Microsoft’s plans for gaming have taken a dramatic shift over the last five years, going from being closed off and insular, to more open or, from another perspective, more domineering. Now that they’ve officially announced that they’re opening their Xbox Live framework to iOS and Android game developers, and in tandem with Project xCloud, it’s clear that they want their fingers in as many pies as possible, instead of keeping things locked down to their own platforms.
The SDK will have Xbox Live features like achievements, Gamerscore, player stats, friend lists, clubs and family management controls.
Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s gaming cloud chief said, “We believe so strongly in community, and Xbox Live really being at the heart of our gaming community. If you watch what we’ve done, especially with Minecraft, over the past few years we’ve taken Xbox Live to as many platforms as Minecraft is on as possible. Really uniting all those communities together with a consistent singular experience for those gamers.”
The new cross-platform mobile SDK is another evolution of their push for cross-network play, which they opened up to in 2017, first as a way of uniting their Minecraft audience and as a way to break down barriers between Xbox One and Windows 10 for their other first party titles. That’s since spread to include Nintendo Switch and mobile with Minecraft, but now the potential is for third party developers to use the same frameworks themselves.
Of course, Microsoft aren’t the only ones pushing for this kind of cross-network integration, as Epic Games announced in 2018 that they would be sharing their own cross-platform multiplayer framework as part of Unreal Engine.