Phil Spencer hints that Xbox maker could open up play between console, PC and mobiles
Cross-platform play between Xbox One, PC and mobiles could be coming to Microsoft’s next generation console in future one its senior heads has hinted.
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, told AusGamers that he believes cross-platform play is the “future of gaming”, and previous Xbox titles have already laid foundations for what the game publisher may do next.
“This connected ecosystem across all the different devices is definitely where I think the future of gaming is going,” said Spencer.
“You don’t have to do it as a developer, but you have the capability and I think a system like Xbox Live across all those screens where you know who someone is and who their friends are, what their Achievements are and their progression is really critical to that.”
PlayStation has made cross-platform play a priority, making sure that, in theory, all PS4 games can be played remotely from PS Vita. And there have been hints that this could yet be extended to mobiles through the Sony-owned Gaikai cloud gaming service.
But the Xbox team has dabbled with cross-platform play itself, as Spencer explains: “I’m not allowed to leak things [smiles]. But I think what you’re talking about makes a lot of sense. Now you have differences in Windows gaming and console gaming around control and input... in fact if you go back to Shadow Run on Xbox 360 – something I worked on – we had PC players playing against Xbox 360 customers.
“We didn’t have tremendous success with that, but we learnt a lot from it. And then earlier this year we released Skulls of the Shogun, which was a game we launched on all three platforms on the same day, and you could start on one platform and then save the game to the Cloud and play across any of the screens and progress. And then Halo: Spartan Assault has some links between Halo 4 and Spartan Assault, even though they’re very different games.”
Spencer also said that Microsoft has reach out to hundreds of developers and was “surprised that [its plan] hasn’t leaked more than it has”, and added that discoverability will be a major factor in making its new ID@Xbox programme a success.
“[Independent developers] wanted full access to the platform, not just a development toolset that gave them some limited access… so we just wanted t make sure we had the right story and we were telling the story through the lens of the people that were really going to impact,” He said.