Xbox Games on Windows: What it is, and what it is most definitely not

Xbox Games on Windows: What it is, and what it is most definitely not

The great folks over at Ars Technica have a post out today that explains in granular detail exactly how Xbox Games on Windows will function. Given that the project is a standard Microsoft soup of this and that, TNW decided to break it into bite sized bits for all of you, our readership.

After all, explication is our forte, or so we like to think.

If you were hoping that Xbox Games on Windows would turn your next PC into an Xbox console, prepare to be very dissapointed: that’s not going to happen. In fact, given that we hear consistent rumors concerning the Next Xbox Console (NextBox, we call it), it is very unlikely that there will be a full crossover; the Xbox appears set to remain Microsoft’s living room strategy at least through the Windows 8 era.

In the future could Redmond make the Xbox just another Windows machine? Sure, but we haven’t heard that, so it’s pure speculation at this point.

Here’s what you can expect from Xbox Games on Windows, via Ars: “[t]he best way to think of the Xbox Games on Windows is as a PC-based version of Xbox Live Arcade.” Exactly. I can’t improve on that explanation.

What this means in practice is that some titles on Windows 8 will be Xbox-branded applications that will use your gamer profile as part of the experience, linking in your points, and so forth. You will be able to find those apps in the Xbox section of Windows 8. This will give them extra prominence.

Other, non-Xbox-branded games will have to muck it out in the normal Windows Store channel, fighting with the rest of the hoi polloi for eyeballs and downloads. So, Microsoft will support two distinct gaming sections in Windows 8, one branded and tied to Xbox, and one not? That’s what appears to be true. Confusing? A little. Annoying? Slightly. Good for Xbox fans? In that it’s good to have Xbox inside of Windows 8, yes; ‘Xbox’ is a strong brand.

Where is all this heading? In the future, TNW anticipates that Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox will share games, in that they will all support certain titles as cross-platform. We are already seeing this occur between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, and now between Windows 8, and Xbox. Microsoft is slowly tying the pieces together, it would seem.

Wouldn’t that require the NextBox to run on a Windows core, akin to the shift that was made with Windows Phone 8? Good question, and you already know the answer.

For now, Xbox Games on Windows is just that: select titles for Xbox that are to be supported on Windows. It’s not a huge jump, but is instead more a minor hop towards a more unified future. Not that we would mind a picking up of the pace.

If you are running a Windows 8 machine, and if not for shame, hit up the ‘Games’ tile, and wash yourself in the Xbox branding. Flip around, this is Microsoft’s current vision for gaming.

Top Image Credit: Futurilla

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