Microsoft Wants to Give Cross Platform Gaming a Go
Cross Platform Gaming is one of those phrases that sound like a pipe dream. Between attempts that didn't go far enough or failed outright, and games that promised it before realising that it was a terrible idea for competitive play, it's never really seemed to go anywhere as a viable idea to my knowledge. That may be changing though.
In an interview with AusGamers, Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer opened up about his views on cross platform, saying that "I'm not allowed to leak things. But [it] makes a lot of sense."
To his credit, Spencer is also aware of the major problems in getting this to work for a competitive system, saying "you have differences in Windows gaming and console gaming around control and input... in fact if you go back to Shadow Run on Xbox 360 -- something I worked on -- we had PC players playing against Xbox 360 customers. We didn't have tremendous success with that, but we learnt a lot from it.'" Rather, the system Microsoft seems to be aiming for is closer to the one used for Skulls of the Shogun, which allowed players to begin a game on their PC, and pick it up where they left off on a console or tablet, as well as allowing players to competitively play against each other - Turn Based Strategy being one of the few game archetypes I can see actually working with cross platform competitive multiplayer.
Spencer went on to say that "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 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." I leave it to you to debate whether or not he's right.