For more than a decade, when you think about Xbox Live, you are likely thinking of a black box that sits in your living room that connects to an online service. After all, the Xbox brand’s best asset is its online functionality and the Live service has proven to be the best-in-class online gaming platform in the console segment.
Starting today, Microsoft is bringing Xbox Live to additional platforms. Specifically, the company is releasing an SDK (software development kit) that will enable Android and iOS developers to take advantage of the Xbox Live community.
With the new SDK, developers will be able to leverage Xbox’s trusted game identity, cross-platform integration, achievements, and other services that the company hopes will entice mobile game developers to use its platform. The goal is that by using Xbox Live services, the mobile developer will be able to easily tap into the already established Xbox community to drive more adoption of the new application.
By opening up Xbox Live to other platforms, Microsoft is accelerating the slow pivot from the online service being tied explicitly to a console and instead positioning it as a fabric for online gaming. Couple this new SDK with Game Stack, that was also announced today, means that Microsoft is providing new front-end and back-end solutions that they hope will attract developers, large and small, to its online suite of services.
Rumors have been swirling for some time that Nintendo and Microsoft were up to ‘something’ and while it was initially rumored that GamePass was headed to the Switch, Xbox Live integration may make a bit more sense. Considering that Nintendo’s online platform is, ahem, lacking, with Game Stack and this SDK, the dream of Nintendo dropping its own online platform for Microsoft’s becomes, at least technically, possible.