Microsoft appears to be gearing up for the release of a cross-platform Xbox Live development SDK. The information was published on the GDC 2019 site under one of the company’s sessions.
“Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players across platforms,” says the description.
Under a previous ‘takeaway’ section, the company described the SDK in more detail. It says Xbox Live will soon have a reach of 2B devices across Xbox, Switch, Android, iOS, and Windows 10.
The SDK will let developers easily connect players across those platforms. The idea is to remove the need for in-house multi-platform solutions, which can be costly and difficult to develop.
Microsoft says PlayFab gaming services will be included in the SDK. For the unfamiliar, PlayFab was acquired in early 2018 and is a back-end platform for cloud-connected games. It provides tools like player management, leaderboards, real-time analytics, and in-game events.
Breaking the Hardware Barrier
The effort ties into Microsoft’s larger goal to unite gaming platforms, with several efforts in the works. Game streaming service xCloud will be available on most devices, Xbox Play Anywhere unites PC and Xbox, and Game Pass will reportedly come to Switch.
On top of this, Microsoft appears to be testing native Xbox One support on PC, the free State of Decay offering pulling in resources from Xbox servers.
Of course, there’s still the logistics of cross-platform play to work out. When you have a userbase split across multiple platforms, questions of fairness begin to arise. It’s likely Microsoft will leave this down to developers, who can implement lowest common denominator-like systems if needed.
Either way, it’ll be exciting to see what Microsoft shows off at GDC 2019 on March 20.