Microsoft, at E3, tends to focus on technical innovation. This year, it’s all about the new Xbox and, curiously, erasing the lines between PC gaming and console gaming altogether was a major theme, something that had been rumored for a while. Microsoft appears, even as a new Xbox appears on the horizon, to be pushing to combine PC gaming and console players into one community with Xbox Play Anywhere.
Xbox Play Anywhere has two pillars. One, if you buy a game on either Xbox or PC that’s compatible between the two, you get it on both, not dissimilar to Sony’s Cross-Buy system with the Vita and the PS4. And two, with online multiplayer, PC gamers and Xbox gamers can play together. Especially in light of Microsoft’s bid to tear down the walls between the PS4 and the Xbox One, and the fact that Microsoft is licensing Oculus technology for its VR accessory, that’s attention-getting.
Microsoft, of course, has an ulterior motive here. Valve has a death grip on PC gaming with Steam that Microsoft has been working to loosen for years now, usually with little success. By both making PC gaming accessible to the masses with Xbox and bringing the Xbox’s over twenty million users to PC, they will, in theory, have a rather large beachhead to blur the space between the two, and leave Valve behind.
Will it work? Microsoft has tried this before, with projects like Games For Windows Live, and it’s never quite stuck. But this is a strong bid, and with plenty of independent games coming, Steam might finally have a little competition.
(via PC World)