboard and mouse. It’s a start, though, and gives an exciting glimpse into the future of gaming.