February 21, 2019

Microsoft's Project xCloud Will Connect Xbox Live to iOS, Android and Switch

04 February 2019, 07:55 | Casey Mitchell

Microsoft Plans to Expand Xbox Live to Nintendo Switch, Mobile Devices With Cross-Platform Program

Minecraft IMG1

Microsoft has revealed plans to bring Xbox Live to more platforms and expand cross-platform play. By using Azure-hosted game servers and streaming clients like the PlayFab platform Microsoft acquired just a few days ago, Microsoft promises that "any Console Native game now shipping in the Microsoft Store on Xbox will be capable of streaming to a mobile device" without developers having to alter their game code at all.

Saying that's a significant expansion of Xbox Live would be an understatement.

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This isn't unprecedented: in order to play Minecraft on Nintendo Switch you have to sign into Xbox Live, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see more of this approach. Microsoft is set to announce an SDK for developers that will allow them to connect Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox players and allow for cross-platform gaming. The talk is intended for developers already building Xbox games and will be hosted by Microsoft's very own Backwards Compatibility team.

While Minecraft players do now have the ability to log into Xbox Live on Switch, this new implementation will seemingly allow games to incorporate more features, like Achievements and Friend Lists. Sony eventually relented specifically for Fortnite, but notice how Microsoft failed to mention PlayStation in its Xbox Live plans? Players could even restart select games on one platform at the point where they left off on another. Most famous of these is Minecraft, which requires players to use an Xbox Live login on Android, iOS, and Switch. "Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK".

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The GDC runs from March runs 18 through March 22 and the cross-platform advancement may not be the only new technology on show from Microsoft.

The news underscores Microsoft's focus on bringing its services to multiple platforms.

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