Nintendo has proven it wasn’t out of the running yet in the gaming console race by breaking records last year with the Switch. But while Sony seems to be unfazed by the threat and remains bullish on its current strategies, Microsoft may be trying to take on the gaming market from a different angle. While the fruits are still a few years away, the company seems to be planting the seeds for an Xbox gaming experience that spans multiple devices and platforms, even those from its rivals.
GDC has become an opportune time for giant companies to announce new products, be it hardware or games, or to tease both developers and gamers about what’s yet to come. And while GDC 2019 is still more than a month away, Microsoft seems to have already made a big splash, intentionally or otherwise.
Spotted by G4G Media’s @Avers, Microsoft has scheduled a session to detail plans for an upcoming SDK. While that may not be exciting, what this SDK or “XDK” will do is sending gamers and developers in a flurry of speculation and anticipation. In a nutshell, Microsoft will be making its Xbox Live available on Android, iOS, and even the Nintendo Switch in a much larger way.
Granted, Xbox Live is already available on those platforms, but with limited functionality. It lets you chat with your Xbox Live friends or see what they’re up to. In Microsoft-owned cross-platform games like Minecraft, it does let you sync your achievements. But in the bright future Microsoft is envisioning, you will be able to sync your achievements, friends list, clubs, and more, regardless what gaming device you’re on. Except Sony’s, because Microsoft and Nintendo are still mad over that.
This pleasant surprise isn’t really out of the ordinary, given Microsoft’s moves in the gaming market. Just like it is positioning Windows 10 as a service rather than a standalone product, it seems to also be moving towards an Xbox ecosystem that is more agnostic on what device you’re playing on. Along with Project xCloud, it might no longer matter if you’re playing on an Xbox, a PC, a Switch, or even a phone. All that matters to Microsoft is that you’re using their technology to make and play games.