PC gamers haven’t seen much love from Microsoft over the past few years, but the company is aiming to change that with Windows 10.
During its Windows 10 event Wednesday, Microsoft ran through a variety of ways its upcoming operating system will improve gaming for PC, tablet, phone, and, pleasantly, Xbox One owners. Here’s what’s coming.
Gaming across devices
Microsoft showed off a demo of the upcoming role-playing game Fable Legends, but what made it notable was that one player was playing on an Xbox One, while the other was using a PC running Windows 10.
This is a biggie. Though we’ve seen this work a few times with various consoles (DC Universe Online worked on both the PS3 and PS4 simultaneously, for instance), the ability for PC and Xbox One players to share the same space will bring console and PC players together in a way that’s really yet to be formalized.
"We think enabling people to play multiplayer games on Windows 10, across Xbox One and Windows 10, will unlock the potential of Xbox Live and grow the social network that’s there today," said Xbox head Phil Spencer.
Of course, it’s unclear if that’s for all Xbox One games. Fable Legends is being created in-house at Microsoft. Will cross-play work for, say, the next Call of Duty?
Xbox app packed in Windows 10
Thanks to a native Windows 10 app, Xbox One users will be able to easily access their activity feed, friends list, Gamerscore, and more using any Windows 10 device. But it runs deeper than that. See a friend on Xbox One while you’re on your PC? You can voice or text chat across platforms, drop likes or comments on his or her activity feed, and even share game clips.
One of the niftiest Xbox One features is coming to Windows 10, too. The Xbox app will automatically save the last 30 seconds of gaming, so if you accidentally do something incredibly cool, you can rewind, cut, edit, save, and share that clip.
DirectX 12: More horsepower, same hardware
The appearance of a new DirectX is hardly news, but according to Microsoft, DX 12 is a big step up. Performance has been increased 50 percent over DX 11; essentially, it enables smoother, fancier graphics without requiring you to upgrade your hardware.
It’s also conscious of the fact that most of us are using mobile devices, as the battery consumption of programs running DirectX 12 has been halved.
Xbox One gets freed from the TV
Still fighting over the living room TV? Microsoft hopes to help by letting Xbox One users stream games to any Win 10 PC or tablet in the house (that “in the house” is crucial — you’ll need to be on a local network for this). This essentially brings the Xbox One up to speed with the PS4 and Wii U, both of which can be used away from the TV.
The company also announced that Windows 10 apps are coming to Xbox One, but there’s no word yet on how exactly that will play out. PowerPoint on your Xbox One? We should hear more about how this works at the Game Developers Conference in early March.
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