It's a strange and wonderful new video game industry we find ourselves in 2019. Major game publishers are still competing with each other, of course, but more and more they're finding ways to cooperate and work together. Cross-play functionality has come to popular games like Fortnite and Minecraft, and now Microsoft is looking to take another big step towards a more unified gaming audience.
According to a listing on the GDC 2019 schedule (which has since been edited to remove the juicy details), Microsoft will soon be announcing plans to roll out Xbox Live to Nintendo Switch and iOS and Android devices. This would allow developers to include features like Xbox achievements and friends lists in their Switch and mobile games. Here's how the listing read before it was removed:
Xbox Live is one of the largest, most engaged gaming communities on the planet with decades of experience providing managed game services to developers that save you time and unlock all of the social and engagement features that players love.
Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. 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.
Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.
- Xbox Live players are highly engaged and active on Xbox and PC, but now they can take their gaming achievement history, their friends list, their clubs, and more with them to almost every screen.
- This will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms. Combined with PlayFab gaming services, this means less work for game developers and more time to focus on making games fun.
Microsoft has been cozying up to Nintendo quite a bit recently, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer has often had positive things to say about the company. They likely see bringing Xbox Live to Switch as a good way to entice Nintendo's fans to give Xbox a shot, especially since they have a brand new console generation in the works. Meanwhile, the mobile market is incredibly vast, and there could be much to gain going forward by being seen as the hub for communicating with friends and acquiring achievements on mobile devices.