Everything is Not As It Seems…
Xbox Play Anywhere is the Microsoft corporations latest gaming baby. It allows players to purchase a digital copy of a game on either their PC or Xbox One, and they automatically own it on the other system. (So long as the PC is running the Anniversary edition of Windows 10.) This sounds great for people like me. I have both machines and two children who like their computer time also! So in theory, Xbox play anywhere would let me play downstairs on my home PC while my boys enjoy a bit of Xbox time upstairs. In an ideal world, as I enjoy gaming with them, it would also allow me to play alongside them on certain titles… However, it isn’t all a bed of roses.
The List is Growing
Many new games will support Xbox Play Anywhere. There are several big titles in the pipeline for release on the Xbox Microsoft website that boast this capability. Gears of War 4, State of Decay 2 and Scalebound are some on the coming soon list. However, the option of there being linked servers, so my lads and I could play alongside each other from different rooms in the house, doesn’t look to be on Microsofts list of priorities. Gears of War 4 for example does not support cross platform gaming despite having the tag “Play Anywhere.
Xbox Play Anywhere…Eventually
Another fail in this regard is the early access title Ark:Survival Evolved. It already has a large online following with many players already busy crafting, taming and gathering in the dangerous dinosaur filled landscape. I was very close to sinking another 20 odd quid into the game which I already enjoy on Steam, but wanted some clarification as to whether me and my eldest son would be able to ‘tribe up’ with one another.
The Rivalry Is Real
My hope is that as time progresses, more and more developers catch on to the idea that there is some serious money to be made by adapting the games programming to allow cross networking. Imagine an online world where you could face off on your beloved Xbox One against the hardened PC gamers. The rivalry that already exists between the console user and the personal computer user would be a fine thing to continue across many genres of gameplay.
Story Good, Online Better
There is a trend of single player, story driven games still being popular. The success of Naughty Dog with its Uncharted series, along with stand out game The Last Of Us, must have played some influence in blockbuster upcoming releases Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 including a single player story mode. It is the story mode that has many people excited about the release, however it is undoubtedly the online side of gameplay that will have the more longevity.
Where to Go From Here?
I hope the game studios can settle their differences and allow the future of gaming to be cross platform. My view, Xbox Play Anywhere is a step in the right direction, but more progress must be made before it can truly be classed as “Play Anywhere.”