How to download Xbox games

Taking advantage of a hefty discount on a new Xbox , you’ve decided to buy one, so you can play with your friends. After turning it on and configuring it, you are wandering through the console menus, in order to understand how to buy a game in digital format, without going to a physical store. Unfortunately, however, having not yet familiar with the Xbox world, you are not sure how to proceed.

This is how things are, am I right? In that case, you will be happy to know that, in this guide of mine, I can provide you with all the answers you are looking for. In the next chapters, in fact, you will find some essential information on how to proceed with the purchase of a game from the Xbox digital store. Next, I’ll explain how to buy a game and how to install it on both the console’s internal memory and external memory. Finally, I will also explain how to play Xbox games on your PC from Gaming and how to get them for free whenever possible.

But now let’s not dwell too much in chat and see how to download Xbox games in more detail. I assure you that it is much simpler than you imagine. So, are you ready to get started and enrich your library of titles of all kinds? Yup? Very well! I just have to wish you a good read and, above all, a good time!


  • Preliminary information
  • How to download Xbox One games
    • Purchase the game from the Xbox Store
    • Download Xbox One games to hard drive
    • Download Xbox One games for free
    • Download xbox One games from PC
  • How to download Xbox 360 games
    • Purchase the game from the Xbox Store
    • Download Xbox 360 games on a stick
    • Download Xbox 360 games for free

Preliminary information

Digital purchase of video games on Xbox can only be done if you have a Microsoft account . This is essential so that the purchased titles are recorded, as well as all activities related to the various games.

If you do not yet have a Microsoft account, then an , Hotmail or Live address , connect to  this web page and follow the instructions on the screen, in order to fill out the form that is proposed to you. If you encounter any difficulties at this stage, consult my guide on  how to create a Microsoft account , in which you will find all the steps to be taken in detail.

With that done, you also need to make sure your Xbox has internet access . This step is essential for the console to communicate with Xbox’s online services, and therefore, you need to make a cable or Wi-Fi connection to your home modem. If you don’t know how, you can check out my guide on how to connect Xbox to the Internet .

Finally, you need to associate the newly created Microsoft account with your console in order to connect to the Xbox Live services. You can easily do this by following the procedures I have described to you in this guide .

After having performed all these operations, it is time to access the Xbox store to make your first purchase of a video game, as I will explain in the next paragraphs.

How to download Xbox One games

If you own an Xbox One , you can purchase and download a video game in digital format through the Microsoft Store , the application of which is available on the console’s Home screen . In the next chapters, I will give you all the information you need, which will be useful for you to achieve your goal.

Purchase the game from the Xbox Store

To purchase a game on Xbox One , you must first set up a valid payment method on the console. To do this, after following the preliminary operations I have indicated, press the Xbox button on the controller, in order to open the console settings panel, scroll the menu that opens to the left, until the thumbnail of your profile is highlighted and select the items [your nickname]> My account , to access the settings panel of your Xbox account.

In the new screen that is shown to you, go to the items Account> Payment and billing> Add a payment option and choose whether to pay by credit or debit card , Paypal or by phone credit (at the moment, only the credit of the Wind Tre lines ).

Whatever payment method you have chosen, you will have to follow the instructions on the screen to correctly complete the entry of the necessary data: if everything goes well, you will be able to see the data you have just registered in the Payment and billing section .

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to purchase an Xbox One game. The first thing you need to do is open the Microsoft Store application , located on the main console screen. You can also choose the Store tab , at the top, and press the Explore games button , it’s the same thing.

Now, in the Promotions tab located at the top right, you can find the list of discounted games, divided by categories. You will be shown the discounted titles or those reserved for Xbox Live Gold owners , which I will tell you about in a later chapter of the guide .

In the Games tab , however, you can explore the list of all the games on the Xbox store. This list is accessible via the All games button or you can decide to search for a specific one, using the Search games button .

In the lower section, you are shown thematic areas that group video games: you can see the list of those just released ( New games ), those that will be soon ( Games coming soon ) or those with 4K support for Xbox One X ( Optimized Xbox One X ). There is also the list of the most popular or highest rated games or those of Xbox 360 backwards compatible with Xbox One. Free evaluation tests of some games are also available via the Game Demo section .

When you have identified the title you want to buy, select its thumbnail and press the Buy button in its description sheet. Then select the payment method previously set and confirm, using the Buy button . By doing so, the download and installation of your video game will start automatically.

Download Xbox One games to hard drive

If you do not have space on the internal memory of your Xbox One or if you want to install your video games on an SSD , to speed up their startup, you must rely on external memory drives , to be connected to the console via the USB port on it. I warn you that you can connect to the Xbox One external memory drives of at least 128GB and that support the USB 3.0 standard or higher .

After connecting the external hard drive / SSD to the Xbox One USB port, you will be shown a warning on the screen. You can then decide whether to use the device for playing multimedia content inside it ( Use for multimedia elements ) or for storing games ( Format device ). By choosing the latter option, the drive will be formatted, erasing any data inside.

At this point, choose the name to assign to the external memory drive and indicate whether you want to use it as the default path for installing new games ( Install new items here ) or whether to install the latter on the internal memory of the Xbox, to move them each time manually on the external drive ( Keep current route ).

Once this choice has been made, the hard disk / SSD will be formatted and, after a few minutes, it will be available to contain your video games. You can manage the external drive and make game transfers by pressing the Xbox button and, in the left pane, selecting the System> Settings> System> Storage items .

In the section that you see, you can manage the external storage drive or use the Transfer function to move games to it.

Download Xbox One games for free

If you want to play Xbox One titles for free, know that you have several options at your disposal: first of all, you can download the free games in the Microsoft Store , by going to the Games tab and looking for the Most popular games for free section .

Within the latter, you will find many titles to play for free, including Fortnite , Apex Legends or Warface . I warn you, however, that for many of these free games it is necessary to subscribe to an Xbox Live Gold subscription , which I will talk about in the next lines (as they only have a multiplayer compartment).

The Xbox Live Gold service allows, in fact, to play online with other players in all those video games where an online multiplayer mode is available . In addition, it allows you to get several video games every month completely free of charge, to be used as long as the subscription is active. In fact, if you stop subscribing to this service, you will no longer be able to enjoy the games you have redeemed for free, but they will be available again as soon as you reactivate Xbox Live Gold.

To activate Xbox Live Gold , in the Xbox Microsoft Store , go to the Promotions tab and press the Subscriptions button . Within this section, you will find the Xbox Live Gold item , which will allow you to make a subscription at a cost of 6.99 euros / month , 19.99 euros for 3 months or 59.99 euros / year , depending on the plan that you decide to activate. In the area below, you can also redeem the free games offered every month, if you have an active subscription.

In the Xbox Subscriptions section , you can also find the possibility to subscribe to the Xbox Game Pass service , which allows you to play unlimited games on the hundreds of video games available in the catalog, at a cost of 9.99 euros / month .

Download Xbox One games from PC

Some video games distributed on Xbox One are supported by the Xbox Play Anywhere service , which allows you to play video games purchased on Xbox even on PCs with Windows 10 .

You can find the list of supported games at this link or directly from Xbox One, by starting the Microsoft Store and accessing the Xbox Play Anywhere section . When you buy a video game that supports this service, you will be able to find it available for download also in the Microsoft Store of Windows 10 , as long as you have linked the same Microsoft account with which you made the purchase on Xbox One.

How to download Xbox 360 games

In case you have an Xbox 360 , after having performed the preliminary procedures listed above, you can buy a video game in digital format directly from the Xbox store, following the instructions that I will show you in the next chapters.

Purchase the game from the Xbox Store

Before purchasing a game, you need to add a valid payment method to your Microsoft account. On the Xbox main screen, go to the Settings menu  and press the Account button  .

Then select the item  Manage payment options from the section that is shown to you and choose whether to add a  credit card  or a  PayPal account as a payment method for games and all other content that can be purchased on Xbox online services.

If you have a gift card with credit to spend on Xbox Live, you can redeem it and add funds to your account by going to the Settings> Account section   of the dashboard and selecting the Redeem code option   from the latter.

Now that you have completed the last steps, it’s time to buy and download Xbox 360 games. To do this, you need to reach the Games section   of the dashboard, press the Explore games button   and go to the On request tab  . Here you can browse the titles available for download in alphabetical order ( AZ ), by release date ( New Releases ), by genre ( Genre ) or by their degree of popularity on Xbox Live ( Most Popular ).

Once you have identified the title to buy, select its cover image, press the A button   on the controller and press first on  Buy  and then on  Confirm purchase . If the transaction is successful, a message will notify you that the download and installation of the game will take place in the background.

For some titles , demos are available , i.e. trial versions that allow you to test a few minutes (or a few levels) of the game for free: you can find them by going to the Games section   of the Xbox dashboard and selecting the Demos item   from the latter.

If you prefer to try your hand at indie titles, that is, made by independent developers, you can go to the Xbox Live Arcade section , which contains titles with lower prices, suitable for all tastes and all ages.

To access the Xbox Live Arcade division , go to the Games section   of the dashboard, press the Explore games button   and head to the Arcade tab  . At this point, browse the titles as seen above for the On Demand games and proceed to purchase and download the ones that interest you most.

Download Xbox 360 games on a stick

If, upon purchasing the games, you were notified that it is not possible to continue with the download because there is not enough space on the console memory, I recommend that you use an external mass device, such as a USB key , to be used as memory unit on which to save games.

To make an Xbox usable stick, it must have at least 1GB of storage and use the FAT32 file system . If it meets these requirements, plug it into one of the two USB ports hidden behind the flap, located on the front of the console.

Go, then, in the menu  Settings> System> Storage devices , select the key icon and press the Y key   on the controller. In the screen that opens, then select the Configure now option   and wait for the procedure to be completed (all files on the drive will be deleted).

If successful, the USB key will appear on the Xbox 360 as a storage device for storing game downloads.

Download Xbox 360 games for free

If you subscribe to the Xbox Live Gold service  , the paid version of Xbox Live, you will be entitled to a free download of some games every month and you can have up to 75% discount on the purchase of other more or less recent titles.

Xbox Live Gold , an essential service also for playing online multiplayer titles, starting from 6.99 euros per month . In addition,  prepaid cards are available on  Amazon and other third-party stores that allow you to save up to 40-50% on the cost of the Gold subscription.

In some circumstances, it is possible to have Xbox Live Gold for free for a short period: I have told you about it in detail in this guide of mine dedicated to the subject.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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