Microsoft is preparing to offer a new level of cross-platform support for Xbox Live, in the form of a software development kit that will allow developers to integrate Xbox Live into Nintendo Switch and mobile devices with iOS and Android.
The early reveal comes courtesy of Microsoft's own session listing for next month's Game Developers Conference (GDC), first spotted by Windows Central.
Some mobile games from Microsoft Studios, like Minecraft, already have limited support for Xbox Live Achievements, but if the GDC listing is anything to go by, Xbox Live is soon to be much more accessible and fully featured on mobile. The move will be the first time that Microsoft integrates Xbox Live achievements, friends, clubs and game history into non-Microsoft owned platforms.
According to the listing: "Xbox Live is expanding from 400 million gaming devices and a reach to over 68 million active players to over 2 billion devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK".
It seems that Microsoft vision for gaming extends far beyond just Xbox and Windows now. The computer giant is incorporating a strategy that involves taking its software, services and games to platforms that were previously seen as enemy territory. This ties in with a similar broad scope shown with Microsoft's upcoming xCloud game streaming, slated for next year, which will service mobile devices as well as PCs and consoles.
In theory, a cross platform Xbox Live could combine with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass to become a one stop subscription service that lets you play your games on whatever hardware you happen to have to hand, the much coveted 'Netflix for video games'. You could for example, start the game on your Android smartphone during your commute, then pick it up at home on your PC or Switch from where you left off.
The idea is that even if gamers opt for rival consoles or devices, they could still be tempted into Microsoft's ecosystem for the social and multiplayer services like racking up achievements or chatting to friends, especially if developers encourage them to do so by using the new XDK. Once the players are connected, of course, the more likely it is that they'll be tempted to subscribe/buy services through Xbox Live.
Noticeably absent from the compatibility list however, is Sony PlayStation. Xbox's main rival in the console space has historically resisted cross-play and connectivity to rival platforms. No doubt Sony has its own counter-move in the works to offer. We'll know more about Microsoft’s plans when it is officially unveiled at GDC, which opens on March 18.
Do you use Xbox Live? How would you feel about using it on your mobile device or Switch?
Source: Windows Central