Microsoft is getting ready to release an important software development kit (SDK) that will allow game developers to integrate Xbox Live into any titles that run across PC, Xbox, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch. Spotted by Windows Central, a GDC session reveals that Microsoft will announce its cross-platform push for Xbox Live next month.
Some iOS and Android games already have Xbox Live Achievements, but they’re only enabled in titles from Microsoft Studios and there’s not many of them available right now. Microsoft describes this new push as much bigger. “Xbox Live is expanding from 400 million gaming devices and a reach to over 68 million active players to over 2 billion devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK,” says the GDC listing.
Xbox Live cross-platform play will allow developers to integrate in friends lists, multiplayer functionality, and achievements into existing mobile games. It’s an important part of Microsoft’s new gaming mission to reach outside of its traditional PC and Xbox markets, and bring software, services, and games to players on rival platforms. Microsoft is also working on an xCloud game streaming service that will stream Xbox games to PCs, consoles, and mobile devices later this year.
Combined with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, the company is trying to create a Netflix for video games, with a subscription that gives you access to games no matter where you intend to play them. If Microsoft can convince developers to allow it to handle the social and multiplayer aspects of games, then its subscription game service will look a lot more promising to gamers on rival consoles and mobile devices. We should learn more about Microsoft’s plans at the Game Developers Conference when it starts next month on March 18th.