Fix: Age of Empires 3 Failed to Initialize

The game Age of empires 3 gives an error condition “Age of Empires 3 initialization failed” upon launching when the specific graphics packages are not active on your computer or when the game has corrupt files and fails to initialize all the parameters.

This error is quite common and occurs on newly installed games as well. We will look at the most effective solutions out there and try solving the problem without much hassle. Make sure that you have an administrator account when following the solutions listed.

How to fix Age of Empires 3 initialization failed

  • Age of Empires 3 initialization failed Steam: This error occurs when the game is installed through the client Steam and fails to initialize properly.
  • Age of Empires 3 initialization failed Direct3D: This error signifies that the problem is with the module Direct3D as we will see in the solutions down below.
  • Age of Empires 3 won’t start: This issue happens when the game is unable to start when tried to launch on Windows 10 or 7.

Solution 1: Enabling DirectPlay

DirectPlay is a legacy API which was part of Microsoft’s DirectX. It is a network communication module which was developed for help in making games over any specific framework. Since the software is legacy, it is disabled by default. We will try to enable the module again and check if this solves the issue for us.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “Turn windows features on or off” and open the application in the result.

  1. Once the Windows features are open, expand the category “Legacy components” and enable the module “DirectPlay”.

  1. Once the module is activated, press OK to save changes and exit. Restart your computer and try launching Age of Empires 3 again.

Solution 2: Download latest version of DirectX

If your computer doesn’t have DirectX, you should navigate to the official website and download the latest version of the API. DirectX is an API which provides tools for developers to develop games and in the modern world, almost every game uses DirectX somewhere in their package.

Once you have downloaded the package, install it using administrative privileges. If you already have DirectX, make sure it is the latest version.

Solution 3: Installing latest version / Reinstalling

If the error still persists despite having the two modules listed above, you need to make sure that your Age of empires is the latest version released. Every now and then, developers release patches to fix bugs and introduce new features.

If Age of empires is the latest version, you need to reinstall the whole module after deleting the temporary files as well from the user. Make sure that config files are also deleted. If the error still persists, try installing the game in a new administrator user.

Note: You should also make sure that the latest graphics drivers are installed on your computer.


Bill Wilson

Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.