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Do not share your digital games with your friend's Xbox

  Xbox Games Library Screen

You may have been advised how to share your Xbox One digital games with your friends. However, Microsoft does not intend to share your game library when you're not there. If you do, there is a risk.

A Brief History of Xbox One Promises

  Xbox Home Screen with Apex Legends

When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One, it promised the next generation features and would also require a dedicated Internet connection, with which the console can call home every 24 hours. In return, Microsoft promised that you can play games without inserting the disc (after the first time), and sharing your digital games library with friends.

24-hour check-in was a necessary evil to enable these features – especially the ability to play your purchased games without putting them in the Xbox. If you gave away or sold your floppy disk, your Xbox would know you no longer owned the game and you would not be able to play the digital copy.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has abused the marketing and failed in the damage control. The players were not satisfied with the required internet connection, and Microsoft did not get along well when these players expressed their reluctance. Sony, however, set a master class to use the missteps of another company.

In the end, Microsoft surrendered and completely revoked the default for Internet telephony. With this concession, however, the other great promises were lifted. Players would need to insert discs and not share their digital libraries. In fact, the Xbox One now works just like the Xbox 360 when it comes to buying, selling and using games.

Do not mark your friend's Xbox as your home Xbox

  My Xbox Settings Page

The most common advice for sharing your library is pretty simple. Go to your friend's house, add your Microsoft account to the Xbox box, and mark that Xbox as your home Xbox. Fairly, this works and your friend can permanently access your digital library. However, the disadvantages and risks outweigh the benefits.

The worst thing is: You need to have your Microsoft account signed in to your friend's Xbox. This means that they have access to your credit card and can buy games and extensions with your money in their name. To reduce the purchase problem, you can disable automatic login on your Xbox and need a PIN to purchase. However, this is not the only problem.

Your friend does not just have access to your games. You are in control of all your Xbox benefits. If you have Xbox Live Gold, you can share it with anyone who signs in to your home Xbox. However, since your friend's Xbox is marked as a home Xbox, Xbox Live Gold will not have Xbox Live Gold for anyone signing in to your Xbox at home. If you have friends and family living with you, you have to buy gold for yourself.

You can only share your digital games with an Xbox. While your friend can always access your digital library on your Xbox, you must be logged in to access the games on your Xbox. Any friends or family members signing in to your Xbox will either need to sign up as you or buy your own copy of your own games. You have essentially transferred the benefits of your digital sharing to an Xbox that is not in your home.

You may think that you want to change who owns the "Home Xbox" whenever necessary, but Microsoft only allows five changes per year. That's more than enough to support you when an Xbox dies and you get a replacement, but not enough to be able to play regularly.

Please do not enter your Microsoft credentials

  Microsoft Account Page
Entries such as privacy, payment, and billing should read: "Do not give access."

You can look at all warnings above and decide that your friend is trustworthy, especially with the remedial method, blocking automatic login, and purchases. However, there is another piece of advice some websites have offered – and it's much worse.

These sites indicate that simply signing in to an Xbox will temporarily grant access to your digital library to all other users who also sign up. Here's the solution: Give your friend the credentials of your Microsoft account, including your password. You can keep your Xbox as your home Xbox, and your friend can log in at any time if you want to play a game in your library.

Please never do that.

Microsoft accounts are not easy for Xbox. With your full credentials, your friend will have access to your Microsoft email, Onedrive cloud storage, your Skype account, any Windows 10 device associated with your Microsoft account, and your billing information. Unlike the method described above, you can not prevent your friend from buying Xbox games, Microsoft Store PC games, or apps with your account.

And even if you trust your friend beyond doubt, this method has a significant disadvantage. In Microsoft, you can only log in to a single Xbox at a time. If you are currently in a game on your Xbox and your friend logs in to the Xbox with your account, you will be kicked out and your game ends immediately. I hope you had an automatic save recently.

Sharing games is when you're with your friends

If you're wondering when you can share your digital games library with your friends, the answer is pretty simple. You can share when you are with your friends. Microsoft did not intend to use the above features as permanent methods for sharing games with an Xbox in another house. With the Home Xbox feature, you can share your games conveniently on the most used Xbox console in your home. There is a reason why Microsoft calls it "Home Xbox" and not "Friend's Xbox".

To share games with your friends, you just have to be with them. If you're both playing on your friend's Xbox, sign in with your Microsoft account and they'll have access to your digital library. When you're finished playing, log out and your games will come with you. That was the goal of Microsoft, and trying to choose a different path leads to problems accessing your home game library. Do not take this risk – it's just not worth it.

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