At Least Microsoft Likes the Idea of Cross-Platform Gaming

It "makes a lot of sense," says Microsoft's Phil Spencer.

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Given my interest in “buy once, play anywhere” gaming, I was intrigued by this exchange between AusGamers and Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft Studios:

AusGamers: With Games For Windows Live shuttering and Windows 8 being a kind of ubiquitous OS for Microsoft products, is there any chance we’ll start seeing cross-platform play between Xbox One and PC now that the architecture is so similar and with, as you mentioned, the expanded Cloud capabilities server-side?

Phil: I’m not allowed to leak things [smiles]. But I think what you’re talking about makes a lot of sense. … This connected ecosystem across all the different devices is definitely where I think the future of gaming is going; you don’t have to do it as a developer, but you have the capability and I think a system like Xbox Live across all those screens where you know who someone is and who their friends are, what their Achievements are and their progression is really critical to that.

Cross-platform play is getting real whether Microsoft is doing anything with it or not. Earlier this month, Valve announced SteamOS, an open platform for living room gaming, with the promise that PC gamers could bring their existing game libraries and save progress.

While not confirming anything, Spencer’s comments suggest that Microsoft is working on something. The company did recently hire Jason Holtman, who used be in charge of Valve’s Steam service, and has mentioned “long-term plans to grow our support” for gaming on Windows. Cross-platform play is going to be huge, and the time to build it is now.

5 comments
ShObY_DNA
ShObY_DNA

cross-platform gaming has never been hindered by different architecture / hardware. the fact that 13 years ago, you could play Quake 3 on a PC against somebody playing on a Sega Dreamcast, or the fact that you could play NFS Underground on a PC against somebody on a Playstation 2, proved this a long time ago, .

the reason that cross-platform gaming has never been embraced is because of the advantage that PC gamers would have over console gamers. if you took two people with similar skills at playing, for example, COD, then the PC gamer would win every time due to the fact that they would be using a keyboard & mouse, as opposed to a pad on the console.

microsoft did not want to disappoint any of their Xbox customers by letting them get their behinds kicked every time by PC gamers, which is the main reason that cross-platform gaming has never taken off.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@ShObY_DNA For multiplayer, sure. But being able to buy a single-player game, play half of it  on an Xbox, then pick up where you left off on a PC has nothing to do with whether it creates a skill advantage.

ShObY_DNA
ShObY_DNA

@newmanjb I see what you mean, although it would slash the profits made by the devs and the publishers, so I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for it to happen! :)

ryanlee75
ryanlee75

@newmanjb @ShObY_DNA exactly.  only a small portion of gamers out there can afford to buy multiple copies of a game on all different platforms.  Which is one reason for the resale market but not the only reason.  Legally speaking, once a game is purchased for a certain platform, it really should be available to the buyer on any platform they use as they have bought the right to use it.  Multiple platforms should be allowed now as there is no longer any real excuse it cannot be done.  Once again, the choice by people will come down to greed or common sense fairness for all.  

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@ShObY_DNA @newmanjb I'm hoping they'll realize that not many people would buy two copies of a game, or pay extra for multiple platforms, and that having cross-platform play would be an effective anti-piracy measure that benefits the user at the same time. We'll see.