Microsoft has unveiled new plans that will expand Xbox Live to other platforms such as Nintendo Switch, Android devices, and Apple’s iOS as well. The plan is to make sure that players are connected across different devices. Microsoft thinks that the move will bring Xbox games closer to many people. The plans were leaked on the run-up to the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC). The annual event brings together video game professionals around the world and it’s slated to take place in San Francisco next month.
Microsoft will be hosting a panel during the event called “Xbox Live: Growing & Engaging Your Gaming Community Across Platforms.” The description of the panel posted on the GDC website didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. In fact, there were a few details there that gave us a clear view of what Microsoft intends to unveil during the event.
One thing we noticed is that Microsoft is going to expand Xbox Live from the current 400M gaming devices to over 2B devices. The company will also be offering a new Software Developer Kit (SDK) that will make it possible for game developers to connect various platforms such as iOS, Switch, and Android to Xbox.
The kit will also allow developers to connect players with every game in the Microsoft Store and Windows PCs.
So, why is this a ground-breaking step? First of all, it’s important to remember that Xbox Live is Microsoft’s online gaming platform. The platform allows gamers to connect and play games together. Traditionally, the platform has only been available to Xbox consoles and Windows computers. This means that people with devices using other operating systems were locked out. But this new cross-platform feature changes all that.
What makes it more interesting is the fact that Microsoft is actually allowing competitor platforms to have access to its games. This could open up new cross-platform cooperation between different tech companies which in turn will benefit gamers immensely. In addition to this, the cross-platform option can play a key role in unleashing the creativity of video game developers. There’s a feeling that one of the biggest challenges for developers is to work through various platforms.
For instance, if you’re developing a game for the Xbox One or Windows it’s very likely that you would need to have another version for iOS or Android users. This is just too much work and it hampers innovation and creativity in game development.
But working through multiple platforms solves the issue. From Microsoft’s perspective, the move could also be significant in opening up its gaming platform to more users in the near future. The company has often maintained that its long term goal is to make Xbox Live the go-to online gaming platform.
Attracting users with different devices is an important step towards this. More details about the new cross-platform capabilities for Xbox Live will be revealed at the GDC event next month. There could also be other announcements, especially regarding the Project xCloud service that Microsoft will launch later this year.