Xbox at GDC: The Return of Windows Gaming

This week the Games Developer Conference, GDC, was being held in San Francisco and  Microsoft was there to lay major changes to Xbox.

Phil Spencer took the stage to provide the big picture view of changes coming to Xbox and Windows 10. The first bit of news was the integration of Windows and Xbox. Xbox Live is being extended to all Windows 10; developers can now use the service without the hurdles they faced in the past. Microsoft made the Xbox Live SDK available to select developers yesterday. Spencer also announced the expansion of the Windows Universal app platform to Xbox One allowing game developers access to the Windows Store. He also announced a new unified developer portal, the Universal Development Center, and ID@Xbox indie game channel is expanding to the rest of the Windows channel.

Beyond developers and Live services there was DirectX 12. Spencer repeated what was known; DX12 will be exclusive to Windows 10. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to all Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 8.1 users. DX12 is an improvement over its predecessor with a focus on performance and battery.

The opening keynote’s biggest message was of commitment on improving the Xbox platform for game developers and a recommitment to gaming on Windows. A big aspect to the presentation was on improvements to cross gameplay. Spencer announced a number of titles that are launching on both Windows and Xbox simultaneously; titles include Cuphead, #IDARB, and Shovel Knights. Microsoft also announced Unreal Tournament 4 and Elite Dangerous were also coming to Windows 10 and Xbox.

Following the event Microsoft held a series of sessions talking about Xbox Live, cross platform gaming, and Windows 10’s app platform.

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