Getting started for PC


If you plan to use the Gaming Runtime to build or package a PC game, we recommend Windows 10 64-bit OS with the May 2019 Update or later. In addition, you will, at a minimum, need to install the following on your development PC.

  • Visual Studio 2019 or Visual Studio 2017 (Update 15.9 or later).
  • May 2020 version of the Windows 10 SDK (10.0.19041.0) or later. This version is required to use the May 2020 Microsoft Game Development Kit (GDK).
  • November 2019 (QFE2) version of the Microsoft Game Development Kit (GDK) or later.

For more information, see SDKs and tools.

If you plan to install and run PC games that are packaged using MSIXVC and/or use Gaming Runtime APIs, the device on which you plan to test your games (which can be your development PC or a remote PC device) must have the following installed.

  • Windows 10 (May 2019 Update or later) client OS (64-bit)
  • Gaming Services Runtime (installed automatically when you install an MSIXVC-packaged game from Microsoft Store. You can manually install the latest version from Microsoft Store.

For more information about setting up your PC to prepare for development using the Gaming Runtime, see Setting up your development PC for Gaming Runtime title development.

Understanding Packaging

MSIXVC is the packaging format that's required by Microsoft Store. A packaged game requires a MicrosoftGame.config file, which enables the title's identity and title-specific shell visuals in Microsoft Store. For more information, see MicrosoftGame.config overview.

To get started packaging your existing PC game, see Getting started with packaging for PC.

Preparing to develop for Xbox Live

For information about developing with Xbox Live, see Getting started with Xbox Live.

We recommend installing the Xbox app to help manage Xbox Live sign-in on your PC.

If your title supports Xbox Live multiplayer functionality, Xbox Game Bar must be installed (install from Microsoft Store).


Xbox Game Bar is automatically included in most Windows 10 versions. For testing, Xbox Game Bar should always be updated to the most recent version.

Requesting additional permissions for your PC title

Some features, configured by your MicrosoftGame.config file, will require additional permissions to work properly. If you intend to use any of the following features, contact your account manager to get the necessary permissions.

  • Xbox Live
  • Mod support
  • Custom installation actions
  • Non-virtualized Filesystem and Registry writes
  • File writes to installation location

For more information, see Getting started with packaging for PC.

Window display modes

For information about recommended window display modes, see Window display modes and title-callable UI dialogs.

Configuring your title to run as a single instance

For more information about recommendations and example code for running your title as a single instance, see Configuring your title to run as a single instance.

Checking for updates

It is a best practice to check for mandatory updates for your PC game. This way if you need to patch your game, you can ensure that fix gets to all of your players.


Checking for mandatory updates happens automatically on the console, but on the PC you must write the code to check for updates. See the checking for updates topic for more information.

See also

Getting started with PC game development

Utilizing Microsoft Game Development Kit tools to install and launch your PC title