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Tip: Make Your New Xbox Your Home Xbox ASAP

the xbox series x
Photo: Microsoft

It’s a fact of life by now: Console launches are never smooth sailing. If you’re a new owner of an Xbox Series S or X, you might even find yourself locked out of your downloaded games—unless you thought to set your new machine as your home Xbox.

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Over the course of the day, the very same day the new consoles released, Xbox Live has experienced some turbulence. This poses an issue for those with new machines. In a default state, the Xbox won’t let you play downloaded games while offline, even if they’re technically owned by the console’s primary account.

When you designate an Xbox as your home Xbox, you’ll be allowed to play any of your downloaded games at any time, even if you’re offline. What’s more, any other profiles on the machine will be able to play your games, and will even be able to reap the benefits of any Xbox Live or Xbox Game Pass memberships affiliated with your account. But that stuff’s secondary. The important thing here is that you can play your games, at any point, regardless of how Verizon or Time Warner behave on a given day.

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Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Open up your settings.
  2. Go to the “general” menu (the first one).
  3. Click on “Personalization.”
  4. Scroll down to “My home Xbox.”
  5. Click “Make this my home Xbox.”

There’s a minor caveat to all of this. You can only switch home Xboxes five times per one-year period. The system will tell you how many switches you have left for your time period, but won’t tell you when you when your year will reset. Keep that in mind if you hop your account to, say, a friend or family member’s machine.

For the most part, these new Xbox consoles function a lot like their predecessors, the Xbox One family of consoles. If you were an Xbox One player, you’ll likely feel right at home. But there are still some quirks to be mindful of. Here’s everything you need to know. And if you want to know how the machine stacks up against the PlayStation 5, out November 12, don’t miss our totally, definitely, irrefutably scientific comparison.

More ways to make the most of your new Xbox:

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Staff Writer, Kotaku

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DISCUSSION

So, if I keep my Xbox One X, I can’t continue using it 100% like I could yesterday if I set the Series X|S as home console today, correct? (Sharing benefits and downloads with other profiles on the sytem.)

Any idea how setting primary on PS5 is going to work when I have a couple of PS4's in the house? Does it deactivate my PS4 Pro as primary and now any other profiles on there will no longer be able to use Plus or downloaded games from my main profile?

I make all purchases on my profile on any system, and my kids have had their own profiles on PS3/PS4/Xbox360/XboxOne/WiiU/Switch/etc. It’s been great, but I’d hate to see old systems become useless just because I activate it. I’m not giving up my old systems, especially since storage space is so valuable and meager on newer systems.

This new generation kinda blows...