GDC 2019 is fast approaching, and with it we're starting to get summaries of some of the talks developers are going to give at the event. A lot of the talks are very technical, about the minutia of software development, but one of the summaries in particular has some interesting information.
As first spotted by Windows Central, Microsoft is planning to present a new software development toolkit designed to help developers bring Xbox Live support to games on iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch, alongside their current support on Xbox One and PC. 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. Here's the information from the GDC schedule:
Xbox Live is one of the largest, most engaged gaming communities on the planet with decades of experience providing managed game services to developers that save you time and unlock all of the social and engagement features that players love.
Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK.
Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.
- 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 almost every screen.
- This will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms. Combined with PlayFab gaming services, this means less work for game developers and more time to focus on making games fun.
This isn't unprecedented: in order to play Minecraft on Nintendo Switch you have to sign into Xbox Live, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see more of this approach. It will also help some developers keep communities from being fragmented across platforms. It'll be interesting anyway to see whether developers take up this opportunity, in which case we'll start to see a lot more games with Xbox Live support on non-Microsoft systems.