Offer users the latest iPhone with 16GB of storage and they happily open their wallet. Take away a core selling point of your entertainment console at launch and no one seems bothered. I’ve managed to make it through the last few years or so exclusively covering technology by telling myself there’s very little that entertainment lovers will rise up against. Late last week, one of the executives in charge at 343 Industries managed to stumble upon one thing that will get folks up in arms.
Frank O’Conner of 343 Industries has been on the receiving end of tons of criticism this week after he said in a livestream for GamesRadar that he couldn’t rule out the possibility of there being a Halo 5: Guardians release for Windows PCs.
I like to begin every Sunday Sit-Down by posing a question. This week’s question; are you really so attached to a physical box sitting underneath your console that you feel threatened by someone merely suggesting that one of their landmark titles in a franchise actually make it to more of than just the fraction of their users that own Xbox Ones?
“There is plenty of chance that Halo 5 could appear on the PC. Nothing to announce at this point, but it’s absolutely not out of the bounds of reason. We developed the game on an Intel platform. It wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world to move it to PC and take advantage of PC stuff. But nothing I announce today on this chat.” – Frank O’Connor
Theoretically speaking – which O’Connor was – there really isn’t anything holding the company back from bringing Halo 5: Guardians to PCs. In 2013 Microsoft rebuilt the Xbox One experience to run natively on Windows. That is to say, the company has spent years rewriting the Xbox’s every system, from Xbox Live to every feature– so that they work on processors and chipsets closer to what’s inside your PC. Yes, that Xbox One, with its silky black finish, is a gaming PC with a fancy case. Hell, Xbox One will run Windows 10 within the next month, only you’ll know it as the New Xbox One Experience.
Doing this allowed the company to use those same services and infrastructure for PCs running Windows 10. Xbox SmartGlass is just a companion app in Windows 8. In Microsoft’s latest operating system it provides access to Xbox Live in most forms. You can share activity, record videos from your PC games, earn achievements from games downloaded through Xbox Live and more.
The Xbox One Wireless Controller and other accessories are PC capable and new games will let Xbox One and PC users play together for the first time ever. (Which could turn out to be Fable Legends biggest feature.) The Windows Store is picking desktop app downloads in the coming months. Almost everything Microsoft would need to deliver Halo 5: Guardians and other Microsoft Studio made games is in place.
Microsoft is clearly building out a platform here. It’s seems that some might have mistaken that platform for the Xbox One. The Xbox has always been and will always be a conduit to which Microsoft gets you your entertainment wares. The reason the company got into the business in the first place was to sell games and conquer entertainment.
The platform, those things you like about the Xbox experience, aren’t tied to a piece of hardware. They’re tied to Xbox Live. Xbox Live is what connects you with your friends and gets you the latest games. Xbox Live is what lets you unlock achievements and match you up with similar players. Xbox Live Cloud Compute is what powers the team of Spartans you’ll command in Halo 5: Guardians.
Xbox Live is what makes it all happen.
Xbox Live is what makes it all happen. Microsoft needs big-name games to be successful in the PC gaming space. The company absolutely should make Halo 5: Guardians available to PC players at some point, just as they plan to do with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. People who are worried that making the Xbox experience available on more devices could lead to the demise of the Xbox One are selling the idea of consoles short. You buy a console because it’s a pre-packaged experience that always works and doesn’t need to be upgraded. The masses aren’t suddenly all going to go snapping up Alienware PCs. Even if they did, Microsoft and the Halo community still wins.
The Xbox One is just wires and lights in a box. Now pipe down and let these people create the biggest, versatile gaming service the world has ever seen.