At GDC 2019, Microsoft is set to debut a new cross-platform development platform with the goal of bringing Xbox Live support to games on Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, in addition to PC and Xbox consoles.
Microsoft already has a few games with Xbox Live support across mobile devices, most notably via Minecraft, which requires an Xbox Live login on Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch. Until now, Microsoft reserved Xbox Live support on those platforms for its own games, but now now, Microsoft is aiming to bring Xbox Live cross-platform play to even more titles. Developers will be able to bake cross-platform Xbox Live achievements, social systems, and multiplayer, into games built for mobile devices and Nintendo Switch, as part of its division-wide effort to grow Xbox Live's userbase.
The information comes from the GDC 2019 scheduling website, describing Microsoft's future plans for Xbox Live. Microsoft also plans to leverage its powerful PlayFab suite of backend tools as part of this package, aiming to streamline the process for developers building live games across multiple platforms.
Xbox Live is one of the largest, most engaged gaming communities on the planet with decades of experience providing managed game services to developers that save you time and unlock all of the social and engagement features that players love.
Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK.
Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.
- Xbox Live players are highly engaged and active on Xbox and PC, but now they can take their gaming achievement history, their friends list, their clubs, and more with them to almost every screen.
- This will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms. Combined with PlayFab gaming services, this means less work for game developers and more time to focus on making games fun.
There's a large disconnect between the playstyles of mobile gamers when compared to PC and console gamers, but the gap is closing thanks to games like Minecraft, Fortnite, and PUBG, which have all seen gigantic mobile engagement alongside their PC and console audiences. Cleary, Microsoft sees an opportunity to be at the fore of that trend.
As mobile devices become more viable as "core" gaming platforms, Microsoft's service presence on platforms like Android and iOS is becoming increasingly crucial. Combining this new SDK and streaming services like Project xCloud, Microsoft has a chance to tap into a huge new market, while also bringing traditional game developers on PC and console along for the ride. It'll be interesting to see if Redmond can pull it off.
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