Microsoft has officially announced that it’s extending Xbox Live network to iOS and Android devices. The company will launch a cross-platform mobile software development kit that’ll help developers make their games on iPhone and Android handsets compatible with Xbox Live.
For the uninitiated, Xbox Live is a gaming hub meant to enhance the social aspect of gaming, with features including achievements, Gamerscore, hero stats, friend lists, groups, and more. These will all be available on the iOS and Android implementation, along with some family settings, as well.
Just weeks ago it was rumored that Xbox Live was coming to a number of third-party devices, most notably including the Nintendo Switch. Although Microsoft is clearly pushing to make its service available on as many platforms as possible, Nintendo’s hybrid console is unfortunately missing on that list. In time, that could change.
“[W]e don’t have any specific announcements as it relates to Switch today,” said Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s gaming cloud chief, as The Verge reports — “today” being the keyword there, as it could mean support will be coming down the line. Microsoft and Nintendo have been in good partnership terms ever since offering cross-platform play on Minecraft for Switch.
Microsoft’s bigger push to expand where Xbox Live can be accessed and what games it can support will be a boon for console and mobile players alike. After all, the network is about connecting players from different parts of the world. Game developers, meanwhile, will enjoy the freedom to cherrypick parts of Xbox Live to integrate into their titles.
“We believe so strongly in community, and Xbox Live really being at the heart of our gaming community,” said Choudhry. She cites Minecraft as an example, where Microsoft strived to create a “consistent singular experience” for gamers regardless on which platform they’re on.
Microsoft wants developers to follow a similar path and bring Xbox Live to even more smartphone titles. While some games on iOS and Android already support, say, achievements, they’re only enabled in titles that come from Microsoft Studios itself. The new SDK, of course, will change that to include more third parties in the mix.