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Microsoft Talks Cross-Play Between Xbox One, Windows 8

By - Source: AusGamers | B 16 comments

Microsoft's Phil Spencer recently spoke to AusGamers about the idea of cross-platform play between the PC and Xbox consoles. He remained tight-lipped about the possibility in the upcoming Xbox One and Windows 8 PCs, but admitted that the idea makes a lot of sense. After all, both platforms are based on the Windows 8 kernel, both platforms support gamepads, and both have a huge revenue-generating audience.

Unfortunately, the PC side isn't quite that cut-and dry: Microsoft can control the hardware aspect of the console, but the company can't do the same with the PC. Even more, many PC gamers could have the upper hand by using the mouse and keyboard input unless Microsoft and developers decide to provide support on the Xbox One console, which could be a possibility.

"I'm not allowed to leak things," Spencer said. "But I think what you're talking about makes a lot of sense. Now, you have differences in Windows gaming and console gaming around control and input… in fact if you go back to Shadow Run on Xbox 360 – something I worked on – we had PC players playing against Xbox 360 customers. We didn't have tremendous success with that, but we learned a lot from it."

"And then earlier this year we released Skulls of the Shogun, which was a game we launched on all three platforms on the same day, and you could start on one platform and then save the game to the Cloud and play across any of the screens and progress," he added. "And then Halo: Spartan Assault has some links between Halo 4 and Spartan Assault, even though they're very different games."

He believes the future of gaming is a connected ecosystem across all the different devices. He points to Xbox Live and the apps on mobile devices that allows users to see what their friends are doing, what Achievements they've accomplished, and so on. Thus he doesn't predict Windows 8 gamers will be playing against Xbox One gamers in a player vs. player or co-op scenario.

Will that ever happen? At one time we were led to believe that eventually all Windows devices would have cross-platform games that could pit a Windows Phone user against an Xbox One owner, and titles that can be played on one device, saved to the cloud, and resumed on another. Currently, the "multiplayer" is locked to stat comparisons.

But as he describes above, the company is testing the cloud-based, cross-platform waters. Now that the Games for Windows LIVE Marketplace is closed, there's questions as to what Microsoft plans to do on the PC gaming front. Former Steam director of business development Jason Holtman recently confirmed that he is now working at Microsoft to focus on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment.

"I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I'm excited to be here," he said.

But here's something to keep in mind: game streaming. This will likely open the doors to cross-platform play across most devices including Windows-based smartphones and tablets, Android and iOS. Thus, like OnLive, Microsoft can keep the playing level even, and keep players locked into the Xbox Live network. Sources said that Microsoft was recently demonstrating Halo 4 streaming to a Windows Phone, so we're betting this is the direction Microsoft is taking.

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  • -4 Hide
    CaedenV , October 17, 2013 6:35 AM
    The fact that XB1 and win8PC cross platform is not the central focal point of this new console generation is exactly why it is going to fail unless they figure it out quickly. I already have a nice game rig at home, and have no interest for them to sell me almost the same hardware, with the same OS, but with less features and capability. But what I would not mind is that if I wanted to play multiplayer games with my xbox friends from my PC would be the requirements of having and using an xbox controller, kinnect, and a gold membership. I already have an xbox controller, and will probably get an XB1 controller for the PC when available because they are just nice controllers. The addition of Kinnect would only add an extra $100-150.
    I would much rather spend that kind of money than to buy a $4-500 console that I am only going to use for 2-3 games over it's 8 year lifespan as the vast bulk of my gaming will be on the PC.
  • 6 Hide
    ram1009 , October 17, 2013 7:33 AM
    I think the biggest advantage such a plan would have is against SONY. PS4 is making an OBVIOUS push to surpass XBOX. Microsoft needs something to offset this.
  • -1 Hide
    shin0bi272 , October 17, 2013 7:53 AM
    heh the cross platform will only be for co-op games or games that require windows users to use a touch screen or something lame like that.
  • 5 Hide
    JD88 , October 17, 2013 8:24 AM
    I'm okay with this as long as it isn't some hidden push by MS to make PC gamers pay for something like an Xbox gold subscription for it to work properly. Sounds exactly like something they would try to do.
  • 3 Hide
    Steveymoo , October 17, 2013 8:27 AM
    "Looks like meat's back on the menu boys!" - PC gamers.
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 17, 2013 8:38 AM
    "I'm not allowed to leak things,"
    That is as good as admitting the information is leak-worthy, PC gamers prepare to pwn console-n00bs
  • 2 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , October 17, 2013 8:45 AM
    Where have I heard this exact same line of BS before? Oh yes, right before the Xbox 360 launched. We had all of one (1) cross-play game in a decade.
  • 1 Hide
    stevejnb , October 17, 2013 8:49 AM
    "I'm not allowed to leak things,"
    That is as good as admitting the information is leak-worthy, PC gamers prepare to pwn console-n00bs

    It's also a good way to create buzz about a device's speculated capabilities whether they are there or not. Maybe there is something here, maybe not... Denying it doesn't make it a "yep, there is something worth hiding" type of case.
  • 4 Hide
    SkateZilla , October 17, 2013 8:51 AM
    Forza 5 on the PC so I can run it across 3 screens with my Fanatec CSR.
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 17, 2013 10:03 AM
    Should be a lot easier to do cross-platform if both use x86 and the same Win8 kernal. Absolute minimum for me would be Steam games on PC. MS could potentially kill SteamOS by only supporting Steam for Windows, assuming cross-platform becomes the next big battleground.
  • -2 Hide
    Shankovich , October 17, 2013 10:08 AM
    Why don't you just enforce a "must use gamepad" rule when cross platform playing fps games?
  • 0 Hide
    coolitic , October 17, 2013 12:35 PM
    And it is true that pc is better than console in almost every aspect (except for console exclusives and that consoles are cheaper)
    Mouse and keyboard beats controller and pc gets better gfx.

    Im not a console-hater, I just prefer PC. (but the PS4 does interest me)
  • 3 Hide
    Raymond Buckland , October 17, 2013 2:54 PM
    If microshaft requires the use of their stupid controllers or kinect to play against other xbox users then they are not going to gain much in the PC market. Because those who do play PC games on a controller (FPS) cannot keep up with a person who uses a keyboard and mouse. Besides, I find the controller, sluggish, stupid, and not quick enough to react.
  • 1 Hide
    ltdementhial , October 17, 2013 3:35 PM
    I just want Forza 5 on PC :(  i bought a 360 just because Forza 4 and im thinking about buying a Xbox One just for Forza 5.

    Project CARS beta is just not good enough yet, all those Sims are good some other not so much and i hate NFS Shift 2 with the same vacum sound on every car.
  • 1 Hide
    juanoxx , October 17, 2013 4:03 PM
    mmm console gamers...mmm... more tasty meat....
  • 0 Hide
    SeanD12548 , November 7, 2013 3:34 AM