Microsoft closes gap between Windows 10 and Xbox One with ‘crossplay’ plans
Thu 5 Mar 2015
In its attempt to make console gaming more accessible, Microsoft has announced that it will be developing universal apps which can run across Xbox One and Windows 10, as well as smartphones and other mobile devices using the upcoming OS.
“Our goal with gaming at Microsoft is to allow people to play games wherever they are […] We know for developers that it’s critically important for you to reach those gamers wherever they are,” said Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s video games branch at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday.
The expansion of the gaming apps into the PC and mobile world also includes an integration with Microsoft’s wearable smart glasses HoloLens, which creates a 3D holographic user experience through advanced sensor and spatial sound technology.
Spencer added that building the relationship between Xbox One and Windows 10 was crucial in ensuring that developers reach as many consumers as possible, not limited by devices or where they have purchased an app.
“We know there are billions of people that play games across all devices,” said Spencer. “Today, the world is segmented. You don’t have linkage really between the places that your customers are playing your games.”
Spencer demonstrated the new ‘crossplay’ technology on stage at the annual conference with the support of four gamers, a team of two on the Xbox One and two others on a PC, playing the multiplayer eSport game #IDARB.
Microsoft also announced that an adaptor was currently being developed to hook up wireless Xbox One controllers to PCs.
Following Spencer’s address, Xbox director of program management Michael Ybarra led a private showing of the new functionality – highlighting its ability to record and edit game clips over Windows 10, to find Xbox Live friends across a range of platforms, and to stream the Xbox One exclusive game Sunset Overdrive on a Microsoft Surface tablet.
He explained that game streaming would only be available on devices connected across the same network for the time being, but that Microsoft would be looking to release online capabilities soon.
This latest move from the tech giant shows its push to grapple back its position in the mobile computing revolution, as the booming smartphone and tablet market shadows its longstanding desktop and laptop business.