Setting up Visual Studio targeting Windows 10

This article is for the Creators program.


There is a plugin available for games that are being developed with Unity. See Unity targeting Windows 10.


  1. Enrollment in the Partner Center developer program.
  2. Windows 10.
  3. Visual Studio 2015 (or newer) with the Universal Windows App Development Tools.
  4. Windows 10 SDK v10.0.10586.0 or later.


Visual Studio 2017 is required if using Windows 10 SDK version 10.0.15063.0 (also known as Creators Update) or later.

Create a new product in Partner Center

Every Xbox Live title must have a product created in Partner Center before you will be able to sign-in and make Xbox Live Service calls. See Creating an app and publishing it for testing, for Creators.

Configuring your development device

The following preliminary setup steps are required on your device, so that you can successfully login with Xbox Live and call the various Xbox Live Services.

Set your sandbox

Sandboxes offer a way to keep your Xbox Live service configuration isolated from retail until you are ready to release your title. See Xbox Live service configuration IDs, for Creators. Some data that you accumulate is specific to a sandbox.

For example, suppose your title defines a stat called Headshots, and you accumulate some number of Headshots in a user account while testing your title. This value would be specific to your title's development sandbox, and if you switched to playing the retail version of your title, the headshots would not carry over.

See Using Xbox Live sandboxes, for Creators.

Sign-in with an Xbox Live account that has been authorized for testing

To sign-in to your development sandbox, you must provision a regular Microsoft Account (MSA) for access to your sandbox. This provides improved security for your titles in development, as well as some other benefits.

To learn more about test accounts and how to create one, see Authorizing test accounts, for Creators.

Visual Studio Project Setup

1. Open a UWP project

If you do not already have an existing UWP project, you can create one by doing the following:

  1. In Visual Studio, File > New > Project.

  2. In the New Project dialog box, select the Visual C# > Windows > Universal node in the left pane, and click Blank App (Universal Windows) from the right pane.

  3. In the lower portion of the dialog, give the project a name and specify the location of the project.

  4. Specify the Target Version and Minimum Version of the Windows 10 SDK. See Choose a UWP version for more information.

create project in VS


Xbox Live API (XSAPI) requires a minimum version 10.0.10586.0 or higher.

2. Add references to the Xbox Live API (XSAPI) in your project

The Xbox Services API comes in flavors for C++ and WinRT and have their naming structured as Microsoft.Xbox.Live.SDK.*.UWP. You can read more about running UWP on Xbox One (or later) at Getting started with UWP app development on Xbox One ⬀ (external link to UWP documentation).

The C++ SDK can be used for C++ game engines, where as the WinRT SDK is for game engines written with C++, C#, or JavaScript. When using WinRT with a C++ engine, you would use C++/CX which uses hats (^). C++ is the recommended API to use for C++ game engines.

To use the Xbox Live API from your project, you can either add references to the binaries by using NuGet packages or adding the API source. Adding NuGet packages makes compilation quicker while adding the source makes debugging easier. This article will walk through using NuGet packages. If you want to use source, see Add and compile XSAPI source code into a UWP project.

You can add the Xbox Live SDK NuGet package by:

  1. In Visual Studio go to Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Manage NuGet Packages for Solution....

  2. In the NuGet package manager, click on Browse and enter Xbox.Live.SDK in the search box.

  3. Select the version of the Xbox Live SDK that you want to use from the list on the left. In this case, we will use the Microsoft.Xbox.Live.SDK.WinRT.UWP package.

  4. On the right side of the window, check the box next to your project and click Install.

add XBL via NuGet

Optionally include XSAPI header in your project

For Microsoft.Xbox.Live.SDK.Cpp.* based projects, you will need to include xsapi\\services.h to in your C++ project to bring in the header for the Xbox Live Service API (XSAPI) NuGet package. Before including the XSAPI header, you must define XBOX_LIVE_CREATORS_SDK. This limits the API surface area to only those APIs that are usable by developers in the Xbox Live Creators Program.

For example:

#include "xsapi\services.h"

3. (Optional) Using Connected Storage

If you want to use the Connected Storage service, you will need to access the Windows.Gaming.XboxLive.Storage namespace. Depending on the version of the Windows SDK that you are using, you may need to install additional content or manually add references to your project to use it.

If you've targeted Windows 10 SDK 10.0.16299 or higher, then you will be able to access the Connected Storage namespace without doing any additional work.

Windows 10 SDK version 10.0.15063 or lower

  1. Download and extract the Xbox Live Platform Extensions SDK.
  2. Once extracted, run the included MSI file that matches the Windows 10 SDK version that you are using.

After you have installed the Xbox Live Platform Extensions SDK, you will need to add a reference to it in Visual Studio. You can do this by:

  1. In the Solution Explorer, right click on the References node and pick Add Reference...
  2. On the left side of the Reference Manager dialog, select Universal Windows > Extensions.
  3. In the list that appears, search for Windows Desktop Extensions for UWP and select the checkbox next to the version that matches your Windows 10 SDK.
  4. Click OK.

add new reference in VS

4. Associate your Visual Studio project with your UWP app

For your game to be able to sign-in, it must be associated with the product you created in Partner Center. You can associate your game in Visual Studio by using the Store Association wizard.

In Visual Studio, do the following:

  1. Right click the primary project (the StartUp Project), click Store > Associate App with the Store...

  2. Sign-in with the Windows Developer account used for creating the app if asked and follow the prompts.


See Packaging apps for more information on preparing your game for Windows Store.

5. Add Internet capabilities to your Visual Studio Project

Your UWP project will need to specify internet capabilities to communicate with Xbox Live.

You can set these properties as follows:

  1. Double-click the package.appxmanifest file in Visual Studio to open the Manifest Designer.
  2. Click on the Capabilities tab and check Internet (Client).

add new reference in VS

6. Associate your Visual Studio project with your Xbox Live enabled title

To talk to the Xbox Live service, you'll need to add a service configuration file to your project, as follows:

  1. On your StartUp project, right click and select Add > New Item.

  2. Select the Text File type and name it xboxservices.config.

  3. Right click on the file, select Properties and ensure that:

    1. Build Action is set to Content, and
    2. Copy to Output Directory is set to Copy Always.
  4. Edit the configuration file with the following template, replacing the TitleId and PrimaryServiceConfigId with the values applicable to your title. You can get the correct values from the root Xbox Live page in Partner Center. The PrimaryServiceConfigId appears in Partner Center as SCID.

       "TitleId" : "your title ID (JSON number in decimal)",
       "PrimaryServiceConfigId" : "your primary service config ID",
       "XboxLiveCreatorsTitle" : true

For example:

        "TitleId" : 1563044810,
        "PrimaryServiceConfigId" : "12200100-88da-4d8b-af88-e38f5d2a2bca",
        "XboxLiveCreatorsTitle" : true


All values inside xboxservices.config are case-sensitive. For more information on obtaining the TitleID and PrimaryServiceConfigId, see Xbox Live service configuration IDs, for Creators.

Learn More

The Xbox Live SDK samples showcase the APIs available to developers in the Xbox Live Creators program. To use the samples, change your sandbox to XDKS.1.