Microsoft's crusade to get the world to install Windows 10 remains in full force, and to sweeten the deal, the Redmond, Washington giant will start allowing cross-buys for some games on Windows 10 and the Xbox One. In other words, if you buy a game for the Xbox One, you'll also be able to play the game on your PC running Windows 10 whenever you wish. It'll even share the save files, allowing you to switch platforms at will. In time, Microsoft hopes it'll become a "platform feature" of the Xbox One.
It's an especially commonsensical and easy deal for Microsoft, which owns both platforms, and it gives the company an edge over Sony and its PlayStation 4 gaming. It's also a part of a larger emphasis on system integration at Microsoft, which already allows the few Windows Phone users to control games on their Xbox One.
As with so many things in the gaming industry, the announcement, which centers on Remedy's upcoming shooter Quantum Break, wasn't without its share of controversy.
Some Xbox One players worried it signaled a move away from console game development, while PC players worried the move would somehow "dumb down" their own experience. Some bristled at the announcement purely because Quantum Break had previously been announced as an Xbox exclusive.
After the host of the fascinatingly named YouTube channel CrapGamer Reviews announced he was cancelling his Quantum Break preorder as a result, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer expressed his incredulity:
@The_CrapGamer You cancelled a pre-order for a game you want to play because someone else get's to play the game on Windows?
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February">https://twitter.com/XboxP3/status/6978147431851089... 11, 2016
As GameSpot notes, Xbox marketing executive Aaron Greenberg also emphasized in Friday's Major Nelson podcast that the cross-buy option isn't meant to diminish the importance of the Xbox One in any way.
"People should know: Xbox is a big priority and a huge commitment," Greenberg said. "Please do not let the fact that we are also launching a game on the same day on Windows 10 change your perspective on the importance of the console business [or] our commitment to innovating on console."
The cross-buy option, Spencer said, allows customers to get the same game regardless of which experience they prefer.
"We are focused on the best place to play for gamers, not about creating walls," he said in a later tweet.
But some new walls exist as a result. One small catch is that the Windows version of Quantum Break won't be available on the popular PC gaming platform Steam—you'll have to buy it on the Windows Store if you want it on PC. But the offer isn't without some other perks as well. Players who pre-order the game before April 4 will also get cross-buy versions of Remedy's earlier hits Alan Awake and Alan Wake: American Nightmare for free.
Again, the only clear winner here is Windows 10, which now has the exclusive, attractive ability to play Xbox One games. Maybe it's time to upgrade, after all.