Xbox LIVE Windows 8 gamers can play against PC, WP7 and Xbox

By Tom Warren, on 15th Sep 11 6:37 pm with 44 Comments

Xbox LIVE on Windows 8

Microsoft demonstrated its Xbox LIVE support for Windows 8 on Thursday.

Microsoft program manager Avi Ben-Menahem detailed the company’s plans for Xbox LIVE inside Windows 8 during a session at BUILD on Thursday morning. Xbox LIVE on Windows 8 is a big move for Microsoft as the company looks to the future of Windows across multiple devices. The Xbox LIVE service is available in 35 countries today and has around 35 million subscribers. Xbox LIVE users spend around 2.1 billion hours per month on the service, roughly 60 hours per user per month.

“It’s a huge opportunity for you as developers,” explained Ben-Menahem on Thursday. Microsoft has done some incredible graphics work in Windows 8 to improve the speed of game launches and their performance. Microsoft is bringing the following features to Windows 8 Xbox LIVE:

  • Roaming save state
  • Title managed storage
  • Beacons
  • Avatar awards
  • Avatars
  • Friends list and community
  • Achievements and gamerscore
  • Multiplayer
  • Roaming storage
  • Real time counting services
  • Achievements

Ben-Menahem demonstrated achievement support in Xbox LIVE for Windows 8 using Pinball FX2 (see below). The game launched very quickly and was smooth throughout the demo. Microsoft is implementing Metro style notifications in the lower left hand of Xbox LIVE games in Windows 8. The notifications slide into view for achievements and appear green in color at this stage of development.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE implementation is the fact that Microsoft is building async multiplayer into the platform. Async multiplayer will allow Windows PCs, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 users to play against each other using multiplayer and matchmaking functionality. The support brings a new level of multiplayer gaming to Xbox LIVE once Windows 8 is available.

Ben-Menahem also revealed that Microsoft plans to open up its developer side of Xbox LIVE for Windows 8 in a weeks time. Participating for developers will be free of charge and the audience at BUILD on Thursday morning appeared impressed with Microsoft’s work on Xbox LIVE for Windows 8. Expect this to be extremely huge for Xbox and Windows gaming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mitch-Foster/100000527225418 Mitch Foster

    Stoked!

  • Anonymous

    i want this <3 i hope Game Developers wont get stupid and will not take advantage of this not like what happened with Xbox pc crossplatform which was not really used.

    but Xbox live on Windows 8, sounds a really nice thing to have. i cant wait!

  • http://www.searingarrow.com AlienSix

    This is true gaming power

  • http://twitter.com/alanfeekery Alan Feekery

    This is some serious stuff, a proper online gaming platform that mixes desktop, console & phone. Amazing!

  • http://twitter.com/OldCongress Gamer

    This brings a whole new level of gaming, and Apple without such ecosystem will die!
    Microsoft FTW

    • Aaron

      You must not know about the hugely popular and successful Pippin.

  • Anonymous

    love it… still waiting for xbox live async games on wp7 though… where are those at? i mean MS should have a handful of hasbro games like risk/monopoly and games like catan that are super obvious for turn based async. then they should work on more hardcore ports like a civilization variant, a halo wars port, simple RPGs that have battle systems like Pokemon (just an example)

    • Anonymous

      IIRC, it’s supposed to be introduced in the Mango update.

      some kind of Halo Wars port for Windows Phone would be rather interesting. Classic RPG’s wouldn’t hurt either.

    • Chris Hill

      I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought Pokemon – battles and trading – with a synced character across 3 different devices would be fantasmagorically amazing. One can dream…

  • rojo

    OMG!!!!!

  • rojo

    OMG!!!!!

  • rojo

    OMG!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    This looks like TRUE cross platform gaming, not just limited to PC’s/Macs like Steam is (I don’t count the PS3 because the console itself doesn’t implement it). This is also what EA’s Origin is striving to be, but I think it will be outclassed by this.

    One good indication is that they used a Xbox 360 arcade title, which shows that they might allow developers to publish their games for both XBox 360 and Windows 8 (maybe even Windows Phone) all at once. That will give XBox Live a bit of an advantage over Steam.

    What I don’t see mentioned yet, is whether PARTY CHAT is included in this client.

    • Aaron

      I tried out Windows Live Games or whatever it was called about a year ago.  I’m pretty sure I remember it already having party chat with xbox users.

    • Aaron

      I tried out Windows Live Games or whatever it was called about a year ago.  I’m pretty sure I remember it already having party chat with xbox users.

    • Anonymous

      No, it has basic private chat. You could receive Party Chat invites from XBox 360 players but it will not allow you to join.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Werner/100000621679538 Adrian Werner

      Why would any developer go for that? You need to pay MS a substantial free from every xbox360 game sold, you don’t have to do it on PC. So why would any dev release just one version that they will make less money from?

    • Anonymous

      That is the big question. Microsoft obviously has to find a way entice developers to release for both platforms, so how they approach it or whatever policy changes they make will be key.

      As far as price, that’s another big piece of the puzzle to watch for. Perhaps they’ll tier the prices for one platform vs two. We won’t really know until we cross that bridge.

      If MS is smart (and the jury will be out on this point for some time), they will charge developers once (XBox 360 only) to publish for both platforms.

    • Anonymous

      How about:

      Using a Windows 8 tablet/laptop as the extention of your Xbox 360 gaming sessions for on the go use

      Being able to start a game on Xbox and pick up where you left off on Windows 8

      Keeping the same gaming community that you are use to from Xbox Live

      Buying the game once and being able to play it on multiple platforms (phone, Xbox 360, Windows 8)

      Cross-platform play between devices

      For devs – having more people exposed to their game/s from the app store instead of a specific website the user may not know about

      Because devs get the added functionality of Windows 8 “Contracts” to make their games/apps better

      Lots of reason.

      Devs can still make typical PC games that require a serperate game’s client or single website to buy/download, but anytime their’s a App Store involved, that will be the way the vast majority of users who buy that device/OS get their applications.

  • Anonymous

    This looks like TRUE cross platform gaming, not just limited to PC’s/Macs like Steam is (I don’t count the PS3 because the console itself doesn’t implement it). This is also what EA’s Origin is striving to be, but I think it will be outclassed by this.

    One good indication is that they used a Xbox 360 arcade title, which shows that they might allow developers to publish their games for both XBox 360 and Windows 8 (maybe even Windows Phone) all at once. That will give XBox Live a bit of an advantage over Steam.

    What I don’t see mentioned yet, is whether PARTY CHAT is included in this client.

  • Aaron

    I’m going to bring up the big elephant in the room that only one person has mentioned: Steam.  With such a huge install base and the best daily/weekly deals, I can’t feel confident that this will gain any traction.  Windows Live Games or whatever its called was released years ago and most people still don’t know about it.  Of coarse if they actually do support true console to PC multiplayer, then things may change.  It would be nice to just buy the game for the system you want, without having to worry about which system your friends plan on using.  That would finally give MS a leg up over Steam.

    • Anonymous

      I think if MS allows developers to release titles on Live for both platforms, then that will present an interesting challenge to Steam.

      I think with the implementation of async across all of their platforms, that buy once play anywhere might just be what is on the horizon. However, the biggest roadblock to that isn’t Microsoft, but the developers themselves. Reason being that they lose a sale through that system. So it won’t surprise me if some developers end up raising the price of their games or offer a tiered purchase system. Either way you approach it, it depends on the developers.

    • GP007

      The old GfWL doesn’t matter, it’s gone and it shouldn’t be brought into this at all.  Everyone knows about Xbox and everyone who plays games knows about Xbox Live.  The fact you can bring XBL Arcade games and play those on the 360, PC and the Phone is something you can’t get with Steam.  Last I checked I don’t have steam on any phone, and outside of the PC steam only links with the PS3, another thing I don’t much care about at this point either.

      The other key here is that this isn’t a middle ware app, there is no app like steam sitting loaded to the side between the game and the online service.  The Xbox Live APIs are in Windows, at the OS level, this, as you notice by the video, mean the games start up faster as well, there’s nothing sitting there that could screw things up or crash out. 

      True syncronus MP between 360 and PC could happen as well, but right now because they also want to target the phone which already has Xbox Live on it, then Async arcade games come first, that makes the most sense.  Also any dev who’s made a 360 or phone game can also target this on the PC now with minimal work and have it up and going.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ricardo-Dawkins/746307628 Ricardo Dawkins

      +1 to you. Well said.

    • Anonymous

      STEAM is PC and Mac only, does not cross-platform with anything else, does not provide a diverse mix of input medthods (touch, Kinect) and does not talk to the best selling console the last 14 out of 15 months in the Xbox 360. The beauty of Windows 8 is that Steam will continue to work, but now MS is giving everyone that buys a Windows 8 device an out of the box gaming solution that cross-platforms with WP7 and Xbox 360 in the touch friendly Metro world, instead of the more K&M/desktop centric world of Steam. This is huge because it allows for senarios like buy it once and play it on all…start a game on the Xbox 360 and pick it up where you left off on a Windows 8 tablet etc.

      Also understand that the Windows Store will have games ranging from free, all the way up to $60 and beyond. Any price points Steam can give to its members, you can bet the Win Store will already have games at that price or better. MS will bring games from the phone, PC and Xbox into this store, so their will be no shortage to the types of games one could buy. Once you add the Windows 8 Contracts features thats avalible to all apps in the app store for things like search and share, its a no brainer that at least on Windows 8, the gaming hub will be used more than Steam. Also understand that since x86 programs (this includes games) wont work on Windows 8 ARM devices, the people who buy them (just because they want a classic tablet experience) will not have access to Steam on those devices since Steam is x86 only.

      GFWL was just like Steam in the sense that you had to intentionally go out and download the client. Because of this most people thought it better to just stick with Steam because they were basically the same. And then from a dev standpoint, you had to make seperate versions for both Steam and GFWL (if you were using the Live aspects). Thats not the case with the Xbox Live powered gaming hub on Windows 8. It IS the native gaming solution for the platform. All Metro style games being sold in the app store will have to go through this gaming hub. Devs dont have to worry about different features or anything like that…they get all of these things for free…they just make the Metro game and give it “contracts” and Windows handles everything else.  

      Lastly, who says you cant use both? Be members of both. Why play the fanboy game on the same platform? Expand your gaming horizons. Be a fan of GAMES, not of clients. For those that still play Steam, they will still have the option on their x86 devices but be happy that MS is opening up games to a wider audience.

  • Jimmybanks

    wait, users can play AGAINST eachother?

    last i checked keyboard and mouse absolutely obliterate controller gaming…

    as a 360 gamer i do not like this.

    • Anonymous

      Async is turn based.

    • Anonymous

      Async is turn based.

  • Gamertag_thebrit

    So if you don’t have Xbox live, and you get a computer with windows 8 and buy an Xbox live compatible game – do you have to pay a monthly / yearly fee to play against Xbox 360 users??!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thats is not known at this point. However if you look at WP7 and GFWL, MS has made Live on those platforms free, so its not too far of a strech to think they wont do it again for Xbox Live on Windows 8. Thats not to say their wont be a gold service, but just that their will be a free multiplayer componet.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Cross-medium Xbox Live gameplay will only end up taking 4 years more (2008 was the rumored target) than originally thought back in 2006!

    It reminds me to the “Online Office” vision and concept rumored as Live Desk from 2007. Something that still to this very day has not fully materialized. But that you can mostly archive if you use Hotmail-SkyDrive-OWA AND Docs.com. At least for the consumer side. In the case of business and enterprise Office 365 does make that a reality and then some.

    Two of the non-windows related “big vision” and “big plays” from Microsoft that have taken forever to materialize.
     
    But yet nowhere near as long as the “Microsoft powered full TV” vision thatis yet become fullfilled and has taken well over 12 years!

  • Spartansoulja

    thank god they didnt implement real time multiplayer :/ the last thing xbox needs is hardcore games choosing a pc not to mention getting their a$$ handed to them by PC gamers lol

  • Spartansoulja

    thank god they didnt implement real time multiplayer :/ the last thing xbox needs is hardcore games choosing a pc not to mention getting their a$$ handed to them by PC gamers lol

    • Anonymous

      This is the same crap people been saying for years yet has no merit. Ive been a GFWL gamer since day one and played ALL my games on PC from my 50″ HDTV on my sofa with an Xbox 360 gamepad. NOT ONCE did I have problems competing with K&M users. Infact I was in the top 5 for the most part, often kicking much ass in Halo 2. But the real reason why your theory is crap is because it only pertains to SHOOTERS, and RTS games. Everyone that talks this garbage never mentions fighters, racers, sports, RPGs, Co-op, beat’em ups etc. If all you can think is competitive shooters and RTS games when thinking about K&M vs gamepad then you have already failed.

      I would love to play games like Forza 4, Gears of War 3, NBA2K12, Dance Central, Crackdown, Fruit Ninja Kinect etc, WITH and against PC players (Xbox and Windows 8). The more the merrier. More importantly, I see no reason why I shouldnt be able to start a game on my Xbox, and pick it right back up on my Windows 8 tablet on the go. When iPhone users can play a multiplayer game against iPad users…I dont expect to hear moaning because the iPad users screen are bigger, thus they have the advantage…its just about the functionality and having fun. Why cant MS do the same thing? On your sofa on the Xbox or on a lunch break at the office…use the input method that works best for you at the time and have fun. Not everything is about highly competitive shooters.

  • Spartansoulja

    thank god they didnt implement real time multiplayer :/ the last thing xbox needs is hardcore games choosing a pc not to mention getting their a$$ handed to them by PC gamers lol

  • zohaib akbar

    Please answer me to make it clear

    Will it be able to play X360 games on Windows 8 or just be able to play online for multi-platform games or also offline mod?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Werner/100000621679538 Adrian Werner

    Might be cool for console-centric players, but I think MS once again doesn’t seem to grasp what core PCgamers want. Playing agaist 360 users is a terrible idea and can’t be done properly outside simpliest casual titles. Well…can’t be done without crippling the superior PC controls.
    They’ve also announced there’s won’t be plug-ins support in metro IE, which means you can kiss your browser games goodbye. 

    I thought I could use metro UI as my primary UI, but more and more it looks like I will have to stick to traditonal Windows and just use metro for when I convert my Thinkpad into tablet mode.

  • Grubik

    i have to ask so now is possible to play Forza on PC?

  • Grubik

    i have to ask so now is possible to play Forza on PC?

  • Anonymous

    This is a game changer!

    MS you are killing it right now.

  • Xtremegamingmaster

    This will be great but to play games to a xbox 360 standard you would need a beastly gaming computer like mine! Specs: i7 extreme 990x overclocked, gtx 590, 16gb of 1866mhz ram!

  • Xtremegamingmaster

    Oh yeah and HALO on pc… so much for xbox exclusive, sigh…. 

  • Bob Dillan

    People are saying they wouldn’t want to play a console game against a pc with mouse&keyboard, and I say why not? Scared of a little challange? I play PC and 360 regular. Sometimes PC with a 360 controller. I am personally up for the challenge if any cross platform multiplayer comes around. A case of beer and some serious sh*t talking!

  • Stusy

    Good idea in principle but with do many flaws. Which game companies will sign up to this, with so many on Steam and EA using origin whats left, just look at game for windows!