Xbox Play Anywhere (XPA), announced at E3, is a resurrected and altered version of the original Xbox One idea.
The XPA program lets you play Xbox One games on PC, at least Microsoft’s own Xbox One games as they’ve just announced. It’s unlikely many other companies will use the program as they can simply release the game on various PC storefronts. If Microsoft even have it open to other companies.
Cloud-based saves and cross-platform achievements are the main bonuses under this new arrangement. Allowing players to switch between platforms while keeping the same progress. You also get both versions from buying the game once, with the caveat that you have to buy it digitally. Buy it on the Xbox One store and you get a Windows 10 version, buy it on the Windows 10 store get the Xbox One version. Sadly but rather obviously the Windows 10 Marketplace will be the only place you can buy these, no Steam support here.
All Microsoft Studios future titles supporting XPA is a rather bold move, one I’m not sure will play out much in the Xbox Ones favour. Generally consoles reply partly on exclusives to sell as they can’t really market themselves on performance, at least not for long.
While XPA does keep the games within the Microsoft ecosystem, I could see it hurting the Xbox One. If you can play Halo 6, Gears of War and Forza on your PC, why would you stump up the €380/400 or £330/350 for an Xbox One. (Of course some people might prefer getting an Xbox One to getting Windows 10…)
There is also the odd idea Microsoft have of it. Where it’s a system to play a game on your Xbox One and then go into a different room of your house to continue playing it on PC. I mean does anyone keep a PC capable of playing games and their console in different homes? I fail to see the appeal of XPA to someone with both a gaming PC and a Xbox One, but maybe that’s just me.
Either way, we’ll see what people make of the XPA program when it launches on September 13.