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Don't share your digital games with your friend's Xbox

  Xbox Games Library Screen

You may have seen advice on how to share your Xbox One digital games with your friends. But Microsoft does not intend to share your game library when you are not there.

A Brief History of the Xbox One Promises

  Xbox Home Screen with the Apex Legends Feature

When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One, the promise of next generation features came and would require a dedicated internet connection allowing the console to call home each day. In exchange, Microsoft promised that you could play games without inserting the disc (after the first time) and sharing your digital games library with friends.

Check-in 24-hours was a necessary evil to make these features happen especially the ability to play your disc-bought games without inserting the disc into the Xbox. If you gave away or sold your disc, your Xbox would finally know you didn't own the game anymore and wouldn't let you play the digital copy anymore.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has bungled the marketing and failed greatly in the damage. Players were not happy with a mandatory internet connection, and Microsoft did not manage well when those players made their dissatisfaction highly known. Sony, on the other hand, put on a master class in capitalizing on another company's missteps.

Ultimately, Microsoft completely surrendered and recalled the internet needs of the home completely. But with that concession, it also took away the other great promises. Players would need to insert discs and they could not share their digital libraries. Effectively, the Xbox One now works exactly like the Xbox 360 when it comes to buying, selling and using games.

Don't mark your friend's Xbox as your home Xbox

  My Xbox Setup screen

most common advice for sharing your library is pretty straightforward. Go to your friend's house, add your Microsoft account to their Xbox, and mark the Xbox as your home Xbox. With justice, this will work and give your friend permanent access to your digital library. But the disadvantages and risks outweigh the benefits.

This is the worst part: You must leave your Microsoft account logged in to your friend's Xbox. This means that they have access to your credit card and can buy games and add-ons in your name with your money. To alleviate the purchase problem, you can disable automatic login on their Xbox and require a PIN to make purchases. But this is not the only problem.

Your friend will not only have access to your games; They will have control over all your "home Xbox" benefits. If you have Xbox Live Gold you can share it with anyone who logs into your home Xbox. But since your friend's Xbox has been marked as your home Xbox, no one who logs into the Xbox on your house will not have Xbox Live Gold. If you have friends and family who live with you, they must buy Gold for themselves.

You can only share your digital games like this with an Xbox. So while your friend can access your digital library at any time on their Xbox, you must be logged in to access games on your Xbox. All friends or families who sign in to your Xbox must either log in as you or buy their own copies of games you own. You have essentially given your digital benefits away to an Xbox not in your home.

You may think you will change who has "Home Xbox" when needed, but Microsoft only allows five changes per year. It's more than enough to support you if an Xbox dies and you get a replacement, but not enough to make you often switch to game games.

Please do not discard your Microsoft credentials

  Microsoft Account Page
Posts such as privacy and payment and billing should scream "do not give access to this."

You can look at all the warnings above and decide that your friend can trust, especially with the mitigation method to block automatic logins and purchases. But there is another advice that some websites have offered – and it's much worse.

These sites point out that the only action logging on to an Xbox will temporarily allow access to your digital library to someone else who also logs in. So here's their solution: give your friend your Microsoft account details, including your password. You can keep your Xbox set as your Home Xbox, and your friend can log in as you like whenever they want to play a game in your library.

Please never do it.

Microsoft accounts are not just for the Xbox. With your full authority, your friend has access to your Microsoft email, your Onedrive cloud storage, your Skype account, any Windows 10 device associated with your Microsoft account, and your payment information. Unlike the above method, there is no limit to preventing your friend from purchasing Xbox games, Microsoft Store PC games or apps with your account.

And if you trust your friend without a doubt, there is a big drawback to this method. Microsoft only allows you to log on to a single Xbox at a time. If you are in the middle of a game on your Xbox and your friend logs in to their Xbox with your account, you will be kicked out and your game will end immediately. Better hope that you had a new auto-save.

Game sharing is for when you are with your friends

If you wonder when you can share your digital game library with your friends, the answer is quite simple. You can share when you are with your friends. Microsoft does not intend to use the above features as permanent methods for sharing games with an Xbox in someone else's house. The purpose of the Home Xbox feature is to easily share your games on the most used Xbox console in your house. There is a reason why Microsoft calls it "Home Xbox" and not "Friend's Xbox".

To share games with your friends, you just need to be with them. When you play both on your friend's Xbox, sign in with your Microsoft account and they will have access to your digital library. When you're ready to play, sign out and your games come with you. That's what Microsoft was thinking and trying another way leads to trouble accessing your game library at home – or, worse, a friendship ended up losing money. Don't take that risk – it's just not worth it.

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