Appearing today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced a number of details of interest to gamers that wish to target both Xbox and Windows 10.
Here’s what Mr. Spencer announced. (I’m leaving out information we already knew about, like the universal app platform.)
Xbox Live SDK for Windows 10 availability update. This is the big one: Microsoft announced that the Xbox Live SDK for Windows 10 is “currently in the hands of managed partners to create new games.” But it will soon be provided to a broader set of developers, presumably at Build in April. “This SDK will provide access to the vast majority of Xbox Live services currently available on Xbox One, under a shared set of APIs, integrated with the Windows Store,” Microsoft notes. “We are also committed to making Xbox Live accessible to all game developers, regardless of size, which is why we’re introducing a new tier of Xbox Live that is designed to allow any developer to engage with the Xbox Live community.”
Microsoft games. Spencer claimed that “most” first party games will be available for both Windows 10 and Xbox One going forward.
Windows Store. Microsoft is committing to delivering best-in-class scenarios for gamers and game developers via the Windows Store. Not a lot specifics here beyond the next feature, which is tied to Windows Store (on Windows).
Cross-buy. Developers can opt to sell a game once and then make versions of the game available to the customer on other platforms for free. This actually already exists today between Windows 8.x and Windows Phone, of course, but cross-buy will include Xbox as well.
Universal Development Center. This new developer portal will help developers build and deliver games to Windows Store. “It provides fast, lightweight game submission and update capabilities within the developer’s direct control,” Microsoft says, “as well as access to key metrics to understand their game’s performance. Improvements in platform, tools, and Xbox Live services, while reducing overhead of publishing, will foster more compelling game content and a richer, more engaged gaming community.”
Xbox One wireless accessories on Windows 10. All wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward, Spencer said. Microsoft plans a Wireless Adapter that will let gamers use current Xbox controllers and future devices wirelessly on Windows 10 PCs and devices.
[email protected] on Windows 10. Microsoft’s independent developer program for Xbox One is coming to Windows 10, allowing them to self-publish on phones, tablets and PCs too.
Games on HoloLens. Windows game developers will be able to create games for future devices, including Microsoft HoloLens. Microsoft encourages developers to join the Windows Insider Program to get the holographic APIs as soon as they become available, and to stay tuned for Build 2015, where it will share more details about these APIs and HoloLens gaming.
New games. Of course, Spencer couldn’t ignore a few cool new games coming down the pike, including Gigantic, a five-on-five third-person battle arena game that is coming to both Windows 10 and Xbox One. Pinball FX2 is coming to Windows 10. And Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One.