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Buy a game on Xbox, get a copy for Windows – if Microsoft’s cross-buy works out

xbox one upgradable vision phil spencer windows 10
Image used with permission by copyright holder
In recent years, we’ve seen both Nintendo and Sony offer cross-buy perks to customers, a scheme where buying the console version of a title gives players access to its handheld counterpart and vice versa. Given that Microsoft has no dedicated gaming portable, they’ve been unable to join in — but now the company is establishing its own twist on the promotion.

Microsoft is forging plans to offer some of its biggest releases on both the Xbox One and PC, with consumers only needing to purchase the console version to gain access to both. The long-awaited Quantum Break will be among the first titles taking part, with pre-orders securing a copy playable on Windows 10 per a report from PC World.

Related: Xbox One Special Edition Quantum Break Bundle

It’s no secret that a huge part of the strategy behind Windows 10 was bringing Microsoft’s disparate array of hardware together under one banner. The Xbox One has seen plenty of change as a result, with its UI brought in line with the styling of Windows 10 on PC, and functionality like streaming console gameplay to a networked computer.

Having been an Xbox One exclusive since its release in 2013, critically lauded fighting game Killer Instinct will make its way to PC when its third season arrives this year. Earlier today, a now-removed report from Gamespot stated that exclusives Gears of War 4 and Scalebound will also be available on Windows 10, as documented on Reddit.

Responding to a question from a fan on Twitter, head of Xbox Phil Spencer expressed a desire to make cross-buy a “platform feature,” going on to note “we think it’s good for gamers.”

Bundling a PC version of the game with its Xbox One release will certainly add value for some consumers. However, there’s a risk that Microsoft’s focus on making big-name exclusives available on both platforms will harm the Xbox One in the long term, as PC gaming continues to become more popular.

The console wars are no less competitive today than they were when Sega and Nintendo jostled for power back in the 1990s. However, given the expanded scope of a company like Microsoft in contrast to the video game centric manufacturers of that era, tactics like this cross-buy gambit demonstrate the complex nature of the industry as of 2016.

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Brad Jones
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
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