Today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox at Microsoft, shared the next step in the company’s plans for a unified vision for gaming across Windows 10 devices. And, it’s all about developers. Here at Microsoft, we share a commitment to making sure experiences across all devices are better than ever. That starts with making the development process easier by providing the tools and support our developers have asked for to reach billions of devices around the world.
As we press forward on the journey toward the launch of Windows 10, we’ll continue working hand-in-hand with our developers to ensure that together we bring the best possible gaming experiences to gamers. Let’s take a look at a handful of the details shared with game developers today at GDC:
- Xbox Live SDK Available for Windows 10: In January, we announced our commitment to bringing Xbox Live to Windows and today we announced that the Xbox Live SDK for Windows 10 is currently in the hands of managed partners to create new games. Soon it will be in the hands of a broader set of developers. This SDK will provide access to the vast majority of Xbox Live services currently available on Xbox One, under a shared set of APIs, integrated with the Windows Store. We are also committed to making Xbox Live accessible to all game developers, regardless of size, which is why we’re introducing a new tier of Xbox Live that is designed to allow any developer to engage with the Xbox Live community.
- Windows Universal App Platform: Windows 10 brings together one core operating system, one application platform, one gaming social network, one store, and one ingestion path across all Windows PCs, Tablets, Phones and Xbox One consoles – that’s more than 1.5 billion people. With the Universal App Platform, any developer can create a single project to target multiple devices. It will be easier than it has ever been to bring content to PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox consoles, and future Windows 10 devices like Microsoft HoloLens. Developers will be able to do this and more when Windows 10 is available this year.
- Windows Store: With the Windows Store, Microsoft is committed to delivering best-in-class scenarios for gamers and game developers. For developers, the promise of one store across devices means they will now have the ability and flexibility to deliver content across PCs, console, tablets, and phones, easily and quickly. Similarly, by enabling new experiences such as cross-buy, developers now have more flexibility on the features they deliver to gamers across Windows devices.
- Universal Development Center: The Universal Development Center is the developer portal to building and delivering games to the Windows Store. It provides fast, lightweight game submission and update capabilities within the developer’s direct control, as well as access to key metrics to understand their game’s performance. Improvements in platform, tools, and Xbox Live services, while reducing overhead of publishing, will foster more compelling game content and a richer, more engaged gaming community.
- DirectX 12: DirectX 12 enables PC developers to have a new level of power and control and is a single API developers can access across Windows devices. As shown with Fable Legends running on Unreal Engine 4, there has been a 20% improvement in performance. And as announced today, Epic is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which sets a new bar for visual fidelity in PC gaming.
- Accessories: All wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, we’ll be delivering a Wireless Adapter that will let you use current Xbox controllers and future devices wirelessly on your PCs.
Elite: Dangerous is Coming to Xbox One
We’ve long had a great publishing relationship with Frontier Developments, which is why we’re so happy to announce that their epic space adventure Elite: Dangerous will be coming to Xbox One this summer. Developed by famed designer and Frontier CEO David Braben, Elite: Dangerous combines elements of space adventure, resource trading, and combat simulation to create a wholly unique experience that’s quite literally out of this world.
ID@Xbox Program Comes to Windows 10
It’s been an amazing year since we showed off the first ID@Xbox pre-release games last year at GDC. Many ID@Xbox games have shipped, hundreds of games are in development, and more than 1,000 independent studios have Xbox One development kits in hand. Today, we revealed that ID@Xbox will be expanding to help developers succeed by reaching gamers on Xbox One and Windows 10.
Gigantic Comes to Windows 10 and Xbox One
We’re devoted to bringing the best games to Windows and Xbox which includes new IP and continued commitments from gamers’ favorite studios. Today we announced a partnership with Motiga to bring its first game, Gigantic, to Windows 10 and Xbox One. Gigantic is a five-on-five third-person battle arena game with a beautiful fantasy art style where you select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles and wield your way through an areas to defeat your opposition’s Guardian – while also protecting your own. Gigantic is optimized for both keyboard and mouse, and controller. Through the power of Xbox Live, we will be enabling cross-device play, and allowing gamers to choose how they want to play.
As announced on January 21, Microsoft HoloLens is the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer running Windows 10. Developers in the Windows ecosystem will be able to create games to reach the masses through a system where they can designate their game’s distribution even for future devices – devices like Microsoft HoloLens. The reaction to Microsoft HoloLens has been incredible. While there are going to be many uses and industries that take advantage of Microsoft HoloLens and everything that holographic computing has to offer, gaming is a huge opportunity. For all the game developers out there, we encourage you to join the Windows Insider Program to get the holographic APIs when available, and stay tuned for Build 2015, where we will share more details.
This is just a first look at some of the exciting updates coming that will make gaming even better on Windows 10 and Xbox. We will continue to gather feedback from the game development community on our plans to ensure the games and content on Windows 10 and Xbox is the best it can be for gamers and for developers.
Check back soon for a feature video of Phil’s talk from GDC 2015.