Universal Windows Apps are officially headed to the Xbox One this Summer. At Microsoft's GDC 2016 conference, the Xbox team talked up Windows 10 and how it plans to utilize the added versatility of the platform on a home console.
It all circles around the Universal Windows Platform (UWP,) which has gathered quite a lot of heat from developers and gamers as of late. By breaking down barriers between PC and Xbox, then unifying the development process of games and apps across all Windows 10 devices, the idea is that developers will have an easier time giving their products exposure on the Windows Store.
An Xbox spokesperson stated that the first wave of UWP titles have launched (Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition) already, and that the second wave is coming soon, with Quantum Break and Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition leading the charge.
We first heard about Universal Windows Apps nearly two years ago at Build 2014, with hints that the Xbox One would receive more than just games from the UWP. Desktop-grade applications were mentioned, too, like Microsoft's own suite of productivity tools, Office, and more.
Now that it seems like the UWP is taking shape, we should start seeing the apps roll in this Summer.
'Unification' is Microsoft's 2016 buzzword
Microsoft also announced that it plans to unify the Xbox and Windows Store into one portal for all things games, apps, and more.
The migration is said to happen sometime this year and will offer the features that gamers and developers expect out of the established Xbox store, except that it will be available on any Windows 10 PC, too.
On the surface, this seems to be an attempt at giving the Windows Store a hearty boost of things to buy and download, but it makes sense since all Windows 10 devices will operate on the UWP platform.
As far as what new features this could bring for gamers and developers alike, there are a few. If the Windows Store operates in parity across all Windows 10 devices, then it's probably (or at least, should be) high up on Microsoft's to-do list to make as many games – and their respective DLC – available on both platforms as possible.
I realize that I'm suggesting complete cross-compatibility. That is what I want, and I'm probably not alone in wanting that. If Microsoft is going through the hefty task of unifying two very different platforms, it might as well go all the way and translate all previous content into the UWP.
After all, Microsoft could use a killer announcement at E3 2016 to combat the hype surrounding the PlayStation VR.