What is Xbox Play Anywhere and How to Use It

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Usually, when you buy a game, it's locked to the one platform you purchased it on: If you bought it on a PC, you played it on a PC; if you bought it on a console, you played it on a console.

But if you're an Xbox One owner or a PC gamer, you may have noticed that some games in the Xbox Store have a little badge that reads "Xbox Play Anywhere." It looks like this:

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So, what is Xbox Play Anywhere?

It's all in the name

Xbox Play Anywhere lets you play select games on any Windows gaming machine you own. When you download a digital copy of these games for either PC or Xbox One, you also get the game on the other platform for no extra cost. Your game data, downloadable content (DLC) and achievements will all show up on both systems.

This is restricted to digital games, though, so don't go buying a disc-based copy of ReCore for Xbox One and expect a PC copy — it doesn't work that way. You can buy Play Anywhere games from your Xbox One; the Xbox app on Windows 10, Android or iOS; the Windows Store; Xbox.com; Microsoft.com; or via digital game codes that are sold online or in brick-and-mortar stores and are redeemed online.

Xbox has announced 12 current and upcoming games that are starting the program.

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Which games are part of the program?

The 12 games are:

  •  Forza Horizon 3
  • ReCore
  • Gears of War 4
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Scalebound
  • Killer Instinct: Season 3
  • State of Decay 2
  • Ark: Survival Evolved
  • Cuphead
  • We Happy Few
  • Crackdown 3

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How to prepare

You'll need to make sure to upgrade your gaming PC to the Windows Anniversary Update. Here's how to do it.

In addition, you need the latest update to your Xbox One. If you have your console set to update automatically, you're probably in good shape. Otherwise, go to Settings > All Settings, and then System > Console info & updates > Update console.

You'll still need to download the game on both devices.

Data transfer is automatic

Your game saves, DLC and other data are all saved on Xbox Live, so you should be good to go. As long as you're signed in with the same Microsoft account on both the Xbox One and your PC, you can transfer seamlessly.

Note, however, that you can use only one platform at a time. That means you can't have a friend play on your Xbox One while you're playing on a gaming laptop.

Author Bio
Andrew E. Freedman
Andrew E. Freedman,
Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.
Andrew E. Freedman, on