Microsoft Expanding Xbox Live to Nintendo Switch and Mobile

Sheri Evans
February 5, 2019

Now a Game Developers Conference (GDC) session listing has revealed that it wants Xbox Live to power multiplayer gaming across iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PC devices.

"Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs", the description reads.

"Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger", the description for the presentation stated.

Microsoft declined to confirm or comment on the plans in response to GeekWire's inquiry. This is part of Microsoft's quest to reach "two billion gamers" across multiple platforms. Major game publishers are still competing with each other, of course, but more and more they're finding ways to cooperate and work together. When you install a new Assassin's Creed or Madden game, you also run into requests to sign up for the related services.

Both Google and Apple already offer similar gaming services on their respective platforms, though I find they are hardly ever implemented fully by the majority of developers.

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As it stands, players using the most updated version of Minecraft on PC can freely join games hosted by other platforms, and have their purchases and history carry over to any supported version, in a similar way to how Fortnite now does it.

Microsoft has done their best to incorporate cross-platform play into a wide variety of games in the last few years.

Xbox Live spreading to other devices like Nintendo Switch and mobile will see more players able to connect and play with one another, with mobile experiences like Fortnite, PUBG, Minecraft and others, as well as cross-play features, proving that there's certainly an appetite for it. Instead of coding up your own account structure and online presence, the argument goes, why not simply plug into the preexisting, millions-strong Xbox Live user base? This would allow developers to include features like Xbox achievements and friends lists in their Switch and mobile games.

This SDK, or XDK, will let Xbox Live users access their gaming achievements, friends list, clubs, and more across several devices.

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