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A new SDK will let mobile developers imbue their games with features like achievements, gamerscore, friend lists, clubs, hero stats, and some family settings.Â

Chris Kerr, News Editor

March 14, 2019

3 Min Read

Xbox Live is heading to mobile. Microsoft has laid out plans to launch a new cross-platform mobile SDK for that will let game devs add Xbox Live functionality to games on iOS and Android. 

As reported by The Verge, that means mobile devs will be able to imbue their games with features like achievements, gamerscore, friend lists, clubs, hero stats, and some family settings. 

It's not an all-or-nothing deal, either. Developers will be able to pick and choose which Xbox Live features they want to integrate, with the entire process being enabled through a single sign-in to a Microsoft Account. 

The Xbox Live mobile SDK is part of Microsoft's recently announced Game Stack initiative, which aims to bring together all of the company's game-development platforms, tools, and services -- such as Azure, PlayFab, DirectX, Visual Studio, Xbox Live, App Center, and Havok -- into a robust cloud-based ecosystem that any game developer can use.

Speaking about the new initiative at a media briefing this week, Microsoft's cloud gaming chief Kareem Choudhry said the tech giant has ambitions of uniting players around the world -- irrespective of their platform of choice.

"We believe so strongly in community, and Xbox Live really being at the heart of our gaming community," he commented. "If you watch what we’ve done, especially with Minecraft, over the past few years we’ve taken Xbox Live to as many platforms as Minecraft is on as possible. Really uniting all those communities together with a consistent singular experience for those gamers."

It's a sentiment that seems to be propelling Microsoft forward at breakneck speed. After all, it's only been a few months since it lifted the lid on Project xCloud, a work-in-progress streaming solution that will apparently let users access games on any device of their choosing.

The company's head of gaming, Phil Spencer, has also added fuel to the fire. He recently claimed Microsoft wants to bring its Game Pass subscription service -- which grants users access to major first-party titles like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza -- to "any device that somebody wants to play on."

It's chatter that has people envisioning a future without software exclusives: a world where you'll be able to suit up as Master Chief on the Switch, and take in the panoramic views of Forza Horizon on the PlayStation 4. 

Choudhry remained tight-lipped when asked about the prospects of seeing Xbox Live on rival consoles, but reiterated Microsoft's desire to keep building bridges. 

"Our goal is to really unite the 2 billion gamers of the world and we’re big fans of our Xbox Live community, but we don’t have any specific announcements as it relates to Switch today," he added.

"If you’ve watched us for the past few years, we’ve taken a very inclusive approach. Phil [Spencer] has been very proactive on issues like cross-play, cross-progression, and uniting gamer networks, and we’re willing to partner with the industry as much as we possibly can."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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