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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  • kgersen - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    it's more related to security and how to avoid 2 people sharing the same licence (one on a PC, one on the XB1).
    To do that you need a single account/identity system that work on both platforms plus security/DRM on the PC side which UWP provides.
    You can't do that with Steam unless you make Steam compatible with XB1 that is allowing Valve to because a defacto distributor for the XB1...
  • kgersen - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    typo: "Valve to become" not "Valve to because"
  • aliquis - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    Surely Microsoft could do their DRM thing in Windows even if you launched the game from Steam.
  • WinterCharm - Sunday, September 18, 2016 - link

    Why would microsoft give up 30% of their xbox title sales to steam? of course they weren't going to do this before they had their own windows app store in place.
  • lilmoe - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    I hope the concept catches on, and we get lots of titles. I also hope this marks the slow death of stand alone consoles; where gamers can actually choose their hardware. Just like "Tablet Mode", there should also be "Console Mode" to further optimize Windows 10 for the living room (making it identical to the XBox experience).

    But why DX11?? I understand they need to make titles or accessible, but they should also be more future proof, and more inline with the "console experience".
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    Probably too late in the cycle to add support for DX12.

    I've said it for years that MS needs to release a version of Windows that's a flat out bare bones version (Which you can add stuff whenever you like).
  • lilmoe - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    They really should, especially since they "barely" make money in hardware. This doesn't mean they should stop selling XBox consoles, but they should have performance tiers, each with a well defined set of minimum requirements and certified hardware/drivers. Every launch of a new XBox should signify a new tier of performance. Game developers should optimize for a particular tier just like they do directly for a console. Everyone wins.
  • powerarmour - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    I'd probably pay more for a 'Windows 10 Basic' with all the bloatware stripped out.
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Some kind of TV mode in 10 certainly would be nice. Would be great to lay down the wireless kb and just use joystick to watch a movie or something.
  • Morawka - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    Sony is in deep trouble, they have lost sight of what gamers want. No 4K Blu ray player, no native backwards compatibility, underpowered PS4Pro and PSVR.

    Crossplatform is just icing on the cake for microsoft. And xbox ones can be had for $200 nowadays. A lot PS4 diehards are buying xbox one's due to the cheaper price/bill of materials. The exclusives are so much better as well.. I know i sound like a xbox fanboy, but i believe gamers are genuinely interested in what microsoft is offering. Even PCMR gamers.

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