New Xbox app lets you download games before you buy them

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The newly released Xbox app has a low-key but incredibly useful feature that lets you download games before you even buy them.

A ResetEra (opens in new tab) user spotted and tested the feature in a recent post. Simply put, you can use the Xbox app to download games ahead of time to save yourself some headache when it's finally time to play. That's nothing new in and of itself, but this option is now available for games you haven't purchased, though obviously you'll need to buy the game to access it on your Xbox. 

There are a few big upsides to this beyond the time saved. Firstly, people who prefer buying physical games should, in theory, be able to use this feature to pre-load games as if they were buying digital. With no pre-load option, buying physical games has pretty much always guaranteed a lengthy download-install double-whammy at the start of your first play session, and this feature can work around that.

The other advantage here is the ability to pre-load without purchasing. Whether you're waiting for pay day, waiting for reviews to drop before committing to an early purchase, or just waiting for a random credit card or Xbox account error to be resolved, this feature will let you eliminate day-one download times without needing to buy anything first. This is probably more niche than the option to pre-load and then buy physically, but it also seems like one of those features you won't need until you really need it. 

All in all, the Xbox app is looking mighty useful – and it's out on Android right now.

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.