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Xbox update will let you download and install games before you buy them

For disc buyers, this means you can play your new game as soon as you pop the disc in -- rather than waiting hours for it to download, install and patch.


It's happened to all of us: A shiny new game comes out. You're excited to play it. You finish work, go on out into the world and buy yourself a copy. You insert it into your Xbox One -- but by the time you've finished downloading, installing and patching, you're ready to go to sleep. A new feature on Microsoft's Xbox operating system circumvents this problem.

Microsoft will soon let you download and install games before you buy them. At least, that's a feature found in the new Xbox app for Android, which is currently in beta. (An iOS app is on the way too.) The feature, which was discovered by users on the Reset Era forum, lets you download a game to your console without you actually having to buy the game. 

Jerko Cilas, a writer at Lords of Gaming, demoed the feature in a tweet thread. He showed that it works for games that aren't currently playable, such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla. 

Those among us who buy games digitally have been able to preload titles in order to play them the moment they become available, but disc buyers have had to endure hours of waiting between putting the disc into a console and actually being able to play the game. 

While Sony concentrates on getting exclusive games for the PlayStation 5, Microsoft is focusing more on services. The future of the Xbox is being built around Game Pass, a Netflix-like subscription service for games, and Project xCloud, which lets you play Xbox games on your phone. So a feature like this, which takes more activity to the cloud, makes sense. 

Microsoft has a new Xbox Dashboard update coming to the Xbox platform -- that is, both the Xbox One and the upcoming Series X and Series S consoles -- in November. This new feature will likely be unrolled in full in that update, a nice quality-of-life improvement for Xbox Series X/S owners.

Microsoft was contacted for comment but didn't immediately respond. 

Both the Series X and the smaller, less powerful and cheaper Series S became available for preorder this week, and both sold out almost immediately. They're hitting store shelves on Nov. 10, a couple days ahead of the PlayStation 5's Nov. 12 launch.