We’ve been hearing news about PS4 sales, Project Morpheus and Sony’s commanding presence in this generations console wars for some time now. We’ve also heard the drum beat of games, games, and more games from the Xbox team as they try and weather the onslaught of PlayStation 4 press. Well, for those of us who bought into the future the Xbox team sold us two years ago of a gaming console that doubled as the center of our media entertainment needs, it looks like Microsoft is finally getting around to fulfilling some of those promises.
Today, Xbox head Phil Spencer is using the Game Developers Conference (GDC) to unveil Microsoft’s plans to seamlessly integrate Windows 10 with it’s Xbox and tablet business. Spencer and the Xbox team are carefully plotting a course that will have the Xbox console expand beyond the boarders of entertainment while still focusing on it’s core aspect of gaming.
For starters, Spencer announced that Other Ocean’s sports platformer IDARB, and space trading game Elite Dangerous will be cross-play enabled for Xbox One and Windows 10 tablets and PC, sort of the mythical game bridging Microsoft has promised before, but it seems like Windows 10 will finally able to deliver that experience.
Spencer also is speaking about the Windows Universal App Platform. This platform will allow not only game developers to create the same game across tablets, Windows 10 pcs and eventually the HoloLens. Admittedly each platform will host their own display inputs and resolutions, this is can be huge gain for developers looking to journey beyond the confines of the typical couched experience.
Another advantage of Universal apps and developing for the Xbox One will be the unified Windows Store. This unification will now enable developers to create a “cross-buy” and “cross-use” experience. While it’s not something that will be mandated, it would advantageous for developers to seek a seamless experience with their properties, allowing players to buy games on one platform and access them across platforms.
Finally, Spencer and team announced that a new Xbox Live SDK will be released for some “early adopter” developers today with a 12 month roll out of full API access. There will be a Universal Development Center which will act as a central tool hub for developers looking to bring games to multiple devices if they choose to.