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Phil Spencer on Cross Platform Play for Xbox One

by William Schwartz

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The PS3 has had some forays into cross platform play with PC players, most notably Portal 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. While Microsoft had explored cross platform play with Shadowrun, it was subsequently abandoned due to the the superiority of mouse and keyboard versus controllers for FPS’s. However, in an interview with AUSGamers, Phil Spencer hinted at the possibility of cross platform play for the Xbox One.

When asked about the possibility of cross-platform play, Phil Spencer smiled and said, “I’m not allowed to leak things. . But I think what you’re talking about makes a lot of sense.”

He went on to say, “Now you have differences in Windows gaming and console gaming around control and input… in fact if you go back to Shadow Run on Xbox 360 — something I worked on — we had PC players playing against Xbox 360 customers. We didn’t have tremendous success with that, but we learnt a lot from it. And then earlier this year we released Skulls of the Shogun, which was a game we launched on all three platforms on the same day, and you could start on one platform and then save the game to the Cloud and play across any of the screens and progress. And then Halo: Spartan Assault has some links between Halo 4 and Spartan Assault, even though they’re very different games. This connected ecosystem across all the different devices is definitely where I think the future of gaming is going; you don’t have to do it as a developer, but you have the capability and I think a system like Xbox Live across all those screens where you know who someone is and who their friends are, what their Achievements are and their progression is really critical to that.”

He also went on to talk about the upcoming Xbox Live improvements for the Xbox One. “We’re putting a lot of investment around Cloud, smart matchmaking systems, and we’re going to continue to invest. And based on adoption we see that our investment is in line with what they think it’s worth — they continue to subscribe and continue to use. Our usage is incredibly strong with Xbox Live, not just in games but across media, people playing games like Minecraft, games like Call of Duty — in the US the video streaming services like NetFlix… it’s [all] been an incredibly strong part of what Xbox has turned into, it’s really become an entertainment home for people.”

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