Microsoft is quite serious with their cross-platform plans
If you thought that Microsoft was only kidding around when they wanted to embrace all the available gaming platforms. Let me be the first to assure that this new Microsoft is anything but. In a recent bit of news from The Verge’s Tom Warren, Microsoft is set to release an SDK (Software Development Kit) that will allow game developers to incorporate Xbox Live features to titles that are playable across Xbox, PC, iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch. More of this will be made available during the upcoming GDC 2019 event that takes place on March 18, 2019.
This shouldn’t be completely new as several Microsoft Studio published titles on iOS and Android already have Xbox Live achievements. Those being Halo: Spartan Strike, Halo: Spartan Assault, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Age of Empires: Castle Siege and Microsoft Solitaire Collection. That’s just a handful of games, however, with this new GaaS (Games as a Service) push, there will be many more titles hitting those devices. Having Xbox Live cross-play enabled on those devices would be the next logical step. Especially now that we’re seeing a big push for cross-play across multiple gaming platforms. Reaching out to those platforms brings in a market that has been on a positive increase for years and connects those games onto one unified platform.
I definitely see the potential in this, especially when it comes to the mobile market. It’s been a dream of mine to see a cross-platform connected world, and I’ve often said this was the next evolution of gaming. Something to which many people have been vocal in saying this would never come to pass. Yet, here we are. Rocket League, Fortnite, Minecraft and now this. It’s very exciting indeed. Going even further, how about having Xbox Game Pass available for those devices as well. Now, that would be amazing and would extend the Xbox brand.
This does pose an interesting question. How will Apple, Google, and Nintendo respond to this? Sure, Microsoft’s intentions are noble and exciting, I’ll give them that. Yet, Apple has reportedly been working on their own gaming service. While Nintendo recently rolled out Nintendo Switch Online for their online gaming services. The only company that doesn’t have a dedicated gaming service is Google’s Android, but we never know what they’re planning until the last moment.
As for gamers, this does pose a serious question. Remember when Microsoft announced Xbox Play Anywhere? Suddenly Xbox gamers were concerned that Microsoft was getting out of the Xbox business. I can see such fears arising from this. Mainly the fear of Microsoft going 3rd party. However, Microsoft has mentioned they were into the Xbox brand for the long haul and this move is just more indication of such. I do have a question of my own regarding all this. If this does happen, what does Microsoft exclusive mean anymore? Why would we need an Xbox branded console if this brings native support of Microsoft published titles to various platforms?
I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out what exactly Microsoft is planning when the Game Developer’s Conference rolls around in March 2019.
Source: The Verge