Recently Microsoft and The Coalition unleashed cross-platform playability between Xbox One and Windows 10 users for Gears of War 4. Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, saw it as a great opportunity to further expand the library of the Xbox One and PC with cross-play features.
Gamespot caught wind of the set of tweets from over on DualShockers, where Spencer discussed seeing it as a good feature to bridge the communities. It was recently implemented into the last update for Gears of War 4's multiplayer modes. Specifically, the cross-play feature is designed for casual gamers to be used only with the social Quickplay mode in the game. You can utilize the playlist to play against other players from a different platform. So if you're gaming on Windows 10 you can play against Xbox One users, and if you're gaming on Xbox One you can play against Windows 10 users.
They limited the cross-play to the casual Quickplay mode to keep things fair. The Ranked modes in Gears of War 4 are still platform segregated, and that's mostly due to the fact that they don't want Xbox One gamers getting owned repeatedly by Windows 10 gamers, even though the latter only appears in cross-play multiplayer games at a ratio of 10 to 1.
And despite gamers hoping that there would also be cross-play compatibility between PC and Xbox One users in Halo Wars 2, sadly that's not happening either. Spencer cites the engine specs being the reason that they won't be allowing PC and Xbox One gamers to compete against each other in the RTS game, but I think the disparity between the precision play of controllers and mice are big enough to make anyone to notice.
In games like Halo Wars 2 the reliance on using a controller to select units and target locations is way slower than using a mouse to select units and target locations. It would almost be like PC players moving at double the speed of console players.
It looks like cross-platform play is going to be a major feature of Xbox products going forward. This likely means it's going to be a major part of Xbox's next console. We're expected to see the Xbox Scorpio make its debut at this year's E3. Microsoft will need a good assortment of games to launch alongside the console to really give people a reason to step up to the mid-generation refresh.
If things continue to go well with the cross-play with Xbox One and Windows 10, they'll likely continue this trend right up into release of the Xbox Scorpio.
It's a little too early to tell exactly how well cross-play will turn out on the community front because it's still early goings and feedback is still coming in, but we'll likely see how well the community takes to cross-play later in the year after it's had time to saturate.