Xbox consoles and the Windows operating system have always been fairly closely linked — the “X” in Xbox originally stood for DirectX after all — but recently the Xbox One and Windows 10 have been growing more and more closely linked. Now the next step in that evolution is on the way.
Beginning this summer, the Xbox One will gain the ability to run Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, Microsoft Xbox Advanced Technology Group head Jason Ronald told Business Insider. For now these apps are still comparatively limited, but Ronald says that they will gradually open up over the course of the year to offer better graphics settings on the PC.
This change will see the Xbox Store and Windows Store merging into one unified store. It’s almost a certainty that the initial integration will hit some rough patches, but Microsoft is hoping to eventually blur the lines between its various platforms, for both users and developers.
The reasoning behind this is fairly simple: “It shouldn’t be easier to hit one platform versus another,” Ronald says. So essentially, developers should be able to easily target any platform they want, as long as it’s a Microsoft platform.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that certain developers are wary of Microsoft’s push toward a unified future. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney said earlier this month that with the UWP, “Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry,” including developers, consumers, and retailers alike.
For its part, Microsoft was quick to dismiss this attitude, defending the openness of the platform. Still, whether this move is successful will depend on whether developers are keen to start developing for the new model, and whether gamers are interested in buying what they’re selling.
Whether it’s successful or not, this is a move that has been easy to see coming since the launch of the Xbox One. What with allowing streaming between the console and a PC, and the recent cross-platform play unveiled by the company, it’s clear that Microsoft wants its customers not to see themselves as PC or Xbox gamers, but as Microsoft gamers.