At E3 this year Microsoft announced a new initiative to open the Xbox platform from just console to a more open ecosystem, called Play Anywhere. Purchasing digital versions of games from a select list of Xbox games will enable users to play them on either Xbox One or Windows PC (via the Store), regardless of which platform the game(s) were bought on. This service will go live on September 13 via the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition update for PC after August 2, and Xbox One’s winter update.
The Play Anywhere feature will utilise a single save file and set of achievements that will straddle both Xbox One and Windows PC. Also any DLC bought for each game will carry over such as add-ons and season passes.
Polygon reveals the following:
“Enable the Windows Store on Windows 10 and Xbox One to support Xbox Play Anywhere games,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon. “Then, beginning with the launch of ReCore this fall and continuing with Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2 and others, when you digitally purchase a game that supports Xbox Play Anywhere, you have access to the game on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs for one price and your progress, game saves and achievements are shared seamlessly across both platforms.”
Below is the list of supported software, but bear in mind Play Anywhere is only compatible with the digital versions, not retail.
- Gears of War 4
- Forza Horizon 3
- Sea of Thieves
- Halo Wars 2
- Killer Instinct Season 3
- State of Decay 2
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- We Happy Few
- Crackdown 3
Sony has been operating their own cross-play support since around the release of the Vita between the handheld and the PS3. Nintendo eventually followed when it brought Nintendo Network ID support to the 3DS in late 2013, allowing cross-platform purchases for a very select list of titles. Now, Xbox will support a similar feature spanning home console and PC. Whether this system will play into Microsoft’s favour, or some sort of detriment by encouraging a surge in PC hardware purchases rather than console investments is yet to be seen.