Getting started

This article is a getting started guide for creators who want to develop games on Windows or Xbox.

Here are some questions to help you find the info you need:

Quick start guide

Steps to get into developing games right away.

Step 1: Get the software and tools

Make sure you have Windows 10 installed on your device and have the latest updates installed.

Install a suitable IDE like Visual Studio. Visual Studio Community 2017 is available for free download. For more information, see Visual Studio downloads.

If you plan to use a game engine and other middleware, see Bridges, game engines, and middleware section in the Windows game development guide. For information about developing Windows and Xbox games using a specific game engine, you'll need to go to the game engine's documentation.

Step 2: Prepare your hardware for development

If you're doing development for the first time, you'll need to enable Developer Mode on your device. For more information, see Enable your device for development.

For those who are planning to develop an Xbox game using your retail Xbox console, you'll also need to activate and enable Developer Mode on it. For more information, see Xbox Developer Mode activation and Getting started with UWP app development on Xbox.


You will need to sign up for a Partner Center account before you can enable Developer mode on your Xbox console. For more information about signing up for a Partner Center account, see Step 5 below.

Step 3: Run a sample and see how it works

To get started with UWP DirectX development, see Create a simple UWP game with DirectX. If you simply want to read and be acquainted with DirectX concepts like what a buffer is, see Direct3D graphics concepts.

For more samples, see Game samples.

Step 4: Consider joining a program

If you want to develop an Xbox game or use Xbox Live features in your game, join either the Xbox Live Creators Program or ID@Xbox program.

To learn more about Xbox Live features that are available to each of the programs, see Feature Table. For more information, see Developer programs.


Xbox Live Creators Program is available to all developers. Anyone can publish an Xbox game. To make your title part of the Xbox Live Creators Program, you simply have to enable this option from Partner Center. For more information about signing up for a Partner Center account, see Step 5 below.

Step 5: Sign up for a Partner Center account

A Partner Center account gives you access to Partner Center, which lets you manage and submit all of your apps and games for Windows devices in one place.

For Windows game development, you may choose to wait till you want access to Partner Center or when you want to use Xbox Live features in your game.

For Xbox game development, you should sign up for a Partner Center account as it's needed to set up your retail Xbox for development. See Step 2 for details.

For more information, see Publish Windows apps and games.