Ever since Microsoft announced its plans to bring Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 back in January, I've been dying to try it. While the Xbox One dashboard has been updated to support the new feature, the Xbox one app for Windows 10 isn't quite ready yet. At its Build developers conference in San Francisco this week, Microsoft is demonstrating Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs to the public for the first time. I got a chance to try it, and it's as awesome as I had hoped.
Just plug an Xbox One controller into a Windows 10 PC and you're ready to go
It all starts with an Xbox One controller and the Xbox app for Windows 10. You can plug Xbox One controllers into Windows 10 PCs, and the Xbox app will automatically install the drivers and then you're ready to stream games. Titles will stream locally over a network, but you won't be able to go on vacation and access your game collection from a hotel. There are ways around that by setting up VPN connections at home, but for now it's designed to work over the local network, and the streaming is optimized for that experience.
Launching games is simple from the Xbox app for Windows 10, you just select the title you want to play and there's a new streaming option at the top. This isn't just streaming, though. You can even access the entire Xbox One dashboard, and launch apps like party, friends, achievements, and more. It all seemed to work without much lag in Microsoft's demo, but we'll have to take a look at it more closely in home environments to really judge it fully.
You won't be able to use your Xbox One while you stream games
One of the disappointing aspects to this game streaming is that it's a little limited. I had hoped Microsoft would allow the Xbox One to continue outputting TV, or run apps like Netflix, all while someone remotely plays an Xbox One game. That's not the case, and it's literally just mirroring the whole experience as a video stream to a Windows 10 PC. That means if you're living the dream of Xbox One as an entertainment and games console in the living room, then streaming games will take over that experience. Microsoft says it's investigating having TV work while you stream a game remotely, but the initial release won't support that.
Microsoft is planning to enable game streaming for Windows 10 testers very soon, so expect to see this arrive in the coming weeks as part of the company's regular Windows 10 updates.