A lot of PC gamers have been getting a lot of Xbox news recently. Why? Well, Microsoft is bridging the gap between the Xbox One and PC through Windows 10. This has led a lot of gamers to question if certain Xbox One exclusives could come to PC someday. Well, Xbox One boss Phil Spencer provided an answer.
The head of the Xbox division explained to PC Gamer that games mid-development aren't really great targets for multi-platform development, so titles like Quantum Break or Scalebound won't be making the hop to PC. Spencer explained to them in an interview...
Going to those teams mid-cycle and saying: ‘Hey, by the way, I want to add a platform,’ didn’t really feel like necessarily the best way to end up with the best result for the game. They had a path that they were on. It’s not to say those games could never come to Windows, but right now we’re on the path to finish the great games that they’ve started, and I want that to be the case. These games are on a path, whereas with, like, Halo Wars 2 I had the opportunity from the beginning, when we’re sitting down with the studio, to say, ‘Here’s the target. Here’s what we wanna go do.
This makes a lot of sense. For games like Scalebound or Quantum Break, they've been in development for a while and if their spec targets are centered solely around the Xbox One's hardware, it makes it a heck of a lot more difficult if you try to throw the multiple configurations of PC hardware into the equation at this stage of the development cycle.
Teams would have to consider asset size, the LOD for models and other objects, the controller options, the FOV, the streamlining of environments via draw distance, the memory allocation management and even the way some online components work for PC compared to Xbox. If some of these features were already finished then they would have to be redone for PC. While some games are built from the ground up with PC in mind, for other games it's not always the case... sort of like Red Dead Redemption where consoles were the specific target and the urban legend is that the coders didn't provide proper platform documentation, making it next to nigh impossible to do a quick and dirty port to PC.
However, Microsoft is changing and streamlining the process for making cross-platform support between PC and Xbox One a lot easier by putting part of the Xbox ecosystem on PC through the Windows 10 Xbox app. This effectively puts an Xbox One on a Windows 10 PC. While it's not native support it's still a step closer for allowing PC gamers to experience Xbox One games through streaming. Microsoft is taking it a step further by actually making native games for PC and Xbox One such as Halo Wars 2.
According to Spencer, Microsoft may even tap the old portfolio of games to port them to PC or make new iterations for PC. Spencer explained to PC Gamer...
“I look at the franchises that we have on console and I think there are some franchises that can work really well on PC. I also think about some of the things in our past, as Microsoft, that we used to have on PC, and say, ‘Boy, wouldn’t it be great if we brought some of these games back purely on PC.”
There are a lot of great games in the Xbox's library that would make for great PC ports, especially anything from the Forza series. But right now it's pretty much guaranteed that Halo and Forza are brands that move Xbox hardware. And right now Microsoft needs to increase the Xbox One's install base before thinking about taking some of its highly celebrated exclusives and putting them on PC. Even still, gamers can look forward to Halo Wars 2 and Fable Legends as two big brands making the leap from Xbox to PC.