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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  • Samus - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    The PS4 isn't underpowered, and gamers don't care about 4K bluray. Where Sony screwed up is making another PS4 model twice as powerful. It's so much of an upgrade it will alienate their userbase unlike Microsoft who simply made an incrementally more powerful Xbox One that will only enable select graphic features as it isn't powerful enough to do anything else over the OG XBox One.

    Let's be clear though. I despise microsofts entry into the gaming industry, mostly because my Xbox 360 like thousands of others, was banned via false positive for modification in 2009, in my case because I was simply using a modified USB hard disk firmware to run home brew. It should be clear this did not modify the console or its software in anyway and was simply a peripheral, and what they did was highly illegal as they corrupted the date on the hard drive in addition to the system drive and operating system features as part of the crippling ban.

    Fuck Microsoft. Had this ben any other company doing such blatant destruction of private property, they would be out of business and in prison.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    Oh that explains a lot. You had a modded unit. Yeah those can be used for bad purposes too. If you're only running homebrew, I'd say don't connect to XBL. Get a second unit cheap for that. Sony would have probably banned you too, after they de-Linuxed their boxes - if only they could figure out how. Sony has been pro-DRM and anti-mod, but fortunately their software side is weak and a Sharpie is sometimes good enough to deal with their best efforts.
  • Morawka - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    "Xbox One that will only enable select graphic features as it isn't powerful enough to do anything else over the OG XBox One."

    Scorpio will have brand new CPU Cores based on the AMD Zen architecture, in addtion to 10 Tflops of GPU power. It is a next generation console, not a xbox one plus. There will be exclusives to Scorpio, however all xbox one games will be compatible with scorpio. Sony on the other hand, is using a 5 year old CPU architecutre in the PS4 Pro. These CPU cores have very low IPC, and it really limits how well it can feed the 4.8Tflop GPU. PS4 pro will be out this xmas, so it will be the fastest console for around a year.. Then it will be the slowest console for the next 3-4 years since scorpio will be out.

    Gamers do care about HDR and 4K. the Xbox One S, (release last month) already has better media capabilities than sony's PS4 Pro that's not even out. And Sony even owns part of the Blu Ray Spec. This is a total screwup on sony's part. Additionally, Sony is hamstringing the PS4 Pro by having all of these restrictions, so the owners of the original PS4, dont get left behind.

    Microsoft isnt doing that stuff, they dont have to.. It's all backwards compatible, and some games like Halo, will run at native 4K, instead of being upscaled.
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    I'm half anticipating a PS4 Double Secret Pro(bation?) to launch alongside Scorpio.
  • nikon133 - Sunday, September 18, 2016 - link

    You mentioned in your previous post that you sound like Xbox fanboy... one of the things we agree on ;)

    Scorpio is promising 6TFlops. We don't even know if that is pure GPU or MS pulled one of those PR tricks by summing up both CPU and GPU part of their APU.

    They did that in the past, trying to explain how X1 has higher memory bandwidth by adding bandwidths of DDR3 and ESRAM... scenario that simply is not applicable to real life scenario, as majority of games have proven already.

    I haven't seen any REAL specs about Scorpio's internals. Zen architecture - a link would be nice. All I've seen so far is very poetic MS narrative about highest quality pixels and what not - only a reason more not to take anything they say for granted, until Scorpio is actually out and dissected. Even if based on Zen, it can still end up with some low power, low performance derivative of Zen platform, rather than high-end, enthusiast part.

    On Aug 17, 2016, MS said that Scorpio and Xbox One exist as part of a single ecosystem, but Microsoft will allow for VR games to be exclusive to the new console. There will be no non-VR exclusives on Scorpio. Since X1 is not powerful enough to do VR, this makes sense. Since Scorpio will take time to get into market-share that is interesting for devs to develop for, Sony will build huge VR lead, even with weaker console.

    PS4 Pro will not be slowest console, because original PS4 and PS4s, original Xbox 1 and X1s, and (likely) Nintendo NX will all be slower. And nothing is stopping Sony to release next Playstation within 2 years of Scorpio's release... or a SKU of PS4 Pro with HDBD... but it's irrelevant. Consoles are not bent on pure performance, in fact, most successful consoles in each generation were rarely the most powerful ones. PS1 wasn't. PS2 wasn't. Wii wasn't. PS4 is the first recent one that was, but was also cheaper than competitor, and with more transparent and digestible "rules of engagement" - no on-line requirements, no Kinetic shoved down the throat, no limitations on physical games swapping/reselling. Things like price, release date, EULA policies and exclusives usually do more than power alone.

    HDR will come to all PS4, including original SKU. Actually it already has, with 4.0 update, a few days back.

    Native 4K as a general rule is not guaranteed on Scorpio. Granted it is more powerful and will upscale to 4K from higher starting res on average, but upscale it will. Closest AMD GPU, R9 390X which hits 5.9TFlops, can't really do 4K with framerate sustained at 30fps; not in good looking titles, anyway.
  • powerarmour - Monday, September 12, 2016 - link

    The PS4 has outsold the XB1 2:1, if that's trouble then I'm sure they're well prepared.
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    And what do they have to show for it? Countless launch delays?

    A time back, I bought a PS3 to play that dog in feathers thing. It never came, but at least Uncharted was decent, and there were jRPGs for those who like them. Now all you have is a grey mass of bad shooters, F2P shit and "delayed until december". Of what year, I`d like to ask.
  • nikon133 - Sunday, September 18, 2016 - link

    Crossplatform is a bit of desperation. Best Xbox exclusives are made by MS, thus will be released on Windows as well. For anyone who has gaming PC, this basically takes away biggest reasons to own Xbox. Having gaming PC and PlayStation and/or Nintendo suddenly makes much more sense.

    Those who have X1 because they don't want to invest into gaming PC, business as usual. Being able to play on PC games they already play on X1 will not really give them any reason to get both and "benefit" from this feature.

    Microsoft did well with X360 backward compatibility. Unfortunately it isn't helping them much in ters of sales and market share, but it was really good effort.

    Better exclusives... you lost me a bit there. This year is quite poor for X1 exclusives. FH3 is out but racing is already Xbox's holly grail in this gen... there wasn't any other mention-worthy exclusive for X1 this year, was there? I think PS4 actually did better. I guess this is matter of taste, after all.

    I'm gamer who is only interested in Forza from Xbox line, at the moment... and I'm getting these on my PC. On the other side, in order to play Uncharted, Bloodborne, TLoU, Ratchet, incoming God of War... I don't have a choice but to own Playstation.

    I'm grateful to MS for letting me play some of the best Xbox games on PC, but at the same time I'm well aware that Microsoft has basically killed most reasons for me to get Xbox as well.

    And then, there's no real VR strategy disclosed for Xbox. Where Digital Foundry already calls DriveClub VR best, most immersive VR driving at the moment... with both console and VR solution in-house, we can be confident that Sony will be pushing VR like there is no tomorrow.

    However you try to spin it, PS4 and PC combo seem to be making most sense to me right here, right now. Which is all but lost sight on Sony's side.
  • Manch - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    Quantum Break you can play on both Win 10 & XBOX. When I bought it I got a copy for both and my game saves port automatically. So how is this the first?
  • JoeMonco - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - link

    It's the first "Xbox Play Anywhere" title which Quantum break was not. There's this thing called "context".

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