DirectPlay was once a prominent technology used by gamers worldwide. It served as a networking communication library available in earlier versions of Windows. But what is DirectPlay, and how can you get it on Windows 10? In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know.

What is DirectPlay?

DirectPlay is a high-level software interface that forms part of Microsoft’s DirectX application programming interface (API). It was developed to provide a streamlined way to handle communication over a network, especially for multiplayer gaming.

  1. Networking Layer: DirectPlay acts as a networking layer, abstracting the underlying protocol (such as TCP/IP) to simplify the process of connecting players in a game.
  2. Session Management: It manages sessions between hosts and players, allowing for easy creation, joining, and management of multiplayer game sessions.
  3. Data Communication: DirectPlay handles data communication between players, ensuring that information is sent and received properly, facilitating game synchronization.
  4. Lobbying Support: It offers support for game lobbies, where players can gather before starting a game, facilitating matchmaking.

Why Use DirectPlay?

Even though DirectPlay is considered a legacy technology, it still has its applications and relevance, especially for older games and software.

Benefits of DirectPlay

  1. Simplification of Networking Tasks: DirectPlay takes away the complexity of networking programming, allowing developers to focus on game design and functionality rather than intricate networking details.
  2. Compatibility with Older Games: Many older games were built using DirectPlay. Enabling it on modern systems like Windows 10 allows these classics to be played without issues.
  3. Cross-Platform Potential: In its time, DirectPlay supported various platforms, enabling cross-platform play.

Installing DirectPlay on Windows 10

DirectPlay is a legacy component, but it can still be enabled on Windows 10. It may be necessary for running certain older games or applications that rely on this technology. Below is a step-by-step guide to install DirectPlay on your Windows 10 system:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Check System Requirements: Ensure your Windows 10 system is up to date, and you have administrator rights to change system settings.
  2. Enable DirectPlay Feature:
    • Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type ‘Control Panel’ and press Enter.
  • Navigate to ‘Programs’ 

and then click on ‘Turn Windows features on or off’.

  • Scroll down to ‘Legacy Components’.
  • Check the box next to ‘DirectPlay’ and click ‘OK’.


If you encounter issues while enabling DirectPlay, consider the following troubleshooting steps:

Common Issues and Resolutions

  • DirectPlay Not Showing in the List:
    • Make sure you’re using an edition of Windows 10 that supports legacy components.
  • Failure During Installation:
    • Restart your computer and try the process again.
    • Ensure you’re logged in as an administrator.
    • Update Windows 10 to the latest version, as outdated versions may cause compatibility issues.

By following the instructions and possible troubleshooting steps, you should successfully enable DirectPlay on your Windows 10 system. Whether you are a gamer looking to play a classic title or a developer needing DirectPlay for a particular project, these steps will guide you through the process without unnecessary complexity.


Getting DirectPlay on Windows 10 can seem complex, but by following this guide, you’ll have it up and running in no time. Whether for nostalgic gaming or specific development needs, DirectPlay continues to hold its place in the digital world.