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Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of games, said at the Game Developers Conference that the company continues to invest in a cross-platform ecosystem that allows people to play titles across Windows 10 PC, Xbox console, and Microsoft mobile devices.
That means that Microsoft will launch new tools for each of its major programs — such as its Xbox Live online service and ID@Xbox program for independent developers — so that developers can create games that will run across Microsoft’s family of devices. That includes Windows 10, Windows phone, and Xbox consoles.
Spencer said the company got a great reaction to its HoloLens augmented-reality glasses when they were announced at the Windows 10 unveiling. He said Microsoft’s Game Studios is making holographic 3D titles for HoloLens and would share details later about those releases.
“None of this matters if we don’t have great games,” Spencer said.
Additionally, Spencer announced that the Microsoft Xbox Live software development kit for Windows 10 is available to developers now.
Microsoft is now readying Xbox Live so that it can run across both Windows 10 and Microsoft’s game consoles. That means player recommendations, history, and achievements can follow people across multiple platforms.
“My hope is we will have a Windows release that is the best we’ve ever had for gamers,” Spencer said about Windows 10.
He said Microsoft wants to enable one identity, one universal app, one store, and one game that runs across all Windows devices. The one store part will likely make Valve, owner of the Steam digital distribution store, nervous. He noted the Windows Store reaches 240 countries. It’s an application in Windows that will evolve faster than Windows itself does, Spencer said.
“The core product of what you are building will extend across the whole Windows 10 community including Xbox,” he said. “Our investment in Windows Store has never been higher than it is now. You will be able to develop and distribute your game across the entire ecosystem using that one store.”
He noted how Minecraft, which Microsoft bought with its $2.5 billion purchase of Mojang last year, enables players to create their own games with the larger game. Microsoft will continue to work on tools that make that easier to do.
The company is offering sessions at GDC to train developers on how to make games for Windows 10. Spencer said Microsoft is enabling cross-platform play, but that means playing on Windows PCs or Microsoft consoles or Microsoft mobile devices. You can’t play cross-platform on Sony or Nintendo devices.
Spencer said that Epic Games is creating a version of Unreal Tournament that will run across Windows 10’s ecosystem. Microsoft also said its upcoming Fable Legends will run on Windows 10 and Xbox One.
Microsoft will release a wireless adapter for Windows that allows you to use Xbox One controllers and other peripheral devices that work with Windows 10 devices too.
Spencer invited game studio Motiga on stage to show a demo of Gigantic, an online battle game where teams fight against other teams. But you also play with giant Guardians who fight alongside you. Gigantic will be published on Windows 10 and Xbox One later this year, and players will be able to play the game on either Microsoft platform. Spencer said that the Motiga publishing deal shows that Microsoft is using the tools that it is sharing with third-party developers.
“We want to make sure that the tools we will make available to third parties are ones we have used to make our own games,” Spencer said.
Spencer also said that Elite: Dangerous will be coming to the Xbox One later this year.
“We are committed to this,” he said. “We are committed to the gaming space. We are committed to making [Windows 10] the best platform we’ve [ever had] for gamers.”