Microsoft says it plans to talk a lot more about how the Xbox ecosystem will fit into devices running Windows 10 at the Games Developer Conference next month.
The company, which revealed that Xbox would play a major part in its upcoming Windows 10 operating system last month, talked more about their plans for GDC 15 in a post on Xbox Wire. While Xbox always has a presence at the event, the detailed list of happenings indicates Xbox is taking its mandate to provide a best-in-class PC gaming experience very seriously.
It appears that Microsoft’s presence at GDC 2015 will be split pretty evenly between focusing on the Xbox One console it launched in 2013 and jump starting development of Windows 10 games. Xbox Head Phil Spencer will present on March 4th and he’ll focus on the how developers can create Xbox titles for PC and console. The company won’t live stream that event, but will provide a video recording later that day.
One of the 16 sessions Microsoft plans to hold includes more details about DirectX 12, an upgrade to the technology that already powers the Xbox One. The hope is that DirectX 12 will improve the performance of games on both of Microsoft’s platforms. Microsoft says that at some point during the conference it’ll share details on how developers will be able to create “cross-device multiplayer experiences with Xbox Live.” During the Windows 10 Media Briefing Microsoft revealed that some games will allow Xbox on PC gamers to team up with friends and family enjoying games on their Xbox One console. It’s already said that Fable Legends will support cross-platform play.
All told, the stage is set for Microsoft’s next big offensive in gaming and it appears the company is going after PC gaming like it never has before. That’s big because what we know about Windows 10 and what it’ll offer in terms of Xbox functionality should already have services like Steam a bit worried.
Replacing the Xbox SmartGlass app in Windows 10 will be a companion app simply named Xbox. This Xbox app will do a lot of what SmartGlass did before, users will be able to check their Xbox Live messages, browse their achievements and shop for new games. What’s different is that Microsoft is turning Xbox on Windows 10 into a console in its own right.
Microsoft is giving PC game makers direct access to the save Xbox Live systems that they have access to on its Xbox One console. Multiplayer is included in this, but Achievements seem to be layered in there too. Accessories purchased for the Xbox One will work with PCs running Windows 10, meaning users will the operating system will be able to use their Xbox gaming gear as PC gaming gear whenever they want. When users are at home they’ll be able to stream games from their console and play them on their computer. In that way the new Xbox app for Windows 10 is sort of like the Remote Play app for PS4 and PS3 owners.
Whether Microsoft will be successful with Xbox on Windows 10 is unclear. Today, PC gaming is dominated by Steam. Rather than try to completely replace Stream, Microsoft says that some of its Game DVR features for Windows 10 will integrate with the PC gaming service and social network. With a key combination Windows 10 users will be able to capture video directly from the games they enjoy on Steam and smaller services like EA’s Origin. These clips will still get uploaded to the Xbox Live profile of the user logged in, just like Xbox One games.
Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 as a limited-time free update to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users later this year.