It feels like not that long ago that Xboxes and other consoles were simply a separate system, a dumb box that could only play the games that you could insert into it. Destined to only be dragged out and plugged in when they were used, they weren’t exactly smart devices. Of course, all that changed with the advent of Xbox Live, launched in 2005. Xbox Live was arguably the most successful internet-enabled console launch, and it exists to this day, offering Xbox owners the full digital experience.

So simple and the same as you would get on your PC

What online experience does Xbox offer?

Besides the ability to buy and own digital titles, there’s also the option of cloud storage, 4K video streaming from apps like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, plus even more to discover on all your favourite apps like YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud.

While many people use Xbox Live to play online multiplayer games with Xbox titles, you aren’t limited to the Xbox catalogue in terms of available games by any means. There are plenty of HTML5 games that you can play through the browser with your Xbox, both free and paid titles. And yes, there are many games that fully support play with the Xbox controller.

There are a few game sites out there where you can browse controller-compatible games and see what strikes your fancy. Let’s check them out.

Playboxie

Playboxie is one of the older Xbox HTML5 game sites around, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find games that will occupy you for days on end. One of the newly released games on Playboxie is in fact the legendary Snake II, if you can’t start your old Nokia phone by some strange twist of fate.

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Other titles in the collection include classics like Pac Man and Flappy Bird, Tetris and Pong. Sure, they’re no Borderlands 3, but old school gaming has just as much playability (and perhaps more addictive qualities) than the latest releases on Xbox.

Have a look around this site and try out some of the games to see how they play. You might just find yourself sinking several hours into the experience.

Itch.io

This game site offers a huge variety of games for play with a range of different platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and the browser. The selection of HTML5 games that are compatible with an Xbox controller is fairly substantial: there are 792 games available to choose from. 

You’ll find plenty of retro-style gaming titles and puzzle games aplenty to choose from. Support indie artists and check them out! Most titles are free to play, however some come with a small price tag attached.

Dogslots

Like playing slots in real life? Why not check out Dogslots in the Xbox browser. This extremely popular site is well known for offering thousands of free slots games which are traditionally only available through real money online casinos.

While it isn’t specifically designed to utilize all the buttons on your Xbox controller, you’ll still be able to have a great time playing these games online.

Nesbox

If you’re looking to play out Nintendo titles from NES, SNES, Genesis, Gameboy, and Gameboy Advance, then you are in luck. The Nesbox emulator allows you to use your Xbox to play titles from each of these platforms – provided you have the ROM of the game on your OneDrive account.

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This is excellent for people who played Nintendo games back in the day, but also for those who never got a chance to experience the wide range of games available. Emulators come for all different platforms, including Android (check out MyBoy), but this one specifically plays on the Xbox. Check it out.

But… how about Project xCloud?

Heard of Project xCloud yet? It’s Xbox game streaming directly to your Android device – no console needed! Xbox touts console-quality games such as Halo 5 and Gears 5, all available just with a compatible Android device, a compatible wireless Xbox controller, a 10Mbps connection (wifi or data) and the Xbox game streaming app. If you head on over to the link above you can sign up to try it out. While it’s not HTML5 games that you can access from your Xbox browser, it is a new way of gaming with your Xbox controller.

While Project xCloud is still in preview, it means that full functionality isn’t available yet and there may still be bugs in the system – but by all means, give it a go.

There’s much more to the Xbox than just Xbox games

As you can see, there’s plenty out there to play that doesn’t involve spending a dime (Project xCloud side). If you’re not feeling your current title list but don’t want to splash out on a new game, then try out the free HTML5 games available through the Xbox browser.