Microsoft already stated that it was supporting cross-play with games on the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs or devices, starting with Fable Legends. It stepped up its game further by announcing today at a Game Developer Conference presentation that cross-buy, the ability to buy a game and have it available on all platforms, is coming as well.
The developers of games will ultimately have to decide whether they want to support cross-buy and/or cross-play, but Xbox Head Phil Spencer revealed there are some titles that have already committed to supporting it.
For example, Pinball FX is already out on the Xbox One and is coming to Windows 10 as well. Those that have already purchased this title will be able to download them for free from the Windows Store when the new operating system launches. If you purchase the game on Windows 10, it will also be available on your Xbox One. This applies to DLC, as well.
— Xbox (@Xbox) March 4, 2015
Meanwhile, the number of cross-play titles is expanding to include #IDARB and a new MOBA title, called Gigantic (which will also support cross-buy) coming this year. The latter will allow players to opt-in on whether they want to play others outside of the platform. This is all made possible thanks to Microsoft’s push to make Windows 10 a unified operating system for PCs, mobile devices, and consoles. Developers will be able to code games and apps in a “Universal Development Center” and submit them to one store to be distributed across platforms. Spencer claims that implementing cross-play is “super simple and easy.” Shovel Knight developers The Yacht Club needed only a day to port the game to Xbox One. The #IDARB developers experienced a similar timeframe in porting their game to PC.
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) March 4, 2015
The ID@Xbox independent game developer program is also being expanded to include Windows 10. The team behind the initiative at Microsoft will now support PC, tablets, and phones running the operating system, in addition to the console.
With so many Xbox One titles also being supported by Windows 10, Microsoft is making sure that gamers can use their controller, as well. A wireless receiver accessory will be available later this year so that Xbox One controllers can be used on Windows 10 PCs and devices. This is similar to the accessory that was released for Xbox 360 controllers and PCs.
Sony kicked off the cross-buy promotion craze with the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. It’s proven to be a successful formula that was extended to the PlayStation 4. Microsoft is right to pick it up for Xbox One and Windows 10. The fragmented Windows 8 Store for PC, tablets, and phone did not generate the kind of sales the company had hoped. A new unified approach may be the ticket to get more people to buy into the Windows ecosystem.