Windows 10 Streams Xbox One Games Without Lag

Most of us keep our gaming consoles in the living room, but what if your children are sitting on the couch watching cartoons and you're jonesing for the latest Halo game? With Windows 10, you'll be able to retreat into your bedroom to play your favorite game on a PC that's streaming directly from your Xbox One. Microsoft revealed back in January that Windows 10 will be able to play games when connected to an Xbox, but the company just gave  hands-on demos of the feature at this week's Build conference. At a press event, I had the opportunity to play a little Sunset Overdrive on a Surface Pro 3 and was impressed with the responsiveness and quality of the gaming experience.

The Surface Pro 3 I used was connected to the same network as an Xbox One, which was also connected to a TV. A wired Xbox controller was plugged into the USB port on the tablet. To initiate the connection, a Microsoft rep opened the Windows 10 Xbox app, showing a full suite of important gaming data that includes your achievements, alerts and recordings of friends' games. He then hit the connect button in the lower right corner of the window and was transported to the game, which was running on the console.

MORE: Microsoft Shows Off Tons of New Windows 10 Features

In a few moments of playing the game and several minutes of watching others play, I observed no lag at all between movement on the controller and response from the system. Graphics looked very colorful on the Surface Pro 3's display and even sharper than on the TV. 

In order to use Xbox Streaming, both the client computer and the gaming console must be on the same local network. Microsoft has not yet specified a minimum network or client computer speed. The Surface Pro 3 I used has a Core i5 processor, so we don't know if a Surface 3, which has a less-powerful Atom CPU, could handle the stream. However, since most of the processing is taking place on the console, you shouldn't need something too powerful.

Though the software will handle any game, you cannot stream video content from the Xbox. If you want your Netflix fix, you'll have to put that app directly on your PC. 

The current Windows 10 preview build does not yet support Xbox streaming, but Microsoft reps said it is coming soon and will definitely be in place by launch. We look forward to seeing what the minimum client specs are because it would be really compelling to use a low-end notebook or tablet to play high-end games.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.