Since the launch of the Xbox One in 2013, Microsoft has made many incredible changes, additions and improvements to the Xbox brand and its online services. Game Pass is one such revolutionary service, offering a Netflix like buffet of content for one monthly price. It is also no secret that Microsoft is slowing transforming the Xbox brand from a hardware business to one that focusses on games and services. The very next evolution of this is Xbox Live cross-platform support. Bringing the popular gaming service to other consoles and platforms.
According to The Verge, the Seattle based company will soon release an all new Software Development Kit (SDK) for Xbox Live. The new SDK will allow game developers to incorporate Microsoft’s popular gaming service into any titles that run across personal computers (PC), Xbox, iOS, Android and even Nintendo Switch. PlayStation is noticeably missing from the list, but that is not a surprise given Sony’s reluctance to offer cross-play support in current generation games.
It is worth noting that some Microsoft Studios titles already have limited Xbox Live cross-play support in the form of Xbox Live Achievements. However, bringing over the full compliment of Xbox Live services to other platforms means that gamers will also have access to the service’s excellent voice and chat functions. Apparently the Xbox Live cross-platform support will allow developers to integrate “friends lists, multiplayer functionality, and achievements into existing [sic] games”.
According to Microsoft’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) listing, the move to making Xbox Live cross-platform will expand the service from “400 million gaming devices and a reach to over 68 million active players to over 2 billion devices”. Those are some very lofty goals, which could absolutely be reached if the service is adopted in the way that Microsoft hopes it will be. The new move is also directly in line with Microsoft’s Project xCloud streaming service, which has already been advertised as being mobile friendly.
If Microsoft has its way, gamers can look forward to an Xbox Live cross-platform future that includes a single sign on for chat, friends lists, game streaming and more. Personally, that sounds fantastic and I looking forward to that future.