An Xbox controller with a black background.

Microsoft’s Xbox line-up continues to rival Sony’s PlayStation catalog with its impressive Xbox Series X, but considering the company holds a large sway on the PC tech market, can Xbox Series X game discs be played on a computer as well?

Unfortunately, Xbox Series X games on discs aren’t playable on a PC. This is because they are of a specific Xbox format that isn’t recognized by the computer.

The same is also true for PS4/ PS5 disc games, which are unplayable on computers. That being said, even as a PC gamer, I understand where the parent companies come from on this front, from a business standpoint.

Manufacturing video game consoles cost a lot of money (not including R&D expenses yet), so it would be unwise to let their game discs be multi-platform, limiting their consoles’ sales potential. Exceptions are given to the developers, though, to allow them to create different versions of their games for other platforms, maximizing their games’ revenue generation.

With the video gaming landscape now transitioning into a more digitized environment, cross-platform games are starting to grow in popularity, meaning that next-gen games might also be playable on PC at launch. Nevertheless, physical game copies would probably remain, at least to a limited capacity, to cater to target gamers of Europe and North America.

Will My PC Read the Contents of an Xbox Series X Disc?

Even though the computer can’t run an Xbox Series X disc game when inserted in the disc drive, can it read the contents, at least?

No, a PC can’t read the contents of an Xbox Series X game disc. This must be due to the disc’s files being encoded/ formatted as an unsupported type for computers.

As such, we can’t copy or transfer any files/ folders between both mediums (game disc and PC), making it completely useless for PC gamers who bought one in the first place. Still, owning both an Xbox Series X AND a PC does have its boons, which will be explained further below.

Well, seeing that we can play games installed on external hard drives, this does show that PC gaming still has a lot of advantages over its console competitors, and I haven’t even touched on video game modding and cloud gaming yet.

What Happens When I Put an Xbox Series X Disc into a PC?

Sometimes, our curiosity gets the better of us. So, what will happen if we still inserted an Xbox Series X disc inside the disc drive?

The disc drive will make some noise while trying hard to read the Xbox game disc, but nothing will pop up on the computer. Although nothing useful came out of this, it was worth trying out to see what happens, right?

Jacob R went out of his way to demonstrate the outcome of inserting various types of discs into his PC, as seen here:

And there we have it; Xbox Series X game discs can’t work on a PC. Hence, we will need to rebuy their PC versions to play them on our desktops/ laptops at home.

Today, almost every console game has a PC-ported version sold on the market, and those that don’t will usually have one down the line in the future. This is especially true for Xbox games throughout its life cycle, not to mention cross-platform services like Game Pass too.

After all, Xbox is owned by Microsoft, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, so it’s easy to see why the company would want to combine both of its video game money-makers into one, eventually.

Can My PC Play an Xbox Series X Game Without its Disc?

Now, we can’t play an Xbox Series X game in disc form on a PC. What about its digital version, downloaded or streamed from the Internet?

Yes, we can play an Xbox Series X game, without its disc, on a PC by going digital, meaning:

  • Buying and playing an Xbox Play Anywhere game using an Xbox account, on a PC or Xbox Series X/S.
  • Streaming an Xbox Series X game on the computer through cloud servers, available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
  • Remote-play Xbox Series X games on the PC while both systems are connected to the same network.

These are viable options for us to play Xbox games from any console generation (not just Xbox Series X/S) on a PC. Do take note that each one will require us to pay a fee, either through a subscription or purchasing an Xbox Series X console, so there is no ‘free’ solution. 

If we do have an Xbox Series X lying around and want to benefit from playing games on the desktop, here’s ComputerSluggish Tutorials’ overview on doing so via remote play:

Don’t forget to have an Xbox-compatible controller prepared beforehand, because almost all Xbox games – including Xbox Series X/S’s – can only be played using it (not mouse and keyboard). We might need to buy one if we don’t own one yet, but it’s a worthwhile gaming investment in the long run.

For the other two methods, each being Xbox Play Anywhere games, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s cloud gaming, we can skip buying an Xbox Series X/S altogether! Why not use the money saved to purchase a premium gaming joystick instead, eh?

For us who prefer physical game copies due to unstable Internet connections or slow network speeds, we just have to settle with remote play as the most obvious alternative. For what it’s worth, physical disc games will continue to be sold until the whole world embraces the Digital Age completely, which would probably mean another decade or so.

How Do I Play Xbox Series X Games on PC?

So, how do we play Xbox Series X games on PC, exactly?

Here are the general processes involved for each solution provided earlier:

Xbox Play Anywhere

  1. Visit the Xbox Play Anywhere site, and then sign in using our Microsoft account.
  2. Select the game that we want to purchase.
  3. Once the game is bought, click on the “Install to” tab (located near the game’s primary icon/ logo).
  4. Choose “PC” when prompted about the designated location, and then select “Launch”.
  5. The Xbox App for Windows PC program will then open (a prompt will appear if the app hasn’t been installed yet).
  6. Using the Xbox App, open the My Library tab.
  7. Select the respective game again, and then click “Install”.
  8. Choose a preferred installation directory, allow the game to install properly, and proceed to play the game on the PC.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

  1. Subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
  2. Download and install the Xbox App for Windows PC program.
  3. Log into the Xbox App using our Xbox Game Pass Ultimate account.
  4. On the Game Pass tabchoose our preferred Xbox Series X game (or other previous-generation Xbox titles available) to play.

Remote Play

  1. Connect both the PC and Xbox Series X to the same Internet network/ connection.
  2. On the Xbox Series X, go to our Profile tab.
  3. Choose “System”, and then select “Settings”.
  4. Open “Devices & connections”, and then explore “Remote Features” next.
  5. Allow “Enable remote features”.
  6. Still under “Devices & connections”, go to “Xbox app preferences”.
  7. Under the “Xbox app” tab, choose either “Allow connections from any device” or “Only from profiles signed in on this Xbox”.
  8. On the “This Xbox” tab, enable “Allow game streaming to other devices”.
  9. Pair an Xbox-compatible controller to the PC.
  10. Launch the Xbox App for Windows PC program on the computer, and then click on the “Consoles” icon on the top-left side of the home screen (near the profile picture).
  11. Choose the Xbox Series X console from the drop-down list, and the Xbox Series X will now be streamed to the PC accordingly.

Things can get confusing quite quickly, so why not watch Camp Gaming’s tutorial on how to do each of them, below:

When everything is set up according to which method we opt for, we can now play Xbox Series X games on the desktop/ laptop any time we want. For PlayStation 4 owners, a PS4 DualShock controller can also be used as an Xbox gamepad if we don’t have one. 

Based on all the three suggested solutions above, the simplest way to play Xbox Series X games – or any other Xbox game, for that matter – is to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. For only $14.99 a month, we get immense value for what we pay for, don’t you think so?

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