In an unprecedented move, Microsoft has announced that they are going to bring Xbox Live network to iOS and Android devices. Yesterday, the software giant launched a new software development kit for mobile game developers. This would bring Xbox Live features with cross-platform functionality to iOS and Android games. All famous Xbox Live perks like achievements, stats, friends list, clubs and Gamerscore would be making their way to Android and iOS.
This comes after many rumours and speculations about Microsoft changing their philosophy and trying to turn Xbox and Xbox Live into a service for all platforms rather than just their own. There have also been multiple reports of Microsoft considering the release of Xbox Game Pass and other popular services to devices other than the Xbox consoles or PCs. Game developers will have the option to choose the Xbox Live services that they wish to include with their games. Access to the services would also just require a single Microsoft account for users.
Microsoft has this vision for users to play all games on any platform of their choice without any cross-platform or service restrictions. “We believe so strongly in community, and Xbox Live really being at the heart of our gaming community,” said Kareem Choudhry, the gaming cloud chief of Microsoft. “If you watch what we have done, especially with Minecraft, over the past few years, we’ve taken Xbox Live to as many platforms Minecraft is on as possible. Really uniting all those communities together with a consistent singular experience for those gamers.”
Microsoft’s Vision for a United Gaming Industry:
Microsoft is taking the same approach as they took with Minecraft with the introduction of Xbox Live to Android and iOS. They are pushing towards this inclusive and united future where gamers can share experiences together seamlessly between different platforms. Reports of Xbox Live coming to the Nintendo Switch continue to ramp up but Microsoft might not be ready to take that leap yet. “Our goal is to really unite the 2 billion gamers of the world and we’re big fans of our Xbox Live community, but we don’t have any specific announcements as it relates to Switch today”, said Kareem Choudhry.
Microsoft has also been trying to push Sony into enabling cross-platform play for all third-party games with PlayStation 4 but Sony has taken a more conservative approach on that matter so far. Microsoft has even gone as far as to suggest Xbox Live coming to the PlayStation 4 if Sony were to allow it. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer has been very vocal lately about the need to enable crossplay and unite the gaming community in his vision for this utopian future where everyone gets along with each other.
Microsoft Game Stack:
The new software development kit comes as a result of Microsoft pushing for cloud gaming and integrated developer tools. Microsoft Game Stack integrates all of the developer tools and platforms from the company into a single platform. This would allow developers to make and launch cloud-connected games seamlessly under one platform. Microsoft also acquired PlayFab last year which, bundled with Azure, would allow developers to include matchmaking and voice chat with multiplayer servers. Game Stack will also include Windows, DirectX, Mixer, Power BI, Xbox Live and a plethora of other services. It is like a one-stop shop for game developers and gives an insight into Microsoft’s plans for the future.
After the announcement of Halo: Master Chief Collection releasing on Steam along with Halo Reach, and many other positive announcements in recent times, Microsoft has earned a lot of praise from users and critics alike. As services like Xbox Live and Game Pass continue to evolve, it looks like Microsoft has gradually won the hearts of the people and looks set to be the industry leader for the next generation of consoles.