Xbox developers will be able to more easily convert games to PC with some porting wizardry | PCGamesN

Xbox developers will be able to more easily convert games to PC with some porting wizardry

PC ports

PC could be getting even more Xbox One exclusives in the future thanks to some porting wizardry that I don't really understand. 

Hopefully this means more goodness for our upcoming PC games list. 

At the Microsoft keynote tonight, Phil Spencer showed off a new Windows 10 converter that let him launch the Steam version of Age of Empires 2 as a Windows 10 desktop app. He even had The Witcher 3 running the same way shortly after, although that was just an experiment between Microsoft and CD Projekt Red.

These desktop apps will support distribution through the Windows Store and "any other store", according to Spencer, who paused slightly after this announcement, probably to make sure Tim Sweeney heard it.

"We've said from the start, we want Xbox One to be a great place for games, and also a great place for developers of all sizes, so you can create new games and application experiences," said Spencer. 

With Windows 10 and Cortana rolling out on Xbox One along with the Windows 10 anniversary update, it looks like Microsoft's platforms are becoming even more interlinked. Perhaps this is what makes this porting magic possible. 

"With the Universal Windows Platform we're able to drive it at 4K and 60 frames a second, the highest fidelity we've ever delivered," said Chris Tector, senior software architect at Forza developer Turn 10. "The universal aspect that's a real true promise for us is the ability to write our code once. We're still going to tailor that experience so that it's the best thing you can get on Xbox, the best thing you can get on PC. 

"But what it means is it's reduced the development time for us and that really surfaces not only in the code that we write, but also the toolset that we get to use. And that's the thing that's going to grow the most over time. Our goal as a first party is to make sure that platform that everyone's running on is the best one they can deliver games on."

Creative director Dan Greenawalt added: "The Universal Windows Platform is great for the game developers and gamers alike. It's going to become even more powerful as a way of delivering amazing experiences across all of the devices in the Windows ecosystem."

While I couldn't parse exactly how this works, it certainly seems to point to more Xbox One exclusives heading to PC. If developers only have to write the game's code once, why not maximise profits by selling it on two platforms? The Forza developers have already said future iterations of the racer will find their way onto PC. My guess is it won't be long before we get a Gears of War 4 PC announcement.

If cross-buy and cross-network play are also thrown into the mix, the Universal Windows Platform has the potential to blur the lines between console and PC even more. We shall see, I suppose.

Have a watch of the archived stream here.

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AnAuldWolf avatar
AnAuldWolf Avatar
2 Years ago

This is great for the people who like those games.

I feel unaffected though as there's never been an Xbox exclusive I've actually wanted. I don't even own a Microsoft console. I think the only time they had me sit up and take notice was with Sunset Overdrive. Except the lead character turned out to be a sort of 'cool' that only incredibly extraverted jerkbags like. It was far, far too obnoxious to be palatable to me.

And I can palate much! I can palate Xenoblade Chronicles X and my player character constantly being a dad's idea of cool. What with his battle-laden screechings of "Here I come, sunshine!" and "Carpe diem, chum!"

Which was funnier because I admit I designed him to be a silver fox. The voice made it perfect as he's trying so, so hard to be cool for all the kids he's travelling with. It's even better when he's in a skell (mech). It's beautiful. So, as you can see, there is much I can palate.

Where was I? Right. So, Sunset Overdrive did nothing for me. It had the same kind of 'tude that's prevalent in so many Xbox games. Including what I've seen of Halo, Gears, and many other titles. I'd say it's some kind of cultural barrier, except that my life partner is from Iowa and detests it too, so I don't know!

And we're far from closed-minded about anything, really. It's just all that ridiculous confrontationalism (a new ism, I suppose), probably. And when it isn't that it's got that whole gritty, super real, grey-brown thing going on. Which doesn't appeal to me.

It's not something I would want. What would I want? Well, this is perhaps a bit spoilery so caveat lector (chum) and all that. I would much rather be a human-like robot in power armour in a bigger, transforming robot exploring a breathtaking alien planet. So, YES, Xenoblade was brave enough to give me what Fallout 4 didn't have the balls for (jumping me with my own character being a robot, if you hadn't figured that out). Good on you, Japan.

So, I'd want Nintendo's games. And I like Sony's library, too. Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper, and so on. You can't really go wrong with that. And all the indies they seem to draw the attention of. Stories: Path of Destinies looks pretty rad, too, which is a cross PS4/PC release, and I haven't seen a single PC site talk about it yet I don't think. Which is sad. Some might have! I just haven't seen it, yet.

Might've just gotten lost in all the noise.

Anyway. So much grey-brown, so gritty, so edgy, so dude, so 'tude, and so entirely unappealing. I'm sitting here trying to think of a Microsoft game I've ever wanted that wasn't a PC release. I recall something about a JRPG with chocobo creatures, but that got cancelled. As did... every other title I can think of that I wanted. I think I'm just not their desired audience.

Still, with Vulkan around the corner, it's up to everyone to decide how important to them Microsoft exclusives are. Whether they'd like to be locked into Microsoft's 'OS as a service' constant update cycle (with more of their control over their PC being eked away on a daily basis), or to be free of that at the expense of losing access to Xbox exclusive games.

I know which I'd pick. But I know I'm far from the average person.