Microsoft’s ambitious Project Spark open world game creator launched in beta on Windows 8.1 back in December, with the promise that it would make its way to the Xbox One eventually, too. Today is the day that it ships on the next-generation gaming console, making it possible for Spark creators to build games on Windows 8.1 and play on their Xbox One, or vice versa.
The beta so far has amassed 250,000 sign-ups, according to Microsoft, with “hundreds” more adding their names to the list daily. Microsoft is gating access to the open game building tool, which is likely a wise idea given that it’s a collaborative game creation engine that must carry a heavy server load, and also likely brings a number of challenges in terms of making sure user-created content is appropriate, fun and engaging.
Expansion to Xbox One could open up the gates to a new audience of potential creators, but it’s probably more interesting as a way to get gamers thinking about designing for different platforms, and evaluating their creations in light of the specific demands of console tech. This is also a prime example of how Microsoft’s decision to go with x86-based processor architecture makes it easier to build cross-platform experiences that extend to both Windows and Xbox – seamless cross-platform play like this likely would’ve been far more technically challenging, if not impossible, with the Xbox 360.
To get started with the Spark beta, you still have to go sign up at Microsoft’s teaser page.