Could Windows 10 be the Ultimate Evolution of Xbox One?

By Darren Whitham on 4th June 2015

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The announced release date of Windows 10 on July 29th, brings with it an array of features that look like they will bring a more Xbox type feel to PC gaming. Or to be more specific, a more unified experience both between Xbox One and PC and perhaps more significantly, bringing some of the best features of Xbox gaming into their new operating system. Announced in January on Xbox Wire Phil Spencer lifted the lid on the following exciting features:

  • The Xbox App. Whether you only game on the PC, the console or both, the Xbox app brings together the most important aspects of your gaming life: Games, Friends, Messages, Activity Feed, your gaming legacy with Achievements, and much more.
  • Xbox Live and multiplayer across devices. Xbox Live is social, interactive, and seamlessly integrated directly into Windows 10, bringing gamers the experiences they love across devices, like multiplayer gaming on Windows 10 against players on an Xbox One, and messaging and chat with friends. And developers will get full access to the Xbox Live API, making it easier to create more powerful gaming scenarios across devices.

  • Game Streaming. Thanks to the deep integration of Xbox on Windows 10, games on Xbox One can be streamed through your home network to your Windows 10 PC or tablet, anywhere in your house. Xbox One gamers will now be able to play many of their favourite console games on their PC. And many Xbox One accessories will work interchangeably on the console and PC (with more on the way), so you can customize your experience in whatever way you see fit.

  • DirectX 12. We’ve enhanced our graphics technology to squeeze every ounce of performance out of your supported hardware and open up a new wave of innovation for high-end graphics. Delivering greater complexity and detail on your current PC, games authored or updated for DirectX 12 are able to run faster and have richer visuals. And this technology is already in the hands of developers today. The engines used to power hundreds of games are implementing DirectX 12, including Unreal Engine 4 from Epic and, as we announced today, Unity.

  • Game DVR. On Xbox One, one of the most popular features used by gamers is Game DVR, which gives simple access to recording, editing, and sharing out your most epic gaming moments. It’s not easy or consistent to do that for PC games today. We’re bringing this beloved feature to Windows 10, now accessible by simply pressing Windows+G. With the games you love playing – whether on Xbox Live, Steam, or other services – you can record, edit, and share game clips with all your social networks.

So, there’s a lot of great features here and a lot of alignment between the Xbox One and it’s PC cousin.

These features show that Microsoft is invested in bringing the Xbox gaming experience that is so loved by its many fans much closer to PC and this will ultimately make the shift of an Xbox gamer deciding to move to PC that little bit more familiar.

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In addition to this, in an interview in May with gamesradar when asked about the failure of the Games For Windows Live initiative, Phil alludes to the fact that when GFWL was pushed out it

“wasn’t a fleshed-out programme fully supported by the Xbox team”

and that in the advent of Xbox One and Windows 10

“the Xbox team is fully committed to expanding what we’re doing across all of the Windows 10 devices”

He goes on to comment on VR and Hololens, it’s a great read so please, check it out.

So, with that said, these features and comments got me thinking, could this be the forerunner of the last actual Xbox console? Not the death of the brand by any means but more likely, the Xbox brand becoming the MS gaming brand / platform across all their devices – a portal comparable to steam / origin – and giving that Xbox experience to the gamer via this portal on whichever system?

Giving the sparse amount of time I currently dedicate to my Xbox One, I am crossing my fingers and hoping that the answer is Yes!

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A rocky launch, investment in faddy hardware instead of internal power, a higher price point and a less intuitive UI were all flying in the face of the Xbox One’s success. This, however, did not stop me from deciding upon the Xbox One as the first Next Gen console I would purchase. It was a hard decision but for me, I like a game that will show off the dawn of a new era in console power. The Xbox One had Ryse and that made the decision for me.

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Over time though, I used it less and less. Unlike my beloved 360, there just weren’t any games I wanted – same for PS4 I know. It was a drought in my time as a gamer when usually it was a time of joy and relishing in the capabilities of a new games machine.

I want to play on my Xbox One but I just never feel any draw, any pull, any reason to game on this console. There was Minecraft – but PC could do that anyway and I already had an account and its a better / more fully featured experience on there, but please! Minecraft should not be a reason to play a console! It should simply be a (fantastic) diversion from your amazing games collection. I realise things are slow at launch but believe me, I took that into account and even now almost 2 years into the life cycle I still am not drawn to my shiny big box.

I ask myself more and more what the point of my Xbox One is, with no games I want to play, hardly any exclusives and what exclusives there are feel tired, new IP’s mentioned at launch seem to disappear without trace and Kinect’s failure to be useful for anything game related.

People argue and I agree that it’s great for navigating the UI. But then why didn’t you release it as a microphone (like Wii Speak) Microsoft! It would have been great and allowed further investing in the Xbox One power!

Yeah it’s great for Twitch broadcasting and the odd party game but… man, what an epic misfire. And to do it twice too! After the original Kinect (MILO / Star Wars) and promising again how integral it would be and trying to force it onto the consumer, and saying it couldn’t be changed and then changing it (which was admirable even if unbelievably contradictory).

The Xbox One is not as powerful as the PS4, it has no exclusives that I consider are worth playing on (Please change at E3) and multi platform titles are in the main better on the PS4 and even better on PC.

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PS4 also has few exclusives that interest me – Bloodborne, for instance. It took it’s time to arrive but I really felt it was a next gen game.

Most, if not all the multi platform triple A’s run, or look better on it. The PS4 has more power so the gap will widen over the period that this gen lasts for. Though I still reel when thinking of the PS4 launch with Knack and Killzone – what a disgrace. Were any gamers involved in any of the 2 new console releases!

I was an Xbox gamer primarily last gen, still had PS3 too and a Wii. But I have flipped over. Back then it was all about the Xbox – the UI was better, the games were plentiful and multiformats – regardless of the PS3 being stronger technically, in the main ran best on Xbox 360 because of its architecture. So it was 360 for everything and PS3 for exclusives. Now its PS4 for everything and Xbox One for nothing.

So I ask myself, with VR coming and Windows 10 and DVR and better performance than any existing consoles, why haven’t I got a PC?

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This goes back to my last days as a PC gamer, Half Life 2 and graphics card cost. I was a PC gamer in the main for many years, getting on board when I saw the first Unreal. I was amazed! I continued using PC as my primary gaming device and when it came to Half Life 2 being released I knew I would need to upgrade. I did this willingly and gladly and loved gaming at that level at that time. When the Xbox 360 came out in Nov 2005 I was in awe of the move to HD and the experience that we were now afforded on a console. When my graphics card was starting to struggle with the games on my PC, and in light of the advent of Xbox 360 and PS3 I decided that shelling out for a graphics card seemed really expensive, as I could get a whole console for the price of one PC component. After this revelation, my beautiful gaming PC was left to eventual obsolescence while I dedicated myself to the consoles of that time.

Now, back to 2015 with the advent of new VR technologies around the corner and with PC component prices putting gaming PC’s within the reach of more and more gamers, is it time to get a PC? Mid range PC’s can already deliver a more powerful experience than the PS4 or Xbox One and at a fraction of the cost of yesteryear. They are not usually something you would have in your lounge for instance but then I remember moving all sorts of things around to accommodate my Kinect. Steam has its Big Picture mode designed to accommodate control with a gaming controller rather than keyboard and mouse and I’m sure Windows 10 with it’s Xbox App will accommodate this and if Xbox Live is an obstacle, Windows 10 will include this too.

This wasn’t meant to be a rant when I put finger to keyboard. It is by no means meant to be a red flag to Xbox One owners or in any way intended to fan flames or offend the gaming community. Just looks like I had an axe to grind ever since the latest gen was kicked off and the sites new so it’s all gone on here!

It’s just me airing my disappointment at our current generations performance so far but also, I’m looking to the future. I am seeing that Microsoft think that it makes sense to develop their much lauded Xbox brand along with Xbox live and all that fantastic functionality across many platforms instead of locking it in one closed box that can’t be upgraded or changed until the next big release.

These announcements, the rumours and rumblings and a pinch of my own intuition lead me to believe that the future for Xbox and maybe PlayStation and Nintendo is going to follow a new path. A path where you can enjoy your gaming experience on any platform you choose and your experience follows you rather than you following it. This is already a thing with Sony crossbuy – but only for their devices.

Could the advent of Windows 10 be a step toward our Xbox One’s being the first rung on the ladder to a PC? And is this a bad thing as PC’s become cheaper and more reliable?

I start to envision a future where everyone has a powerful PC with their gaming portals installed on it. You can play Xbox on there, or PlayStation or even Nintendo, Origin and Steam do it already and it works on a financial level.

This would open a new golden age of powerful universal games that can be played on a gamer’s platform of choice, the flames of the fanboys could be quelled as they could all work to a minimum standard and have tweaks applied depending on the power of the platform you were playing on, be it PC, Phone or Tablet.

And for those of us not ready to shell out for a PC just yet – well, there may always be the advent of Gaming As a Service – a fully working and smoothly delivered streaming experience played on the powerhouse machines of the provider and simply streamed to you – again in its infancy with PlayStation Now – but that, I feel, will have to be another article!

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