Microsoft hasn’t confirmed whether or not the Xbox One might one day support cross-platform play between console and PC gamers—but they’re certainly not ruling out the possibility.
When asked about the potential feature in a recent interview with AusGamers, Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer “I’m not allowed to leak things,” he answered, “but I think what you’re talking about makes a lot of sense.”
Spencer went on to cite the company’s previous efforts in cross-platform gaming, including the 2007 FPS Shadowrun and last year’s indie strategy title Skulls of the Shogun, as evidence that Microsoft was open to the idea, noting that they had learned a lot from previous successes and failures.
“This connected ecosystem across all the different devices is definitely where I think the future of gaming is going; you don’t have to do it as a developer, but you have the capability,” he continued. “And I think a system like Xbox Live across all those screens—where you know who someone is and who their friends are, what their Achievements are and their progression—is really critical to that.”
This last quote is particularly fascinating, because Spencer is effectively describing many of the services that were offered by Games for Windows Live, Microsoft’s PC storefront and DRM service that’s now largely defunct and scheduled to be shuttered completely by July of next year. Some of those features, like unified achievements and friends lists across both platforms, have since been integrated into the (confusingly named) Xbox Games store on Windows 8 devices, but the selection of games on offer there is modest, with titles that are more akin to mobile apps than full AAA gaming experiences.
Spencer’s focus on these social features, prefaced by his coy statement about leaks, might mean that the company has a more robust, AAA-focused successor for Games for Windows Live planned—perhaps one that ties in closer to the Xbox brand and will eventually enable developers to provide cross-platform play.