Teknylate.com and Insideris.com have reported that with the next versions of Microsoft’s PC operating system, Windows 8, will include the function to allow users to play Xbox 360 games on their PC’s. Interesting, Games for Windows Marketplace, the previous PC game portal from Microsoft, was integrated into Xbox.com. With rumors of the next Xbox system looming, how does this reflect Microsoft’s plan for gaming going forward?
Microsoft has not made an official statement about the feature yet. From the two sources, the Xbox Live Dashboard or marketplace will be accessible through the PC. Users should be able to download and play any content from the Xbox Live marketplace as well as read game discs with their PC to play them.
The service will still cost a subscription fee. Whether existing Xbox Live members will need to pay extra to use the PC extension isn’t known. Technical details are very scarce at this time.
So, let’s speculate on what this move could mean for the next Xbox (Xbox 720 if you wish). My first suspicion is that backwards compatibility of 360 games in the next system may be a factor. Microsoft may be considering dropping backwards compatibility of Xbox 360 games in the new system for the sake of technological restructuring. Microsoft did start off the Xbox 360’s life with no backwards compatibility and no promise in the future. Fast forward and you see Microsoft not only allowed original Xbox discs to be played in the system, but started hosting the best of the library as downloadable titles.
Perhaps, the next Xbox will forego BC for the early time-frame, so Microsoft is covering its back through this PC initiative. Sony proved that you can even remove BC mid-way into your consoles life-span without killing your business. Microsoft may be ready to take a bigger risk this time because of the competition’s success.
Considering that Microsoft is primarily a PC oriented company, it would be no surprise if they are trying to merge their platform with their other PC products. I’ve said before that one of the big video game companies may design their next system more like a gaming PC, rather than a dedicated gaming machine. Microsoft is clearly trying to make Xbox an entertainment platform for music, movies, television, and gaming.
Building Xbox game playing into their new OS (which is meant to be used on PC, tablet, and mobile) may be Microsoft’s way of getting around their lack of portable gaming presence. Instead of participating in the handheld war between Nintendo DS and Sony PSP (3DS and soon-to-be Vita), Microsoft will target devices people already own. I’ve also stated before how LAN play is extremely desirable to Xbox fans, and PC fans are no different. Now, you don’t need an Xbox Laptop, you just need Windows 8 on your current laptop; a much better option to the all consumers and Microsoft.
What purpose will the next Xbox serve then? It will play the games that most devices can’t play yet. It will be the box under your TV. The average consumer doesn’t upgrade their PC parts too often and the next Xbox is sure to have specs matching, if not exceeding high-end PCs of today (and I’m talking like today-today, not 3-months-from-now-today). Most people don’t even know they can hook their PC up to a standard HDTV. Surely, we’ll see Xbox 720 games become playable on PC someday, but not until those specs are standard. Then again, your next PC could be the next Xbox.
Teknylate.com: Play Xbox360 games on PC – Windows 8 Insideris.com: More Xbox 360 Games on Windows 8 details
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what do you guys think? i think this is fucking awesome, even if we have to pay an addition subscription fee to use the feature.