During E3 Microsoft teased a few new features coming to the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, and most of them are geared towards bringing like minded gamers together regardless of their platform preference. The Play Anywhere program will give gamers a digital copy of all first party titles for both platforms, and progress will sync between the two, which is just one step towards uniting gamers across these gaming platforms. Does this mean the next Halo will be on PC? More than likely if you take Microsoft’s above promise to heart, but other new features such as the Looking for Groups (LFGs), Clubs, and the Arena Tournament platform will be even more important in bringing gamers together regardless if they play on the Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC.
To me the one new feature that will unite Xbox console and Windows 10 PC gamers unlike ever before though is the LFG feature, which will work for PC titles in addition to Xbox One titles. This means even long standing PC franchises like League of Legends will get this feature, which will allow gamers who share similar play preferences to partake in gameplay sessions that suit their styles. Even though League is a PC title, gamers on the Xbox One will be able to see Clubs, LFGs, and hopefully Tournaments for the game and be able to participate in them. If they want to play they’ll have to switch over to a Windows 10 PC, but thanks to these new features, they’ll always be informed on what’s going on with their favorite PC-only titles.
I saw the Arena feature in action, and while most PC versions of Xbox One games may not support cross-play due to the unfairness of using a keyboard and mouse in an RTS, or even in some shooters, the application is awesome for those who want to scratch their competitive gaming itch. Tournaments can be easily entered from the XBL dashboard on either platform, which in turn will add a countdown clock to the dashboard to remind you of your competition. Once the competition starts you’ll automatically get a notice and can join in on the action. The Arena app appeared very detailed, and contained match results, the full bracket results of a tournament, and any awarded prizes. It just looks like one of the best ways to compete in gaming tournaments without having to jump through a bunch of hoops using third party services to arrange regulated competitions, and if games do support cross-play then this app will further bring PC and Xbox console gamers together.
Microsoft may have stumbled out of the gate with the Xbox One, but a few years later it appears like the tech company has listened to gamers and has crafted a gaming experience based on their needs. The unification of Xbox gaming consoles and Windows 10 PCs is huge, and will only make it easier to hang out with friends and game regardless of which platform you’re both playing on. In the end it’s all about playing games and having fun, so hopefully the great platform divide debate will one day be squashed (yes PC gamers your platform will always be the most beastly in terms of tech), and gamers won’t have to feel like defending their brand of choice. If you can enjoy yourself while gaming who cares what device you’re using, and it appears like Microsoft is beginning to embrace this mantra with the upcoming updates to its gaming platforms.
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