Microsoft is bringing Windows 10 to Xbox on Thursday in another important strategic movement for the company.
By unifying all of its offerings around Windows 10, Microsoft is positioning itself as a lean and nimble company and, most important, one that is developer-friendly.
In a briefing, Microsoft explained to Business Insider just what bringing Xbox into the Windows family would mean for the company.
“Xbox is going to be powered by Windows 10,” said Jeremy Korst, the general manager for Windows and devices at Microsoft. “When you think about that on a road-map perspective for Windows overall, us having this common platform across all these devices really allows us to drive innovation so much more broadly.”
This is an important move for both Xbox and Windows.
“We will be able to bring more gaming to the PC,” Korst said. “Now that we have this common platform, over time it allows us to drive this forward.”
Universal Windows Apps are “built once and then deployed across all Windows 10 devices,” Korst said. “We are the only platform that can do that.”
Korst gave an example of a Universal Windows App built by Virgin Atlantic that allowed the user to “see” around a first-class flight. “What this app really is, is an app built upon a universal platform that allows for an immersive experience,” he said. “The most immersive experience [Virgin] have so far is on these [HoloLens-style] goggles which attach to the Lumia 950.”
Both Apple and Google are far from implementing anything close to Microsoft’s Windows 10 offerings, though Google is trying.
So how does it work in practice?
“If you think about it, we have different device classes,” Korst said. “Apps can take advantage of different capabilities on different devices. Our vision is somebody could write an app that works across all devices, but then that developer may choose to write to a specific device class, for example HoloLens or Xbox.
“You can write an app that will run across all devices, and it will run great,” Korst added. “We’ve got partners — such as Box, Salesforce, SAP — who are helping [doing that] but on top of that if there are specific capabilities that a specific device has, you can choose to take advantage of those.”
How would this work on Xbox?
“In a gaming instance, in the future, someone could write a game that runs across all devices but wants to take advantage of some of the specific performance enhancements of Xbox,” Korst said. “You have an even more immersive experience.”
This is also true for HoloLens.
Beyond Xbox, Microsoft is getting a lot of enterprise-developer interest.
“Now,” Korst said, “instead of having to develop a different app for a smartphone, a different app for a PC, a different app for a tablet, [businesses] can do it across the board, and the platform does the work in terms of optimising for the screen it’s on.”
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