Microsoft talks Xbox Live & Windows 10 integration
With its announcements at the Game Developer Conference this week, Microsoft made it official. The company is using Windows 10 for a full targeted assault on PC gaming and turning Xbox Live into a cross-platform service for multiple types of devices.
Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke at length about Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Xbox Live plans during a keynote at the show. The announcements are roughly divided into platform changes, app changes and improvements coming for video game developers of all size.
Xbox Live SDK is what Microsoft is calling the software layer that’ll be included in Windows 10 and allow video game developers to access parts of Xbox Live like leaderboards and matchmaking. Microsoft is aiming for the SDK to include “the majority” of features currently available to Xbox One titles. The Xbox Live SDK itself will rely on the Windows Store to let users download games, and Microsoft is working on a new tier of Xbox Live for developers themselves. Microsoft plans to make the Xbox Live SDK available to a wide range of developers, and it’s already in the hands of big partners creating games for the service.
The company says in a press release on Xbox Wire that it’s committed to creating one store and game ecosystem. For developers that means they’ll have one way to submit their apps for all of Microsoft’s different devices. This is also means that developers will have the ability to let users purchase an app or game once and make it available across devices. It’s this announcement that should excite users the most. It’ll be entirely possible for them to purchase a single game and have versions for devices running Windows 10 and the Xbox One.
With the Windows 10 upgrade Microsoft is promising to deliver DirectX 12, a serious upgrade for the underlying software that powers the Xbox One and games on Windows PCs today. Developers can expect a 20% upgrade in performance. Whether Xbox One games already released will see that boost in performance without anymore work from developers is unclear.
Finally, Microsoft confirmed that its bringing its ID@Xbox program to Windows 10. Today, ID@Xbox is in charge of assisting independently developed games onto the Xbox Store. Spencer also confirmed Gigantic is coming to WIndows 10 and the Xbox One with Xbox Live functionality.
Microsoft isn’t expected to deliver Windows 10 late in 2015. Windows 10 will come to the Xbox One, Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs for free later this year.