Microsoft is readying several gaming features for HoloLens

At the recent Game Developers Conference session in Europe, Microsoft's James Rodriguez talked about HoloLens and how Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) will be implemented on the futuristic wearable. He confirmed that several gaming related features were slated for release in the future.

First off, the Xbox Live API, which is already available for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile - and of course the Xbox One - will be coming to the HoloLens. This will include multiplayer gameplay. No timeframe was provided, of course, but work is indeed underway.

The second exciting development, which we already had hints for, is that developers can allow the same game to run across all the platforms which support the Universal Windows Platform,currently including PCs, phones, the Xbox and, yes, HoloLens. Being able to load the same game across all these devices is a win for both developers and gamers.

Not only that, but it seems that Microsoft will make the entirety of its new Store available to users of the headset. While Microsoft has hinted at this functionality since it first unveiled UWP, only now are the PC and phone starting to share the same store; according to Rodriguez, the Xbox and HoloLens will be included in the fold soon. Cross purchasing may also be an option for certain applications and games. Xbox users are expected to get the new store by the end of the year, while HoloLens compatibility will come around the launch of the device.

The third announcement, which is related to the previous ones, is that the company is also looking to make its ID@Xbox program available across all platforms supporting UWP. Since that includes HoloLens, Microsoft has pledged to provide indie developers access. Some games may even require no modifications at all when ported to HoloLens from another platform, with code pertaining to absent features like controllers simply being ignored. This will indeed come as welcome news to independent developers, who can now populate multiple devices using the same code with next to no modifications.

While Satya Nadella has indicated that v1 of the upcoming wearable will be focused on developers and the enterprise, Microsoft has certainly been making great strides toward unlocking the gaming potential of the platform - the company has a demo of Minecraft running on Windows Holographic already.

With the former lead of Mass Effect now overseeing game development on the HoloLens, and these recent improvements, Microsoft is certainly making sure that when the v2 aimed at consumers comes around, it has a fully-fleshed gaming ecosystem to offer its potential customers.

Source: VRFocus (1), (2), (3)

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