This week has already been a great one for PC gamers. One of the highlights was the very first PC Gaming Show, in which the community was able to celebrate with some of the biggest names in PC gaming and see the innovations that lie ahead. As one of the sponsors of the event, Xbox was on hand to join in on the celebration and share more news about the future of PC gaming on Windows 10.
Attending in support of the multiple Windows 10 developers at the PC Gaming Show, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer briefly took the stage for a chat with show moderator and pro-gaming all-star Sean “Day” Plott. Plott got right into it, bluntly asking why Spencer was representing Xbox at a show dedicated to PC gaming. Spencer replied with equal frankness: “I wanted to have the opportunity to come here, because there have been times in our past where Microsoft has maybe lost our way with PC gaming,” he said. “But what people have done on PC is critical to our success, and critical to Windows’ success. So it’s great to get the opportunity to come here and talk directly to the fans and the press.”
Plott then asked Spencer for details about how Microsoft has re-focused its philosophy toward PC games this time around. Spencer responded by explaining how Windows 10 is designed with developers in mind. “We have Windows 10 coming out in July, and one of the early moves was to make it a free upgrade,” he said. “Really, we thought about that from a developers’ standpoint, that as developers look at a common ecosystem, with everybody on one version of Windows, it just makes it easier for people who are developing games. Building DirectX 12 and making it common across our platform, and Xbox Live with the same API set and same service – we’re just trying to make it easier for developers as they’re developing Windows games.”
Next, Plott asked, “So is the goal to have a wide variety of cross-platform titles?”
“There are a lot of opportunities for cross-platform,” Spencer said, “but I also think there are games that exist on a television, and there are games that exist with a keyboard and mouse on the PC. It’s not our job to dictate where games are developed or the kinds of games developers want to build. But giving developers the options, the opportunity, creating the widest canvas we can for creativity – what I’ve seen, in my time in the gaming space, is that that leads to the best games. And I think that’s why we’re all here.”
After he was asked onstage about what’s coming up next for Xbox on Windows 10, Spencer revealed that Microsoft Studios is both developing new properties for and bringing existing blockbuster franchises to Windows 10. In addition to Rare’s Sea of Thieves announced earlier this week for Windows 10, Phil confirmed that Xbox One fighting title Killer Instinct is also in development for Windows 10.
Attendees and those watching the livestream on Twitch also got to check out demos of two of our biggest Windows 10 and Xbox One titles of 2015. David Eckelberry, Game Director at Lionhead Studios, and James Phinney, Creative Director at Motiga, joined Spencer onstage to give fans deeper looks at their titles, Fable Legends and Gigantic, both of which are great examples of how Windows 10 and Xbox One will work together. Fans will be able to take any content that they earn or buy in these free-to-play games to Xbox One or Windows 10 devices. They can also play cross-platform against their friends, and seamlessly move from Xbox One to Windows 10 and back without any worry of losing saved progress or achievements.
Another big announcement came toward the end of the Xbox’s segment. Rod Fergusson, Studio Head of developer The Coalition, shared that the recently announced Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will be coming to Windows 10. Painstakingly remastered in gorgeous 4K with DirectX 12 and modernized with all-new content, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for Windows 10 will include five brand-new campaign chapters and heart-pounding, 60 frames-per-second multiplayer action across 19 maps.
And as for the future? “There’s been a lot of push for us to do more in first-party, and we will,” Spencer promised. “We’re dedicated to that. As our portfolio builds out, you’ll hear more from us.”
The PC Gaming Show was the culmination of our Windows 10 gaming news over recent weeks and months. Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 2015 Briefing, the team revealed the new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, which offers unprecedented customization for Windows 10 and Xbox One gamers alike. From mapping buttons and swapping out analog sticks to enabling rear paddle support and tweaking trigger sensitivity, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller gives gamers everything they need to play exactly how they want to play.
As games and gaming are front and center in our device and service strategy, we’re building gaming into Windows 10 from the ground up. Our team at Xbox – people who love games – has never committed more resources to making Windows better for game developers and gamers, and that means any gamer on Windows 10, regardless of store or device.
Windows 10 will not only work seamlessly with services like Steam, GoG, and Battle.net, it will enhance them in a number of ways. In addition to the performance boost available to new games that use DirectX 12 (more on that in a minute), you’ll gain the ability to see all of your games in a single place in the Xbox app and easily record game clips with the new Game DVR feature.
DirectX 12 is an essential element of Windows 10 for gamers, as it allows for a noticeable increase in graphics processing performance and reduced power consumption. Even better, it’s already being used heavily by over 100 development studios thanks to its support from game engine creators. With support from major engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 4, we are on pace for the most rapid game adoption of a new version of DirectX in over 15 years.
We also talked about how we believe the PC is the best place for VR development, and we are working hard to make Windows 10 the best platform for VR gaming. Yesterday, we announced a new relationship with Valve VR during the briefing. Together with the team at Valve, we are working to create a Universal Positional Tracking API, an industry standard, enabling developers to create VR apps and experiences more easily across a variety of platforms and devices. This came on the heels of last week’s announcement, when we revealed a new partnership with virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR. As part of this deal, every Rift that is sold at retail will include an Xbox One wireless controller and wireless adapter for your PC. It’s more than just that though, as fans will be able to stream games from their Xbox One to the Rift headset through a Windows 10 PC. To that end, the Rift will work natively with Windows 10 to make it easy to set up, jump in, and have an incredible VR gaming experience right out of the box.
Finally, the big news on the Windows 10 front is the recent announcement that Windows 10 will be releasing globally on July 29. As we shared earlier this year, Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for anyone updating from a previous version for a full year after its release.
From the briefing through the PC Gaming Show, we had a lot of big PC gaming announcement this week at E3… but we’re not done yet. You can be sure that we’ll be at gamescom in full force come August and will have much more great news and game announcements to share then. One thing is for sure though: The first PC Gaming Show proved that the future of Windows 10 gaming is bright indeed.