You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Xbox Woos Mobile Developers With Xbox Live Functionality

At this year’s Game Developers Conference, Microsoft is making a case to mobile game developers that they should use Xbox Live for their games. As it turns out, it’s about more than achievements and friend lists.

Xbox’s upcoming development tools to implement Xbox Live on non-Xbox, non-Windows platforms is currently limited to iOS and Android devices. Despite this week’s announcement of Xbox-exclusive “Cuphead” coming to Nintendo’s Switch this April complete with Xbox Live integration, there aren’t current plans to offer the tools to build that into Switch titles.

Instead, Xbox is at GDC offering what it believes to be a relatively painless means of not only integrating Xbox Live features into their games, it’s giving them access to a host of core functionality and features that might otherwise prove elusive — or that can only be found with some of Microsoft’s non-gaming competitors.

At the core of Xbox is offering is what the company is calling a “trusted gaming identity.” This is more fundamental than a Gamertag or handle. This is referring to the base identity tied to all of Microsoft’s services; the sign-in you might use for Live mail, Xbox Live, Office, Skype, or any of Microsoft’s other services. Attached to this base identity is payment and billing methods and of the security, Microsoft has developed, including two-factor authorization via app or text messaging. It also includes support for Microsoft’s parental content controls and restrictions, an increasingly critical element of mobile applications and games.

It’s clear that Microsoft believes that this feature set in and of itself is already a compelling pitch to indie developers hoping to build feature-rich games on mobile, but Xbox Live’s bigger-ticket features are also on the table. During the presentation, Xbox Live Services software engineer Ramsay Khadder demonstrated the process through which developers can add achievements and other Xbox Live features to their in-development projects with comparative ease, along with friends lists, leaderboards and the like.

There doesn’t seem to be a catch thus far, other than using Microsoft’s services and in turn agreeing to the company’s safety and privacy policies — a factor Microsoft is likely to aggressively enforce in the current climate of tech giant scrutiny and debates over privacy and personal information security, as well as issues of online harassment and safety. Other requirements are practical. While achievements and gamertag support is optional, if they’re used, they’re subject to basic restrictions; gamertags may not be truncated, for example, achievements must total 1000, and they may not be tied to microtransactions or specific purchases.

The question is what Microsoft and Xbox get from this arrangement, and the answer may lay in some of the stats the presentation opened with, particularly regarding engagement and its user footprint. According to Microsoft, Xbox Live currently sees a monthly active user count of over 64 million. As Microsoft looks to the future beyond single platforms and a Windows-focused mindset, it will be critical to build that monthly active user number, and allowing independent studios and developers to leverage it seems like a shrewd bet.

More Gaming

  • littlstar ps4 app

    Littlstar Expands Beyond VR With New PS4 App, Signs Up 30,000 Paying Subscribers (EXCLUSIVE)

    A&E-backed immersive content aggregator Littlstar is expanding beyond virtual reality (VR): The New York-based startup launched a dedicated PlayStation4 app this week, giving users of Sony’s game console access to their personal media libraries, as well as both traditional and 360-degree video content from a variety of publishers. Littlstar also announced that it signed up [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8 Production

    'Game of Thrones,' Netflix VFX Among Those to Be Featured in SIGGRAPH Production Talks

    VFX pros behind the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame,” Pixar’s upcoming “Toy Story 4,” last year’s Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Netflix series, including “Stranger Things,” and more will give SIGGRAPH 2019 attendees a behind-the-scenes look at their work during the conference’s Production Sessions. There will even be a [...]

  • jfk mooonshot ar app artwork

    JFK Presidential Library Releases Moon Landing Augmented Reality App

    The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has released an augmented reality app (AR) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and the role President Kennedy played in getting the U.S. to the moon. The app, which is available for free for iPhones and Android, lets users relive the Apollo 11 mission in their [...]

  • 'Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the

    'Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch' Is Still a Fantastic Anime Adventure

    Six years after it’s original release “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” is coming back with a Nintendo Switch version and remastered edition on PS4 and PC. It’s time for more long-winded, adorable JRPG action. It’s odd since comparing the new version of the Level-5 developed classic with the original game is pointless [...]

  • ‘Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’ Highlights The

    ‘Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’ Highlights The Mundane Side of The Anime

    There have been dozens and dozens of games based on the popular anime “Dragon Ball Z.” While most focus on recreating the series’s electric fight scenes, very few have explored the more mundane and humorous aspects of the characters’ lives. Fortunately, “Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot” (releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020) [...]

  • 'Empire of Sin' is a Bloody,

    'Empire of Sin' is a Bloody, Strategic Take on the Criminal Underworld of 1920s Chicago

    When Paradox Interactive and Romero Games announced their new strategy game, “Empire of Sin,” some fans may have been disappointed. They could have wanted another intensely violent and fast-paced game from John Romero, one of the original creators of “Doom.” They shouldn’t be though as ‘Empire of Sin’ is a deep, violent take on criminal [...]

  • 'Marvel's Avengers' is Crystal Dynamics' Indistinct

    'Marvel's Avengers' is Crystal Dynamics' Indistinct Take on a Comic Classic

    After 22 films in the leadup to “Avengers: Endgame,” the culmination of everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe built up towards, you’d think any other take on the classic team of superheroes would fall flat on its face. New faces would be eclipsed by the likes of Chris Evans’ perfect Captain America, Robert Downey Jr.’s dashing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content