The era of buying the same game multiple times across platforms is, however slowly, coming to an end.
As a part of an update coming to Windows 10 later this year called “Xbox Play Anywhere,” when you buy a game published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox One or PC, you’ll automatically have access to that game on the other platform too! Buy it once, get it both places (or multiple places, really — anything that’s running Windows 10 and capable of powering the game).
Better yet, your save files and Achievements will be synchronised across both platforms. That means you can start playing “Gears of War 4” on your PC, and then migrate over to the living room later on Xbox One.
If you’re thinking of taking advantage of this, keep in mind that the offer will only apply to the digital versions of games, not if you purchase a physical disc in a store. Also of note: This doesn’t mean that all games published on the Xbox One and PC will automatically be yours — this applies to games published by Microsoft (think: “Halo,” “Forza,” “Dead Rising,” etc.).
This “Xbox Play Anywhere” initiative is just one piece of a larger trend that shows Microsoft moving towards a more Apple-like model of handling the many devices it offers: whether you play on an Xbox One, Xbox One S, the beefed-up “Scorpio,” or a Windows 10 PC, they will use nearly identical operating systems and you’ll have access to the same content.
Sony already offers something similar through its “Cross-Buy” initiative, allowing players to have access to certain games across PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and its handheld console PlayStation Vita. Additionally, rumours surrounding Nintendo’s new console launching next year suggest the “NX” might allow players to take their console games on-the-go.
And, if you really want to play a game on your PC that’s locked to your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, both consoles allow you to wirelessly stream games to a computer on the same WiFi network. Essentially, game companies are moving towards a future in which you’ll be able to access all of your games across multiple devices.
For a full list of the games that are included in this plan, visit the Xbox Play Anywhere site.