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
- Avatar awards
- Friends list and community
- Achievements and gamerscore
- Roaming storage
- Real time counting services
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.