Windows 8: Xbox LIVE integration with PC to WP7/Xbox support

Today Microsoft dove into detail about the Xbox LIVE service integration with Windows 8. The addition of Xbox LIVE on Windows 8 will bring general and advanced gamers a similar experience as their console to the desktop.

Microsoft showed off some demonstration about how the Xbox LIVE integration works by showing off leaderboards, achievements and even full 60fps gameplay.  

Microsoft is looking to give users a similar experience across all platforms for Xbox LIVE. Xbox 360 will receive a dashboard update later this year that will feature a new Metro-style layout. Xbox.com will also undergo a minor update to stretch the Xbox Metro theme across all platforms, even the web.

Games will be able to unlock achievements & gamerscore, get ranked on leaderboards, unlock avatar awards, use friends and community, set beacons and play multiplayer games with friends. Users will also be able to view profiles, friends gamerscore and even compare your games with your friends.

The biggest feature is that Microsoft is bringing Async to Windows 8, so users on the PC can play with other PC users, Windows Phone 7 users and even Xbox 360 users. The power of Async will connect gamers on all platforms, no matter where in the world you are.

If you've ever wanted to setup a game with friends, you can set up a ‘beacon' that will alert your friends that you will be playing a specific game at a specific time. This will help manage clan matches and connect you with friends.

Developers will have a sigh of relief knowing that Microsoft is introducing enhanced security measures with their Windows 8 games.  Pirated games will not be able to unlock achievements, use leaderboards, play online with friends or any other service that Xbox LIVE offers when a game has been detected as illegitimate.

Microsoft announced that there are currently 35 million subscribers on Xbox LIVE, with over 2.1 billion hours played per month - that is roughly 60 hours per user, per month. To date, users have unlocked 176 trillion gamer score, yes, trillion.

Windows 8 Xbox LIVE integration definitely has a lot of potential to become a huge success with not only advanced gamers, but tablet users who just want to play a simple card game.

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38 Comments

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Eberton Sobreira said,
I really don't like Xbox Live integration with Windows.

The reason GfWL has issues is that it's not Steam *and* breaks from the usual direct paradigm (it's why there has continued to be resistance to Steam itself, for example). The issues with the GfWL front-end have not helped any.

well... there is no game right now with Games for Windows Live, where you can play online, unlock achivements or anything like that. there are some hacks, that will let you play through stuff like Tunngle (or hamachi, but hamachi sucks), like... Resident Evil 5. but you cant receive achivementes and that stuff, and you dont play through Microsoft.

But it sounds amazing specially the Async thing, hopefully developers take advantage of that, and dont start being idiots like they were about pc to xbox multiplayer. hopefully they will use this Async so i can play with my friends and with my wp7, with no problem.
sounds like a dream, a nice dream will come true, i hope. but i cant wait for it.

it would be nice to know how they will update Games for windows live client. i like it but it looks not like xbox.... specially now they have a MMO game like Age of Empires Online, which is free to play, so alot of people want to try it and play it. and they need GFWL

If developers have got any sense I can see cross platform mini games for Win 8 / WP7 allowing you to unlock certain features in xbox 360 games.

Microsoft's vision for xbox live doesnt just seem to be games though. Xbox live is a service that's providing TV, Music and Movies. If MS can sort out its licence providers so that it's music and video libraries are bigger I could see a really powerful cross platform subscription platform being unveiled. Then MS will unveil the Xbox Live Diamond or Platinum service. How cool would it to be able to steam music, video and games over all 3 devices? Of course MS would want a good fee for this ...

Cool. Sounds like they're working hard on connecting the various devices. I can't wait until WP7 and XBox are better connected for sure. lol

M_Lyons10 said,
Cool. Sounds like they're working hard on connecting the various devices. I can't wait until WP7 and XBox are better connected for sure. lol

It's getting better but I hope we hear more about Windows Phone Kinect

the better twin said,
So will the xbox live gold charge still apply only for xbox 360 gamers while the other two platforms go free?
Seems like a raw deal to me.

We can also hope that it means a re-imagining as to what is a Gold feature

the better twin said,
So will the xbox live gold charge still apply only for xbox 360 gamers while the other two platforms go free?
Seems like a raw deal to me.
Why should we all of a sudden pay for something that was always free?

the better twin said,
So will the xbox live gold charge still apply only for xbox 360 gamers while the other two platforms go free?
Seems like a raw deal to me.

No, the Xbox 360 service is it's own closed thing as far as MP play goes, and maybe in the future they could make MP free and keep all the extra stuff for Gold, but I doubt it. Saying that, this shouldn't effect the PC or the Phone at all, MS knows that they can't charge for MP on the PC or people will just to go Steam or Origin etc.

the better twin said,
So will the xbox live gold charge still apply only for xbox 360 gamers while the other two platforms go free?
Seems like a raw deal to me.

Not really, as XBL silver membership is not platform-specific today. GfWL membership and XBL silver membership are, in fact, identical and cross-compatible right now. (Both are based on and cross-compatible with Windows LiveID; all three can be, and, in most cases are, identical.) Lastly, XBL Gold membership benefits are, for now, unique to the XB360 - they don't or can't apply to Windows or Windows Phone due to differences in how each platform works. That's a difference that doesn't apply to XBL silver (basic) membership.

Unless I missed it in the article it wasn't mentioned whether or not current existing games could work on the PC, I doubt they will be able to run but one could hope.

Ninja Grinch said,
Unless I missed it in the article it wasn't mentioned whether or not current existing games could work on the PC, I doubt they will be able to run but one could hope.

Everything that runs on Windows now will run on Windows 8. Xbox 360 games are NOT going to run on Windows 8, ever.

~Johnny said,

Everything that runs on Windows now will run on Windows 8. Xbox 360 games are NOT going to run on Windows 8, ever.

Did you even read the article? I mean I could have misread it or misunderstood it but still.

Ninja Grinch said,

Did you even read the article? I mean I could have misread it or misunderstood it but still.

Yeah I read it. They're bringing the Xbox LIVE service over. They might try and port a couple of Live Arcade games over, or make new counterparts to existing games, but they're not going to bring everything over. Even if that wanted too it'd be insanely difficult.

~Johnny said,

Yeah I read it. They're bringing the Xbox LIVE service over. They might try and port a couple of Live Arcade games over, or make new counterparts to existing games, but they're not going to bring everything over. Even if that wanted too it'd be insanely difficult.

Perhaps but that doesn't mean they will not, in your own words "ever".

~Johnny said,

Yeah I read it. They're bringing the Xbox LIVE service over. They might try and port a couple of Live Arcade games over, or make new counterparts to existing games, but they're not going to bring everything over. Even if that wanted too it'd be insanely difficult.

I dunno about the future, or what they'll do with this in regards to the next Xbox system as well, but XBLA games should come over (if the devs want to) without much issue really. The key here is that you have the ability to save your state and have it roam with you. That's something they demoed on WP7 a year ago and it's not coming together on Windows 8 as well. Now I can play a game on the 360, save, and resume it on the PC or the Phone. Not to mention playing vs 360/PC or Phone players as well which is another plus.

Arcade games make the most sense right now, they also work well on the phone and MS wants to target that as well. I expect that 3rd party devs will ask for and would like to have PC vs 360 MP just like how the PS3 does through steam, and I expect MS will bring that as well in time.

Ninja Grinch said,

Perhaps but that doesn't mean they will not, in your own words "ever".

Emulating an Xbox 360 is not a practical reality. Even if we had the power, the complexity would be extremely great. Microsoft couldn't even get a proper original Xbox emulator together on the 360, despite having a dedicated team on dedicated hardware. It's just not viable to happen.

Ports can happen, but there's going to be no magic.

~Johnny said,
Even if that wanted too it'd be insanely difficult.

Indeed - unless they are going to do some kind of thin client off of a server farm approach or unless they've developed a VMWare for Xbox360 OR the next XBox is a PC unit under the hood (like the original Xbox was).

~Johnny said,

Yeah I read it. They're bringing the Xbox LIVE service over. They might try and port a couple of Live Arcade games over, or make new counterparts to existing games, but they're not going to bring everything over. Even if that wanted too it'd be insanely difficult.

Actually, it's probably not as difficult as you'd think.
The main issue with emulating a games console is the graphics. Graphics by their nature are very processor intensive. Most accurate emulators do everything in software (i.e. on the CPU) and as you're probably aware, GPU's are many times faster than CPUs at what they do (With the tradeoff being that they're very specific in what they can do, whereas CPUs are general).
ANYHOO, the 360's software runs on what's essentially a modified version of the DirectX API's. Many of these APIs can be mapped 1:1 with the DirectX calls you get on a windows machine, meaning your graphics card should be able to perform the majority of the graphical operations rather than the CPU.
Of course, the 360 has a powerful CPU that'd need to be emulated, as well as a whole bunch of other technical challenge, but I'd say it's definitely possible.

Developers will have a sigh of relief knowing that Microsoft is introducing enhanced security measures with their Windows 8 games. Pirated games will not be able to unlock achievements, use leaderboards, play online with friends or any other service that Xbox LIVE offers when a game has been detected as illegitimate.

Ouch...... but still this won't stop me from downloading game-fixes for their stupid auths or SecureCD etc protections.

MariosX said,

Ouch...... but still this won't stop me from downloading game-fixes for their stupid auths or SecureCD etc protections.

Hopefully with the Windows Store you won't have to do that.

MariosX said,

Ouch...... but still this won't stop me from downloading game-fixes for their stupid auths or SecureCD etc protections.

They'll probably use similar anti-piracy measures as they do on the Xbox 360 in relation to DLC. So it shouldn't be much if a problem for downloaded games.

MariosX said,

Ouch...... but still this won't stop me from downloading game-fixes for their stupid auths or SecureCD etc protections.

Or buy the game?

M_Lyons10 said,

Or buy the game?


That's not what he's saying. He's saying he downloads cracks/fixes to get rid of crappy DRM. Before Steam I did the same thing.

So how is this going to work when Windows 8 comes with only DirectX/C++ support and the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone's apps only run on XNA?

Omen1393 said,
So how is this going to work when Windows 8 comes with only DirectX/C++ support and the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone's apps only run on XNA?

XNA has always supported Windows games.

MASTER260 said,

XNA has always supported Windows games.

Yes, but the Xbox live features advertised above are only available to developers who use direct 3d in their games on windows 8. In addition, XNA games won't be considered metro apps, and won't be on the windows app store.

Omen1393 said,

Yes, but the Xbox live features advertised above are only available to developers who use direct 3d in their games on windows 8. In addition, XNA games won't be considered metro apps, and won't be on the windows app store.

The last picture has "Xbox Live SDK for Windows Metro style Game Development" so I would assume that would include XNA. XNA is also used for games on WP7 and they're on the WP marketplace so, yes, XNA games are considered metro apps and should be on the Windows app store as well.

Omen1393 said,

Yes, but the Xbox live features advertised above are only available to developers who use direct 3d in their games on windows 8. In addition, XNA games won't be considered metro apps, and won't be on the windows app store.

You realise the app store isn't just for Metro apps? Any Windows app can go on it.

Omen1393 said,

Yes, but the Xbox live features advertised above are only available to developers who use direct 3d in their games on windows 8. In addition, XNA games won't be considered metro apps, and won't be on the windows app store.

XNA is just a wrapper for Direct3D, DirectPlay, DirectInput, etc....

~Johnny said,

You realise the app store isn't just for Metro apps? Any Windows app can go on it.

Yes, but Microsoft will not host the app on their web server unless it is a metro app. Unless I heard it incorrectly, which is entirely possible.

Omen1393 said,

Yes, but Microsoft will not host the app on their web server unless it is a metro app. Unless I heard it incorrectly, which is entirely possible.

Hm... That's not what I've heard, so I'm really hoping you heard that wrong...

M_Lyons10 said,

Hm... That's not what I've heard, so I'm really hoping you heard that wrong...

Nope, it's true. The Windows Store page will still include all the details, screenshots, reviews, etc. But it will give you a link to the developers website to download it - hence the developers don't have to share ANY revenue with Microsoft, and can use whatever existing payment services and systems they've been using for years.

Oh.. I looked for this live stream everywhere on the buildwindows.com site, but couldn't find it.. Hope it's not long before they post it Looks great!

kekarlsen said,
Oh.. I looked for this live stream everywhere on the buildwindows.com site, but couldn't find it.. Hope it's not long before they post it Looks great!

They are doing a very good job at getting the sessions up in less than their 24 hour target.