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.