Microsoft seem to aiming big this year, what with the announcement of their new Windows 10 operating system and their own virtual headset, ‘HoloLens‘, it looks like they’ve been busy, and it doesn’t stop there!

During the Game Developer’s Conference last week, Microsoft’s head of the video game division, Phil Spencer, detailed their plans for game makers to create universal applications that will be able to run on both the Xbox One and PCs using Windows 10, as well as smartphones, tablets and other devices running the upcoming version of Windows.

Spencer stated ‘our goal with gaming at Microsoft is to allow people to play games wherever they are… we know for developers that it’s critically important for you to reach those gamers’. He also admitted that ‘gaming was once central to what we did on Windows, but we lost our way’.

Thenceforth, Microsoft is working on cross-platform play. The general idea is to allow gamers to use Xbox Live as a hub for their gaming experience across all platforms. This will mean that games, DLCs, achievements, friends and more will transfer across platforms with ease. This will also mean gamers will have the ability to have a rather enjoyable multiplayer experience with friends who are playing on the Xbox, or on the PC.

Microsoft’s plans for cross-platform gameplay was hinted at the unveiling of the HoloLens and Windows 10 back in January, when they demonstrated ‘Fable Legends’, an upcoming Xbox One game, running on a PC. Spencer said ‘the marriage of Xbox One and Windows 10 would allow creators to make their games easily accessible to consumers, regardless of whether they switch between devices or where they buy apps’.

During the GDC (Game Developer’s Conference), Spencer demonstrated the cross-play functionality on stage with a pair of gamers on Xbox One facing off against another pair on a PC. Microsoft also announced a wireless adapter that would allow all Xbox One controllers to work on Windows 10 machines. Although it is already possible to use an Xbox controller on a PC, this adapter will apparently ‘streamline’ the process when using multiple controllers. Unfortunately the price for this adapter wasn’t announced at the conference, but we should expect to see it within the next few months.

Spencer described this year’s conference as ‘the most important’, followed by ‘not because we’re announcing a new console, not because of any games I’m going to announce today, but because this is the first time that all of Microsoft’s efforts in gaming will show up with one unified voice, with one unified vision around what we want to do and the impact we want to have on the games industry’.

Phew! This sounds really promising and is full of potential. We’re really excited to see this in action and cannot wait to play with people on different platforms. As always, we will keep you updated on new information as soon as it is announced. For now though, are you going to take advantage of cross-platform gameplay? Please let us know your thoughts either through our Facebook page or Twitter page, we’d love to hear from you!

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Dominic Joseph McLaughlin - Web Developer & Editorial Administrator.

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