Microsoft in bid to make Xbox Live worldwide cross-platform gaming backend

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Alright, keep this on the downlow and the hush-hush, but the word on the street with all the cool kids is that Microsoft are planning to launch Xbox Live on Nintendo Switch, alongside iOS and Android mobile platforms.

Xbox Live on your iPhone?

This would theoretically allow PC, Xbox One, Switch, and mobile games to all co-exist and share the same service for multiplayer, voice comms, and achievements, allowing owners of any of these platforms to play together.

The information comes from the GDC 2019 scheduling website, describing Microsoft's future plans for Xbox Live.

The Game Developers Conference is scheduled to be held March 18 through 22 in San Francisco.

The move is another example of Microsoft working to sell tools to developers, rather than trying to win by making hit games and consoles themselves.

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 nearly every screen.

The session page doesn't specifically mention PlayStation among the supported platforms, so it's not yet clear if games that use the SDK will silo off players on PlayStation into their own pool.

The new functionality isn't to be confused with the company's existing "Xbox Glass" software for smartphones: The XDK as described would allow developers to add full Xbox Live functionality, from Achievements to cross-platform gaming, to their non-Xbox titles on a range of platforms. The session notes state Microsoft's intention to "connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs". While I have no doubt that we'll see some monumental mobile games released in the future with the Xbox Live feature baked right in, are indie devs actually going to bother with the SDK when Play Games Services and Facebook already provide similar options? While this feature has been exclusive to Microsoft's games, it appears to be expanding to more titles. This is part of Microsoft's quest to reach "two billion gamers" across multiple platforms.

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