At E3, Microsoft announced a new feature to bring together their Xbox ecosystem with the much larger, and more diverse, Windows 10 user base. The initiative was called Xbox Play Anywhere, and amazingly the name is quite appropriate. The idea is that you can purchase a supported game on either the Xbox One, or Windows 10 store, and you would get the version for the other platform at no cost. In addition, game saves would be synchronized between the two platforms, making for a seamless experience.

The move makes a lot of sense for the company, especially with the Xbox One sales falling short of their chief rival, Sony’s PlayStation 4. This is a way to more closely tie the two previously separate platforms. It’s taken a lot of work on the platform side to enable this, because only a couple of years ago Microsoft would have had no way to even distribute the game on Windows.

That has changed with Windows 10’s Universal Windows Platform, and the Windows Store, which has opened up this possibility. Changes brought in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update have enabled this game sharing, and tomorrow we will see the first Xbox Play Anywhere title launching with Recore, developed by Comcept and Armature Studio and published by Microsoft Studios. This is certainly not going to be the last title either, with all of the games Microsoft announced at E3 also supporting this.

For those interested in trying out Recore, it’s a third person action-adventure game, and I’ve had a chance to play it over the last couple of days on both the Xbox One and the PC. I’m not going to do any plot reviews or anything, but the core game mechanics are one of the few to pull me in this year, and the inclusion of many puzzles as well as combat make for a pretty fun game. Xbox Play Anywhere has worked as advertised, with game saves quickly syncing between the two platforms, and it truly is a seamless experience quitting the game on one platform and picking it up on the other.

To get the best experience on the PC, a pretty beefy system is needed. The Recore team announced the specifications:

On my desktop system, with a Core i7-6700K and GTX 760, I was able to play with decent framerates on their medium setting, but for better graphics a bigger GPU would be recommended. On the Xbox One, my only issue was very long load times, but I did store the game on an external USB hard drive, which likely didn’t help. On my desktop, the same level load times went from minutes to seconds thanks to a Samsung 950 Pro.

I think this is a smart move by Microsoft for a couple of reasons, and in hindsight it’s a feature that they likely should have added a long time ago, but they didn’t have any sort of distribution system that would have worked for something like a PC game before the Windows 10 Store came along. On the sales side, it not only competes with Sony, but also with Steam, especially since the Steam Machine has yet to make a big impact in the console market. Microsoft has done a nice job bringing the console together with Windows 10, with the Xbox app, game streaming, and now Xbox Play Anywhere. They have a lot of work on the hardware side to catch up to Sony, especially with the new PS4 Pro. On the software side, they have a stronger hand.

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  • althaz - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    As long as you don't count iOS or Android you mean?
  • aliquis - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    To be fair I wish we had .. What was it called? The indie store one? Which is dead now ..
    Anyway. I wish the Greenlit CRAP wasn't on Steam.
    I would be fine with them calling it "Steam Gold" for the very popular stuff, Steam Silver for older stuff and slightly lower ranked stuff, Steam Bronze for most of the rest and then .. Steam Paper or whatever for the Greenlit key giveaway spam shovel-ware trash.
  • bug77 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    You're probably thinking Impulse, from Stardock. Gog is filling that gap now (and is my go to store).
  • aliquis - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    The good thing is that it was what everyone else used.
    Now I use it because of bundles but they could of course had used whatever.
    GOG would technically possibly had been the best option but since it has so little content ..
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Since current games are trash, GOG library is a goddamn goldmine.
  • bug77 - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    Put the hate aside for a moment and read my argument.
    The author says Microsoft couldn't have offered this feature before, I said I disagree.

    And I have no special love for Steam, I don't even have a Steam account.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    Maybe but it would have been a mess if they tried to shoehorn it into their older platforms. They were right to wait until they had better UWP and Store support for full PC titles. It isn't perfect but it's decent and the syncing works well.
  • bug77 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    All that was required was for Steam to let you redeem an Xbox code and some tag telling you which games were cross-platform. I don't see any mess.
  • inighthawki - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    I imagine the bigger issue is for piracy concerns - how to ensure that you don't unlock the key on steam and give the xbox key to your friend. You need to coordinate between the two services steam and xbox live) to ensure that the same key is not used simultaneously.
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    It's silly to use a competitor's service. Who pays for the Steam key? Valve wants their cut too. No, the most logical option is to make it all in-house. Also makes synchronization easier for saves, achievements, etc. They can also share the majority of the code this way.

    Also developers have to opt-in on this. Some developers will NOT get on board, if you want it on PC and Xbox, you're paying twice. Anyway while I see play anywhere as being pretty nice, it's not must-have for me.

    inighthawki: This is true to some degree. I suspect they would have to link an MS account to a Steam account. Either way, in-house is a lot easier.

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