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Cross Talk: Dissecting Microsoft’s Vision of the Future

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This is an article that is going live simultaneously on Gaming History 101 and The B-Team Podcast as the topic is applicable to both.  This was based on a conversation started on B-Team Episode 354 and continued without me on Episode 355 with Chip and Ryan.  It regards the news from Microsoft’s Spring Event regarding Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming (this link provides a VR 360 video of the whole 30 minute announcement and was the only video I could still find of the actual Phil Spencer speech).  Once the event ended, everyone wanted to chime in on what this means for Xbox One (the “updated hardware” announcement), Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps instead of Win32 (.exe) programs, and just what the heck Microsoft is planning.  This also led to a series of articles rightfully criticizing many of Microsoft’s claims about PC gaming.  Professional acquaintance Jason Evangelho did a great piece dissecting it on Forbes,  Tim Sweeny (co-founder of Epic Games) flat out wants us to fight UWP, and Peter “Durante” Thoman (the modder responsible for the DSfix on Dark Souls PC and overall fixer of broken PC ports) explains how UWP renders many of the tweaks/mods PC gamers go to the platform for completely impossible.  With all the discussion, I figured I would break it down for you and explain why I think that the future can exist with consoles, UWP, and PC games, but they all need each other.


What Was at the Microsoft Spring Showcase

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, took to the stage to make the content-filled half hour presentation.  For the record, I like Spencer and feel he is not only good for Microsoft but also the industry as a whole.  That doesn’t mean he can avoid the corporate overlords above him or that he can spill the beans to the public outright, but that he probably knows what the masses are going to say.  He also has legacy on his side.  In the last 2-3 years we’ve seen the public scorn digital content, attack Microsoft’s disc-less future to the point that it reversed its decision only to read countless opinion pieces asking for it back, and even recently Microsoft announced it would add cross-platform play with PC/PS4 as well as look into “loaning” digital games.  This isn’t new, kids, it’s something Microsoft led this console generation with, but the public wasn’t ready…until now?

The focal point of the presentation were the goals of Windows 10 as a PC gaming platform, the bright future for Xbox One hardware/software, and how the two may work in tandem.  I already know that last sentence is enough to get some people heated and opinionated so just let that soak for a minute.  Of the efforts we heard about plenty of games that were previous Xbox One exclusives hitting Windows 10, Windows 10 getting some proprietary ports as the process of Xbox One/Windows 10 games is streamlined, and a potential upgraded hardware future for Xbox One.  If this doesn’t fill you with more questions then this is for you because it not only dissects what this could mean (Microsoft has been its typical vague self since the Showcase) but what I think about it.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Blog

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