Microsoft’s new Play Anywhere initiative announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 (E3 2016), it will allow gamers to play a game on both Windows and Xbox when buying either one. The name of the first title for the program has also been revealed.
The premise is that the gamer can start playing on PC, and afterward, can pick up the Xbox and keep playing where the game was stopped, completely intact. Play Anywhere will save the progress to a single file, tracking a unique set of achievements and, most importantly, won’t cost any more than a regular game. But the feature that will probably be the most popular is that gamers can play with others who don’t have the same console. And yes, it will include Gamerscore, Downloadable Content, add-ons, season passes, consumables and in-game unlocks.
However, the downside is that Play Anywhere does not work with all games, only with those that were designed that way. This means the Xbox game will need to opt into the program and use Microsoft’s tools to share their data across platforms.
It won’t also work with discs, only with the digital version of the game, and it also will require that the user has both the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition update on his PC, which will be available on August 2 and the summer update on his Xbox One console.
The lucky game
In an interview with Eurogamer, Mike Rayner, the technical director of Gears of War 4 developer The Coalition stated that the game would be the first one to benefit from the Play Anywhere.
Nonetheless, he also claimed that the game would not be the same for PC or the Xbox One, since gamers who play the title on Windows 10 will have a bonus, gaining access to exclusive features.
Rayner stated that the v-sync tearing is recently coming to the Universal Windows Platform, and the unlocked frame rate support will be available for Gears of War 4 for the PC.
He argued that the idea was to deliver a more highly customizable and optimized experience.
This means the game will take better advantage of multi-core CPUs, which will allow GPUs to higher frame rates and provide enhanced video quality.
— Xbox E3 Fans (@XboxE3Fans) July 24, 2016
Gears of War 4 for the PC will also have “dynamic resolution support,” including increased texture resolution of up to 4K for some texture groups, a benchmarking mode that will give gamers information on the hardware upgrades they make, ultra-wide monitors, full input remapping for the keyboard and mouse, and other various settings for video.
The game for PC will also support super-sampling, a system developed for the game using the Xbox One’s dynamic scaling. The idea is to provide the user with super sharp images in high-volume cut scenes and outside combat.
There are twenty-eight video settings, with plans to add more to give players, even more, control over the game’s visuals. Gears of War 4 will probably feel like it is a title native to Windows 10, given all its PC-only features, despite it likely being the ‘chase’ Xbox One title for this year.
Is there any more information regarding other games?
Another promising title for Play Anywhere is Halo Wars 2, a real-time strategy (RTS) video game. It is scheduled to be released on February 21, 2017. Its best feature is the ability to play online with up to six other players through some multiplayer modes.
State of Decay 2, which will be released on 2017, is another well-rounded game. It is a pen-world exploration, third-person action, and survival-fantasy role playing game.
In this title there is not a single protagonist; the gamer must play with an entire community. Since it is an open world game, no two files are alike; the collective choices will shape how the game develops and ends. Using Play Anywhere, one can play with up to four other co-players.
And finally, Scalebound, also scheduled for release in 2017. The title is described as an action role-playing video game played in a third-person perspective.
Scalebound is currently under development by PlatinumGames and is suppose to have a gameplay unlike any other previously developed by the studio.
The title puts more focus on graphical qualities and the role-playing aspect instead of action. The visuals are expected to be so crisp the game is labeled as “photo-realistic” and also features a multiplayer mode consisting of up to four players.
Microsoft revealed the first list of games included in the Play Anywhere program, which so far is comprised of:
- Gears of War 4
- Forza Horizon 3
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- Sea of Thieves
- Halo Wars 2
- Killer Instinct Season 3
- State of Decay 2
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- We Happy Few
- Crackdown 3