With E3 done and dusted, Microsoft launched two very big stones into the pool of console gaming. The first was the mysterious Project Scorpio, but the second is one that is far more ready for action. Their Xbox Play Anywhere program. With this new feature you would be able to play your Xbox One games on your PC, or play games you’ve bought from the Windows 10 store on your Xbox One. With that being said, there surely has to be some restrictions, right?
Unfortunately, that would be correct. The Microsoft page for their Xbox Play Anywhere program held more information for us over the E3 reveal. The store states that only games that support the feature will be able to be played on both the Xbox One and PC platforms. The only ones that have announced support so far are Sea of Thieves, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizons 3, ReCore, Halo Wars 2, ScaleBound, State of Decay 2, Ark: Survival Evolved, Cuphead, We Happy Few, Crackdown 3, and Killer Instinct Season 3. These titles are listed on the page as feature supporters, but there is another caveat – titles will be restricted to one platform until they are ported to the other.
Another restriction shown is that you have to be on Windows 10 for the goodness to work. For some, that may be a deal breaker. The operating system has issues that prevent many people from updating, and it might make developers stay away from the program, for they would have to put in large amounts of work for less exposure.
One of the other restrictions is that you may only run one instance of the games on either platform. Meaning, you can’t have a friend try a game on your console and you continue your game on your PC. The reasons to this haven’t been stated, but it very well might be to prevent de-syncing with the servers or corruption of save instances.
That being said, there are wonderful things that will come from the new cross-platform program. Developers will be able to develop using the latest Direct X, allowing for even better graphics without loss of performance on either platform. This will allow game studios to take greater strides in their design teams, allowing for games to be even more breathtaking.
The other good thing to come out of this is the cross-game support that was shown in the trailer that Microsoft had released. It showed friends playing competitively as they battled it out in their living room on their two separate machines. This may show the rise of cross-platform multiplayer, a thing that has been a rarity amongst the gaming community for some time. With games like Rocket League holding very minimal support, it would be awesome to see the new Xbox Community features work in tandem with this program.
Another pro is the cloud saving of your profile, making sure that your saves and account are linked together. This will allow people to play games and not fear loss of progress when they switch platforms. This is a considerable step up from USB save transferring where we risked losing files in the transfer or losing the stick to the infamous washer and dryer.
One of the questions left hanging is whether the program will have any need for Xbox Live Membership to transfer your saves. The reason this question is posed is from the past record of Microsoft Cloud Saves as they have locked them behind the shiny gates of an Xbox Live Gold Membership. Time will only tell as Microsoft announces more details of their program as it approaches its September 13th launch date.