Microsoft Continuing to Unify PC and Console Platforms

Last week, Microsoft held their annual Xbox Spring Showcase in San Francisco. Unlike years past, Microsoft decided to continue to expand the common understanding of the Xbox brand by including lots of PC focused news and information.

For what seems like 15 years now, Microsoft has been consistently dabbling in PC games in one way or another. Everybody remembers Games for Windows Live, right!? Well, Windows 10 has gotten Microsoft interested in the PC platform again and has pressed the issue by announcing several entries in their previously Xbox-exclusive titles will be available on the Windows 10 marketplace. Many games will include cross-save functionality, as well as cross-buy. The list of formerly Xbox-exclusive titles coming to PC in the next few months is pretty impressive. Games like Quantum Break, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and a PC-exclusive free-to-play version of Forza 6 subtitled “Apex Edition”. Full-disclosure: As of this writing the Windows 10 version of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition can suffer from serious issues depending on your current configuration. The Windows 10 launcher does not support SLI or Crossfire configurations as of this writing. Furthermore, the title seems to be having a bevvy of issues with AMD graphics cards across the board.

That is all well and good. But, where things got really interesting was when Phil Spencer started talking about the future of the Xbox One in an interview with Polygon. Spencer used the PC and mobile markets as an example of “decoupling” hardware from the ecosystem. His statements bring about vivid memories of N64 Expansion Paks and Sega 32X hardware add-ons. But, I am interested to see where they go with this. The idea that the Xbox One ecosystem will live on indefinitely through add-ons and complete hardware revisions with more horsepower is an interesting possibility. At this point, most of this is speculation and I am sure that Spencer will enlighten us all in June at the Microsoft Press Conference at E3.

Outside of that news, Microsoft had a fairly strong lineup of titles on display from first-party and third-party developers. As someone that has been ignoring his Xbox One more and more in favor of the smoother online experience and better graphics of the PS4, I am interested to see what Microsoft pulls out of their hat. I have said many times that I like when a company is on the ropes in the console race. That is when the most impressive innovation is created. The ball is in your court, Microsoft. Wow us.