Formally announced as a part of Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference, Xbox Play Anywhere (XPA) launched on September 12 with its first XPA-branded title, ReCore, following similar cross-purchasable games like Killer Instinct. Since its debut, the program has continued to expand on Xbox One and Windows 10, with a range of both first-party and third-party games already onboard. And while the idea behind XPA is relatively straightforward, there are some discrepancies to be considered. Here's everything you need to know about Play Anywhere and its benefits to you as a gamer.
What is Xbox Play Anywhere?
Put simply, Xbox Play Anywhere allows gamers to buy a single digital license for supported titles, for use on Xbox One and Windows 10. Save data and achievements all also automatically synchronize between devices if Xbox Play Anywhere is supported, allowing you to take your games on the go effortlessly.
Do all Xbox games support Xbox Play Anywhere?
No. XPA is an additional feature for games implemented by choice and isn't forced on any Xbox One or Windows 10 titles. That being said, a majority, if not all of Microsoft's upcoming in-house titles support the program. Third-party adoption is increasing, although at a slower rate.
Which games will support Xbox Play Anywhere?
As of publication, nearly 30 games currently support Xbox Play Anywhere, with several more expected to be on the way in the months ahead. All of Microsoft's biggest releases since mid-2016 have supported Play Anywhere, including Gears of War 4, Forza Motorsport 7 and Halo Wars 2. Several ID@Xbox games have also offered support, such as Cuphead, Ruiner, Fable Fortune, and Astroneer. For a full list of supported titles, check our ongoing list linked below.
How does Xbox Play Anywhere work?
When purchasing titles that support XPA, their licenses will be automatically bound to your Microsoft account. After purchasing on Xbox One or Windows 10, logging into the same account on any device will allow you download your game for free. Your progress and achievements will also automatically transfer via the cloud.
Does Xbox Play Anywhere work with physical copies?
No, it does not. Due to issues which authenticating licenses across platforms, you'll need a digital copy attached to a Microsoft account for the feature to be available. This was explained in more depth by marketing chief for Xbox, Aaron Greenberg.
If you want to take advantage of Xbox Play Anywhere you need to have a digital copy of the game, either by purchasing it directly from the Xbox Store on your console or by using a pre-paid code from a third-party retailer.
What sort of PC do I need for Xbox Play Anywhere?
Playing games on PC has traditionally been a taxing affair, and Play Anywhere titles will be no different. Unlike Xbox One Streaming, all processing is handled onboard your PC, meaning you'll need the appropriate hardware to do so.
Since you're not paying extra for the Windows 10 copy, you'll be no worse off but make sure to check PC hardware requirements through the Windows Store prior to downloading.
Is there cross-play multiplayer with my friends on Xbox or PC?
Not necessarily. Games like Gears of War and Forza already have cross-play between platforms, while titles such as Halo Wars 2 have limited cross-platform implementation. This decision is entirely on a developer's behalf and can vary between genres and studios.
Do I have to use a controller with Xbox Play Anywhere games?
No. On the Xbox One (right now) the controller is your only option, but on PC you can use keyboard and mouse or a controller as long as support is built in.
Do I get double achievements by playing on PC and Xbox?
Just as your game save data is shared between the two, so are your achievements.
Have any questions about Play Anywhere not on this list? Make sure to drop your queries in the comments, and we'll be sure to keep you updated.
Updated September 29, 2017: Added the latest details and tips for Play Anywhere one year after launch.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.