Microsoft is cooking up something for GDC that will make gamers very happy. It has an entire GDC session where it will debut and talk about its new cross-platform development platform that will bring support for Xbox Live to platforms including Android, iOS, and the Nintendo Switch in addition to the Xbox and PC platforms that it already supports. Notice there is no mention of support for the PS4 from Sony. Microsoft noted in its GDC session description that when the new SDK rolls out for all the other platforms, it will reach over 2 billion devices, a massive gain from the 400 million gaming devices it reaches right now.
There are a few Microsoft games out there now that have support for Xbox Live across mobile devices, such as Minecraft that needs an Xbox Live login on Android, iOS, and the Nintendo Switch. With the new cross-platform service rolling out, Microsoft will support more than its own games. Devs will be able to integrate cross-platform Xbox Live achievements, social systems, and multiplayer into games built for mobile devices and the Switch. Such a significant expansion for Xbox Live should mean a much higher number of users for the Xbox Live service, something important to Microsoft for future growth.
On the GDC website schedule, the description notes that Xbox Live players will be able to take their gaming achievement history, friends list, clubs, and more with them to almost every screen they might have. Microsoft says that the move will “break down barriers” for developers who want their communities to interact across platforms. Microsoft also notes that by combining the expanded Xbox Live service with its PlayFab gaming services, that developers can spend more time on making games fun. There has been a substantial cross-platform push between platforms with the only major company offering resistance being Sony.