Microsoft are preparing a tool that allows developers to integrate Xbox Live services directly into their own games, regardless of platform.
Originally spotted by Windows Central, Microsoft has scheduled a talk at the Game Developers Conference in March titled: ‘Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players across platforms.’
A handful of in-house titles already operate on Xbox Live’s cross platform framework; Microsoft-owned Minecraft has required an Xbox Live account to play, on all platforms, for a while now. However, this will be the first time third-party developers will have access to Xbox Live friends lists, multiplayer gaming and achievements, and the ability to integrate them into their multi-platform games.
The move represents a wider push from Microsoft to cross platform support. The Xbox console is becoming far less central in Microsoft’s gaming arsenal, with many ‘Xbox exclusive’ titles available on PC as standard. Microsoft are also working on a mobile game streaming service, representing a further move away from the home console.
This will be the first time third-party developers will have access to Xbox Live friends lists, multiplayer gaming and achievements
Outside Xbox Live, popular titles such as Rocket League and Fortnite have encouraged cross platform play, much to the discontent of rival Sony, who initially blocked cross platform play on their Playstation consoles. Whilst this has been tentatively reversed, Microsoft’s move shows a clear vote of support for cross platform titles.
Allowing developers the opportunity to build cross platform games on the Xbox Live framework is a huge revenue opportunity for Microsoft. If Xbox Live can be solidified as the go-to cross platform service on all devices, it will clearly work in Microsoft’s favour. For gamers, this may also be a welcome move, with the option to pay only a single subscription for all gaming services on numerous platforms.