How To Play Xbox Games Early

Change countries without a passport.

Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X

Time zones are a pesky little nuisance. Releasing a game at midnight local time is all very well and good when you live in New Zealand and get to play the game before everyone else, but what if you live in America and have to wait seemingly forever for your game to unlock? Fortunately, there’s a way for you to play games early on Xbox, and it involves changing your console’s location settings.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to change your console’s location setting and play Xbox games early.


How To Change The Xbox’s Location Setting

In order to change your location settings on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X | S, you’ll need to perform the following steps:

1. Open your Settings menu.
2. Scroll down to System, then select the Language & Location option.
3. Click the Location dropdown menu, then select the location with the timezone you want. Typically, New Zealand is the best option.
4. Restart your console. The changes will not take effect until your console has been fully restarted.

Once your Xbox turns back on, it’ll display the dashboard and menus like you’re living in that region, with the easiest way to tell if it’s working is by checking the store. If the games are listed with the currency of the country in question, you’re good to go. Now, all you need to do is load up the game in question that you’re looking to play a few hours early, and it should boot the title up without issues.


How Does This Loophole Work?

Essentially, games that launch on digital platforms can have two different kinds of releases: simultaneous or local time launches. For simultaneous launches, this strategy doesn’t work, as it doesn’t matter what time zone you live in, the game will be available for all players across the world at the same time.

As for local time launches, games will go live at the same local time, meaning every hour, a new time zone of players will be able to start the game in question. For those who live in the likes of New Zealand, it means that they’re often the first to log-in to a game if it launches in this way. With this loophole, you can also be part of the cool kids club.


Are Xbox Okay With This?

While it might not exactly be intended by Microsoft for their player base to exploit their systems in this way, they’re not exactly doing anything to stop it either. The loophole has been in effect since the early Xbox One days, so it’s been out there for years. If Xbox wanted to stop, they probably would have by now.

On top of that, the Xbox Australia & New Zealand Twitter account threw a sly dig/nod out there towards people who use the loophole after the success of Forza Horizon 5. Turns out, the population of New Zealand increased massively during FH 5’s launch window.

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