Microsoft announces that the Xbox is coming to the PC.

From the Guardian’s piece called, “Microsoft to unify PC and Xbox One platforms, ending fixed console hardware“:

 During a press event in San Francisco last week, Spencer said that the Universal Windows Platform, a common development platform that allows apps to run across PC, Xbox, tablets and smartphones, would be central to the company’s gaming strategy. “That is our focus going forward,” he told reporters. “Building out a complete gaming ecosystem for Universal Windows Applications.”

This is, he explained, the culmination of the company’s vision over the past year. In January 2015, Microsoft announced that it was bringing an Xbox app to Windows 10 PCs, allowing cross-platform play and a cohesive friends list across both platforms. Then, in November, the Xbox One was updated to be compatible with Windows 10, bringing a new interface and features to the console. In late-January, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella told attendees at the dotNet conference in Madrid that UWAs would be coming to Xbox One, but did not specify in what capacity.

I actually predicted that Microsoft would do this eventually in Steambox vs. the Incumbants (Xbox One, PS4):

Here are my bets:

• Valves strategy will play out over the next 3-years.
• Microsoft will make their Xbox One experience available as a digital download–you’ll be able to run your Xbox games on your Windows 8 PC.
• PC OEMs will manufacture generic gaming consoles certified for Windows 8.x w/ the Xbox One Experience and Steam OS, but Valve will have the upper-hand because they will support game streaming to android and iOS mobile devices.
• Game streaming from a single high-end PC to lighter / thinner clients will be norm by 2015.

Valve’s Steambox strategy never really played out the way I expected (although they still have 6 months to make my prediction come true).  It was disrupted by the emergence of VR over the last 12-18 months.

In general, the OEM Steamboxes are disappointing.  It makes sense for Microsoft to unbundle the Xbox One’s experience as consoles just don’t have the penetration that PCs do and growth has stopped in both industries.  They can buoy their media business by extending their reach into PCs.  With regards to generic hardware that can run both Windows and SteamOS, this is exactly what the OEMs are doing (e.g., Alienware’s Alpha is the same box for Windows as it is for SteamOS).  It’s unfortunate that SteamOS hasn’t caught on–I would blame the poor performance of Linux GPU drivers. There is little advantage to buying a SteamOS box–the Windows experience with Steam Big picture is just better and more versatile.

Game streaming is still an emerging behaviour, and the forays into it by Steam (via their Steam Linkbox) and nVidia haven’t set the world on fire.  Sony, to their credit, are definitely making headway into this.  Things that hold this back is that this almost always requires a wired-infrastructure.  Wired ethernet is less common now a days and most homes are linked through single WiFi routers. Moreover, single purpose devices (like Steam Link) don’t appeal to general populace.  It needs more mass consumer features (e.g., Netflix, Youtube, etc.).