Microsoft's Xbox Backwards Compatibility team will be detailing the company's upcoming game streaming tech, Project xCloud, at this year's GDC event.
Launched in 2002 for the original Xbox console, Microsoft's Xbox Live is a combination of digital distribution and multiplayer gaming platform - the latter, in most cases, requiring a paid subscription known as Xbox Live Gold for which players get cloud saves, discounts on games, the ability to play multiplayer titles, and a selection of free games each month. According to Windows Central, the platform-holder is looking to debut a new cross-format development platform at GDC 2019, with a view to bringing Xbox Live to other formats beyond Xbox and PC.
Microsoft has telegraphed plans to bring support for its Xbox Live service to non-Xbox devices, including smartphones, tablets, and the Nintendo Switch, as part of an effort to promote cross-platform gaming. The development "will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms", it goes on to say. The idea is that it can provide tools to developers that allow them to support achievements, social alerts, and multiplayer in games across platforms via a single Microsoft login.
Xbox Live players are highly engaged and active on Xbox and PC, but now they can take their gaming achievement history, their friends list, their clubs, and more with them to nearly every screen. Almost half a billion devices isn't anything to sneeze at, but quadrupling that number to reach 2 billion devices by supporting additional devices would make Xbox Live the most expansive platform around. This kind of cross-functionality of the service could make Xbox Live a far more appealing alternative to current social gaming options.
Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger.
It wasn't immediately clear from the session description when consumers could expect to see the functionality in the wild, and Microsoft representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.