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Getting an Xbox Series X|S for the Holidays? Here’s What to Do First

Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of one of the most powerful video game consoles ever built (or you’re about to deliver an incredible gift to someone this holiday season). Either way, there’s a few things you may need help with before you start gaming once your new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S is out of the box. Here are our suggestions for what to do first:

Create a Free Xbox Account

First things first: You’ll need to create an account on for either yourself or your loved one to access everything an Xbox account can offer, like playing free-to-play online multiplayer games, engaging with the Xbox community, and more! Go here to here to get started.

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Parents: Once set up, it’s easy for you to check your child’s console activities from your phone with the Xbox Family Settings app, allowing you to set up screen time, content restrictions, chat access, adding friends, and spending. Even better, it’s easy to adjust access as they grow and earn your trust. Learn more about the Family Settings app here.

Upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate or Xbox Live Gold

Xbox has premium online subscriptions to sign up for that unlock several member benefits — you can decide which is best for you and your family. Xbox Live Gold gives you multiplayer access to all console games and provides exclusive weekly discounts through Deals with Gold and free games every month for you to keep with Games with Gold.

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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you all the benefits of Gold plus access to hundreds of high-quality games for you to play at once, including those from major Xbox franchises on day one like Halo, Gears of War, Forza, and many others including a wide variety of unique ID@Xbox games. And that’s just scratching the surface. Game Pass Ultimate also unlocks access to PC and cloud gaming features as well as EA Play with access to franchises like FIFA, Madden, Battlefield, and Star Wars.

You can also subscribe to Game Pass separately for either Console or PC for a lower price if an Ultimate membership seems more than necessary. You can also check out the first month of any plan for just $1 and then decide which is best for you and your gaming lifestyle.

Parents: Xbox Game Pass also includes access to tons of family friendly games, like LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay, Minecraft, and many more. Once you’ve completed the other steps below, you could even download a few games in advance…

Update Your Console

With your Xbox account in place, it’s time to get your console set up. There are some general instructions included in the box that comes with your console to guide you through connecting to your broadband internet connection and plugging into your HDMI-capable TV. Follow those and you should be mostly on your way to enjoying some gaming soon. But now comes one of the most important steps: Updating.

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It’s recommended you always update your console during setup before you attach any additional peripherals, such as external hard drives, battery charging stations, etc. This helps ensure maximum compatibility between your devices.

This can take some time depending on your broadband connection and how many updates the console needs to apply. This is also a great time to download the Xbox app for iOS or Android, which also includes some step-by-step instructions (and lets you manage your console from your smartphone).

Parents: We know you’ll be in a rush to get your system set up as quickly as possible so the kid(s) can jump right into Minecrafting and Fortniting. But it is worth taking the time to set up your precious dependents with a child account for them to play on, as the system will ask if children will be playing on this system during the “out of box experience.” Speaking from experience, we recommend you complete this step before gifting the new Xbox console to your kids. Perhaps you sneak out of bed and hook it up the night before. You can still wrap the big box and put it under the tree, maybe hide a puppy next to it if you’re feeling extra generous. Either way, it’s best to take care of these steps ahead of time so your kids’ first-time experience with the console isn’t staring at a update bar at the bottom of your television.

Adopt an Energy Saving Approach

Did you know you can help reduce emissions (and your energy bill) with Xbox? It’s true. By utilizing the Shutdown (energy saving) power option, you’ll use up to 20x less power when your console is turned off. Thanks to the Xbox Velocity Architecture and the Custom SSD (Solid State Disks) Internal Storage, the boot-up time for your console will still be extremely fast (comparable to that of an Xbox One console).

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So, what’s waiting an extra couple seconds before you start playing games when you can help the planet? Worth it, I say. You can learn about this and some other sustainable tips in our recent Xbox Wire feature, Five Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable with Xbox This Holiday Season.

Utilize the Many Accessibility Features on Xbox Series X|S

Thanks to feedback from the Gaming & Disability Community, Xbox games in the Microsoft Store can display tags that suggest accessibility features, making it easier to find games that meet specific needs and interests. Most game developers choose these tags if their games meet these criteria.

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Outside of the Store, the Xbox Series X|S features several other features to help with gaming. Copilot allows you to link two controllers so you can use them like a single controller; the Xbox Accessories app can let you configure the button layout on the Xbox Wireless Controller; Speech to text converts player speech or in-game chat that you can read on screen; Quick Settings allow you to quickly figure items like Night mode, High contrast, and more. This is by no means a complete list of features, but you can find the full range of accessibility settings here on the official Accessibility site on

Xbox also has the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which is designed primarily to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility. It functions as a unified hub for devices that help make gaming more accessible with a wide range of devices. It’s strengthened through partnerships with The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged, and others. You can learn more about the Xbox Adaptive Controller here.

Parents: The aforementioned Copilot setting is great to play with your kids if this is the first time they’re learning how to use an Xbox Wireless Controller. Take them for a spin in Forza Horizon 5, for example, helping to keep the car on the road. Or run around together in Fortnite as they learn how to distinguish character and camera control. This feature may not be available for every game, but it’s a fantastic way to be there at the start of their gaming journey.


Once again, welcome to the world of Xbox! A few other places you may want to check out would be our official Xbox Gear Shop for all the latest in Xbox clothing and accessories and the Microsoft Store on Xbox to grab the latest releases, blockbuster exclusives, season passes, add-on content, indie games and more – all at great prices (and even better with your 10% Store discount with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate).