How to Play Region-Locked Games on Your Xbox

How to Play Region-Locked Games on Your Xbox

Like the Nintendo Switch and Sony’s PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles, the Xbox Series X|S and its older sibling the Xbox One are region-free devices. That means you can buy and play Xbox games released in other countries and play them on your console.

But while Nintendo and Sony require regional accounts to buy and download digital games from another country’s storefront, or even play certain games online, Microsoft is much more lenient.

You can easily access another country’s Microsoft Store to buy new games, access geo-locked content, or even download regional versions of the games and apps in your library from any device that accesses the Microsoft Store. And you can do so without making a new Xbox account or migrating your account to a new region like you had to do on older Xbox consoles. All you need to do is temporarily change the Microsoft Store’s language and location settings.

How to change the Microsoft Store’s location and language

There are several ways to change the Microsoft Store’s region: From your Xbox console’s settings; on desktop through your Windows PC’s settings; or on the Microsoft Store website in your preferred browser.

On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to call up the guide menu on your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One
  2. Go to Profile & System > Settings > System > Language & location.
  3. Select your desired location from the “Location” list.
  4. Select “Restart now” to apply the changes and reboot the console.
  5. After the console reboots, open the Microsoft Store page, and it should load the Store based on your console’s new location.

On the Microsoft Store website:

  1. Open the Microsoft Store website.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the language next to the globe icon.
  3. Select a location from the list.
  4. The website will reload with the new settings enabled.

On your Windows PC:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu.
  2. Go to Settings > Time & Language > Region.
  3. Select a new location from the “Country or region” list.
  4. Close the Settings menu.
  5. Open Microsoft Store, and it should open to the store based on your regional settings.

Note that if you select a country with a different language, it may change the language on your device and in the Microsoft Store. Google Translate can help you navigate these menus, but for the most part, the layouts and options are identical for all regions.

Buying, downloading, and playing games from other countries

Once you’ve loaded into the Microsoft Store, you can browse, purchase, and download games. However, you will need a valid payment option to complete transactions. Some banks and credit cards work internationally, but most don’t. And if they do, you will likely get charged a conversion fee. Instead, you can buy Microsoft Store gift card codes for the currency you need and check out that way. These are readily available from Play Asia and other online retailers.

After downloading your new games, you can play with your primary account just like normal, and you can access online modes as long as you have an active Xbox Live or Game Pass subscription, even if you’re paying for them with international dollars.

At least, that’s usually the case. In some rare instances, some games and apps may lock you out even if your console’s settings are set to the correct region. If that happens, a VPN for your home router may help you appear as if you’re really connecting from within the required country.

Log in to comment on this story!