Microsoft game development now truly multi-platform

For a long time, Microsoft seemed to concentrate its game publishing and development efforts on the Xbox 360 console. Now, the company's recently named vice president of its Interactive Entertainment division, Phil Harrison, says that is no longer the case.

Gamesindustry.biz reports that, in a speech this week at the London Games Conference, Harrison said, "We are now really a multiplatform studio. We are not just building games for Xbox 360, we're building experiences for (SmartGlass), we're building dedicated games for Windows Phone 8 and for Windows 8."

Indeed, Microsoft has been hiring in two separate UK-based locations to develop teams that would create games for Windows 8, including a new studio in London. Harrison said this is because Microsoft is no longer just competing with Sony and Nintendo in the game development industry, saying, "... our competitive landscape includes the likes of Google, the likes of Amazon, it includes obviously the likes of Apple."

As far as Microsoft's plans for its new Windows 8 game studio in London, Harrison didn't give much in the way of details. He did say, "We are trying to build a new kind of studio. We describe it as being a 21st Century studio. It will not make retail products. It will be making products largely based on the Windows 8 platform and technologies."

Source: Gamesindustry.biz | Image via Microsoft

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Multiplatform: as in Windows 8 versions, tablet, XBOX 360........what a pitty
I thought I was going to be thrilled about building games for windows, MacOS, Linux, PS3,Wii...
Too good to be true

medhunter said,
Multiplatform: as in Windows 8 versions, tablet, XBOX 360........what a pitty
I thought I was going to be thrilled about building games for windows, MacOS, Linux, PS3,Wii...
Too good to be true

Yup, big letdown here...

Not that I'm expecting any more, it's just that the title really raised my hopes for some reason...

GS:mac

how about games that I can chose to play on my Xbox and then play them on the go with my surface. That's what I call "truly multi-platform"

tytytucke said,
how about games that I can chose to play on my Xbox and then play them on the go with my surface. That's what I call "truly multi-platform"

They do allow you to do that... but you have to pay for the same game on your Windows PC, your Xbox and your Windows Phone. pay 3 times for the same game on the same Microsoft account...

Or you can use steam, and play the same game on PC, Mac or Linux, using steam account without having to buy the game 3 times.

I'm not sure of Microsoft's logic here, but I'm sure buying a game on your online account would mean you could have access to it anywhere you sign in with it. It's a shame, because Microsoft has missed a beat here and they'd be raking in the money with their cross-platform ecosystem they *could* have had. Instead, they've been greedy and I myself won't be paying for yet another version of the same game I already own on the same Microsoft account the 3rd time around.
None of their competitors have the option to offer a buy once play everywhere option across pc/console/phone, such a shame they didn't grab it with both hands.

sagum said,

None of their competitors have the option to offer a buy once play everywhere option across pc/console/phone, such a shame they didn't grab it with both hands.

This may be an option in the future but we're still (well, were in my case) paying extra just to play online so I don't see MS jumping into that yet. It could happen, and hopefully it will, but I'm not expecting it.

MS takes a cut for every console game sold and every Windows Store game sold, so it could happen in the future. I wouldn't expect it to happen with anything sold outside of the Store.

sagum said,

They do allow you to do that... but you have to pay for the same game on your Windows PC, your Xbox and your Windows Phone. pay 3 times for the same game on the same Microsoft account...

Or you can use steam, and play the same game on PC, Mac or Linux, using steam account without having to buy the game 3 times.

I'm not sure of Microsoft's logic here, but I'm sure buying a game on your online account would mean you could have access to it anywhere you sign in with it. It's a shame, because Microsoft has missed a beat here and they'd be raking in the money with their cross-platform ecosystem they *could* have had. Instead, they've been greedy and I myself won't be paying for yet another version of the same game I already own on the same Microsoft account the 3rd time around.
None of their competitors have the option to offer a buy once play everywhere option across pc/console/phone, such a shame they didn't grab it with both hands.

sweet so if I buy far cry 3 on steam I can run it on my xbox, wp8 and my pc?? or did you just try to defend something that had nothing to do with the argument?

Colin McGregor said,

sweet so if I buy far cry 3 on steam I can run it on my xbox, wp8 and my pc?? or did you just try to defend something that had nothing to do with the argument?

You're confusing the issue(s) here and mixing the two platform arguments into one role along with differing publishers.

The first being Microsoft's own platforms (windows, xbox and wp8) that we already know it hasn't happened and maybe won't ever. The second is Valve's Steam (windows, linux and mac) that we already know can and does happen on.

If you could run Steam or even login with your steam account on your xbox or windows phone, then yes I'd imagine so within reason... and that brings me on to the next issue you've got.

Publishers don't have to be cross platform, just because it's on Steam.
However; Valve as a publisher, and many other's that sell on Steam's platform, do opt to give you all platforms supported in their game.
On the other hand Microsoft publishes all it's Xbox live titles yet they opt to make people buy the same game twice on the same account, simply because the box they're playing on looks different.

Just because there is another platform out there that provides an option of cross OS and hardware deployment doesn't mean Microsoft has to follow it, it just seems strange that they'd have you buying the same game twice or more on the same platform on the same account.

Nor does it mean that someone like ubisoft with Farcry 3 would or even has to agree to go cross platform, but like I said at the end of my post before, it's a shame Microsoft didn't grab it with both hands because they are the publishers and own the studios for many of their xbox live titles, it would have been a massive boost for all platform they deploy on. Given the small Windows Phone and Windows 8 (rt/app) market they could do with a lot of help to get off the ground.

Dr_Asik said,
And yet they killed their only multi-platform game development toolkit, XNA.

My friend Fox is lamenting that too, but I assume the original plan was to have launched the next Xbox by now (or very soon) and be using WinRT on it too.

Dr_Asik said,
And yet they killed their only multi-platform game development toolkit, XNA.

Yeah they killed it to the point that you can still download it, use it and publish games on xbox, pc, wp7 and wp8

PmRd said,

Yeah they killed it to the point that you can still download it, use it and publish games on xbox, pc, wp7 and wp8

Are you being argumentative for the sake of it or did you actually not understand what I was saying?

Dr_Asik said,
Are you being argumentative for the sake of it or did you actually not understand what I was saying?

Yeah, you said they killed XNA

PmRd said,
Yeah, you said they killed XNA
Ok, I'm going assume you're being argumentative for the sake of it and just ignore you.

Dr_Asik said,
Ok, I'm going assume you're being argumentative for the sake of it and just ignore you.

Well for those of us who don't understand, how about you explain "killed it".

Alladaskill17 said,

Well for those of us who don't understand, how about you explain "killed it".

I believe he's referring to they will not be developing their next gen console with XNA is mind. Theirs no reason to argue over something so small.

Alladaskill17 said,

Well for those of us who don't understand, how about you explain "killed it".
XNA is not being actively developed anymore. It is not supported for developing Windows Store applications. Microsoft doesn't recommend XNA for developing games anymore. It remains "supported" in the sense that it's still available as a download on their site and it still does everything it used to do, but it has no future at least from Microsoft's POV. Open-source efforts (notably MonoGame) to re-implement the XNA API have quickly emerged as a result.

Dr_Asik said,
XNA is not being actively developed anymore. It is not supported for developing Windows Store applications. Microsoft doesn't recommend XNA for developing games anymore. It remains "supported" in the sense that it's still available as a download on their site and it still does everything it used to do, but it has no future at least from Microsoft's POV. Open-source efforts (notably MonoGame) to re-implement the XNA API have quickly emerged as a result.

So what's the current software? I've been away from it all for a while so I'm gonna assume we wait for next gen console and see what happens??

Colin McGregor said,
So what's the current software? I've been away from it all for a while so I'm gonna assume we wait for next gen console and see what happens??
Currently Microsoft wants you to use Direct3D and C++, but IMO that's misguided advice for most developers. Direct3D has an up-to-date lightweight wrapper in the form of SharpDX, and MonoGame (free XNA implementation) is already being used in many successful multi-platform commercial titles. The C++/Direct3D route should only make sense for those with the absolute most stringent performance needs and lots of time to waste.

It is possible that Microsoft will announce a successor to XNA with the next Xbox, but that's pure conjecture at this point.

PGHammer said,
Because what we really want are PC-exclusive (read Windows exclusive) games - not multiplatform *anything*.

I don't find that terribly realistic. I do hope the next gen consoles come soon though, since it'll raise the bar for multiplatform releases.

PGHammer said,
Because what we really want are PC-exclusive (read Windows exclusive) games - not multiplatform *anything*.

I don't get this logic from kids nowadays. Why does everything have to be exclusive? What's the big issue you kids have with everyone enjoying something on all levels. Its sickening and shows the difference between real gamers and clueless gamers. Everyone is so quick to expect PC only or PS3 only or XBOX only. Its stupid and anyone that thinks its how it should be needs to pack up their gaming device and move on cause your doing nothing but making it worse.

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