So I found the CD set of Age of Empires 3 in a old box and decided to install it on my Windows 10 laptop. The install went fine nothing wrong there, but when I try to start up AoE it will show a screen that has play, uninstall, website and exit as the options. When I click on play it shows the loading screen and then an error pops up that says Initialization Failed. I tried enabling compatibility mode, but that didn't work so I'm here hoping someone else has had the same issue.

Just as a quick clarification, This is not the Steam version (Age of Empires III: Collections), this is the regular CD version (Age of Empires III).

1 Answer 1


Age of Empires 3 uses an old Windows feature called DirectPlay which is disabled by default in Windows 10. Here's how to turn it back on:

  • Open your Control Panel
  • Select Programs & Features
  • Select Turn Windows features on or off
  • Open the drop-down box labelled Legacy
  • Check the box marked DirectPlay
  • Save and exit

Hopefully you'll be able to install and play Age of Empires 3 now!

  • 1
    Appreciate it! That worked! Sep 11, 2017 at 6:23

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