If you own an Xbox One and have seen play anywhere advertised on some games such as Halo Wars 2 and the new Gears of War you may be asking yourself a few questions. What is it? Is it useful? Why has Microsoft done this? I wish to cover why not only is this a brilliant move on their part but also why it’s a bonus to everybody and what it does.
To begin I will go with the reasons why I believe Microsoft have had this planned for almost a full year and a half. Many may remember on July 38th, 2015 China finally lifted its 14-year ban on consoles opening an entire market for consoles like the Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 to start selling. Microsoft moved very fast in order to make sure that they had the edge in this market. The next day July 29th, 2015 Windows 10 was released and made free to upgrade to almost everybody not very long after making it one of the most popular operating systems on PCs to date.
The relevance between the two? Almost all of China’s gamers were playing on PC, then a majority got given a free update to Windows 10. Advance to earlier this year and Microsoft announced that they aim to have it so PC players and console players will be able to play on the same Minecraft servers opening to door to ‘cross-console’ gaming. They also have released Xbox Play anywhere which basically functions as a normal digital download game, with the exception that when you purchase a play anywhere title, it gives you a copy for the Windows 10 game store and your Xbox One’s store giving you essentially 2 games for the price of one.
Now you should be able to paint a picture of marketing of this to China, as a consumer there, why would you buy a Wii U or PlayStation 4 over an Xbox One. With an Xbox One you will be able to play with your friends on PC and if you already own a PC you’d be buying 2 games for the price of one on play anywhere titles. As an example for £64.99 (or ) you can Purchase Halo Wars 2 Definitive Edition which gives you a Play Anywhere title of both Halo Wars 1 and 2, which totals up to a value of 4 games for the price of one or one and a half. It doesn’t stop there though because Play Anywhere is not just Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, it is any Windows 10 device, be it a phone, tablet, console, laptop or desktop. Why buy a console that could potentially cut you off from your friends and local gamers?
You can join Xbox Live parties from any device, set up ‘look for groups’ on your train home from work on a windows phone, play gears of war from your Laptop at work during lunch to continue the story, go round a friends with a laptop or tablet and play Minecraft together building an awesome structure.
Play Anywhere is a feature that opens up cross-console compatibility, Microsoft jumped on the chance and seized it. If PlayStation wants to do something similar they are stuck with making deals with Linux and some other smaller operating systems. This starts them off already at a huge disadvantage. Xbox’s Play Anywhere is the next step in their ‘all in one’ console plan and it has no downsides.