Premium gaming services like Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus have done very well on consoles, but they’ve largely been absent from the world of PC gaming. Multiplayer is almost always free (except MMOs), and Steam sales have kept the cheap games flowing at a constant rate. But now Microsoft is considering bringing Xbox Live Gold to the PC, and finally giving Valve a run for its money.
Recently, Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra spoke briefly regarding bringing Xbox Live Gold features to the PC. Right off the bat, he dismissed the idea of requiring pay-to-play multiplayer on Windows, so fear not, PC gaming diehards. Microsoft isn’t going to try to push that issue anytime soon, so don’t worry. Instead, this will likely be focused on the “value add” features like the Games with Gold program.
If this works like something of a game subscription service, there is a lot of money to be made. Not only could the allure of cheap games draw in more customers into Microsoft’s digital ecosystem, but this could be big news for game developers as well. Since there are already so many existing games on Windows, this gives developers the potential for a new revenue stream with minimal effort. Ink a deal with Microsoft, slap your existing game on the Windows store, and wait for the check.
So, what else would the Gold service offer on PC? Ybarra kept his lips tight on exact plans, but the recent Windows 10 event gave us a glimpse into what Redmond has up its sleeve. During the gaming portion of the event, Phil Spencer showed off Fable Legends multiplayer working across the Xbox One and PC. It’s certainly been attempted before, but it’s never really worked quite right. Tying cross-platform multiplayer to Gold would make a lot of sense. At the very least, it would give Microsoft the incentive to take that feature seriously this time around.
Additionally, it’s possible that Microsoft will take a cue from Sony, and implement cross-buy and cross-save functionality on its gaming platforms.Wouldn’t it be nice to push your Xbox One‘s saves to the cloud, and pick up right where you left off on your PC? That’s little more than speculation for now, but Xbox One remote play has already been announced for Windows 10.
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