Microsoft’s key takeaway for its Windows preview event today is that Windows 10 is everywhere – including Xbox. The gaming console’s inclusion in today’s announcements helped reinforce Redmond’s ambitious cross-device intentions.
Microsoft Xbox gaming lead Phil Spencer opened the company’s discussion of gaming by talking about how personal the experience is, and by highlighting Xbox Live’s 50 million members. He did so to lead into a discussion about how MS is making PC gaming more social and interactive in Windows 10.
That’s all part of the new Xbox app for Windows 10. This includes a collection of all games, played on all connected Microsoft Windows 10 devices, as well as well as Xbox. There’s also a friends list, message inbox and chat window (featuring both voice and text chat), and an activity feed for tracking achievements and activity. These are on any system that can run Windows 10.
The activity feed is an effort to turn Xbox into more of a social network than it has been, with game clip sharing in the same way that people will post videos and photos to FB and other destinations, Spencer said. The Xbox app also works with a range of Windows gaming options, including Steam, which means Microsoft is happy to work with players in ecosystems where they already have made considerable investments in service of more social gaming. A game DVR feature will make it possible to capture and share gaming moments throughout the OS.
“Bringing more power to Windows gaming is incredibly important to us,” Spencer added. That’s what’s behind DirectX 12, which increased game performance vs. DirectX 11 by up to 50 percent, while also cutting power consumption in half so that mobile games can look better while also being played longer. Unity has adopted DirectX 12, which means it’ll be available to a huge swath of developers out the gate.
Fable Legends got an on-stage demo, the upcoming sequel to the celebrated Xbox series. Developer Lionhead’s Lauren Carter showed it off at the event, playing on an Xbox One while Spencer joined in via the Xbox app on his Windows 10 PC. The whole point is that Microsoft is looking to make more games provide multiplayer across Windows 10, Xbox and various devices, all of which helps it turn Xbox into a real social network with maximum reach.