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Microsoft's Open Invitation To Valve, Nintendo and Others To Join Xbox One and PC Crossplay (vg247.com) 175

Microsoft has said it's ready to have a "conversation" with any development team that wants to feature crossplay support on consoles and PC. From a report: Mike Ybarra, vice president of Xbox, told VG247 that it's happy to talk to the likes of Valve and Nintendo when it comes to getting multiplayer games working across multiple platforms, not just between Xbox One and Windows. "It's more about gamer choice, more about making an IP on our platform last longer. I don't care about where they play, I just want people to have fun playing games because that's just better for the industry," said Ybarra. "The demands of consumers and developers have changed," he continued. "People are like, 'we want all of our gamers in one multiplayer pool together, playing.' "We totally agree with that. If any developer wants to have that conversation... Valve is right down the street from us, Nintendo is too -- they're like a block from us. We're having these discussions as developers come up, and we're completely open to that."
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Microsoft's Open Invitation To Valve, Nintendo and Others To Join Xbox One and PC Crossplay

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  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:03AM (#55102829)

    I read that as

    Microsoft's Open Invitation To Valve, Nintendo and Others To Join Xbox One and PC Cosplay

    And wondered what the hell sorts of things are going on in MS these days.

    • Open invitation to (...) to join Xbox One and PAY. Microsoft is looking for a revenue stream here. Cross platform gaming is a feature, a reason to BUY your console.
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        That makes no sense... Cross platform means you can play on your Playstation WITH people on XBox, so you don't have to buy the platform you don't want. Or are you saying it will cost no matter which platform you use? In which case, too bad. The masses have spoken and they want multiplayer and if you don't like it, don't buy the platform.
        • That makes no sense... Cross platform means you can play on your Playstation WITH people on XBox, so you don't have to buy the platform you don't want.

          This is *Microsoft* we're talking about.

          You can bet that "Crossplay" will practically implemented as games released for other platform being also able to log-in onto microsoft's accounts (XBLive or whatever it's actually called).
          Meaning that now even gamers owning only Nintendo Switch and PlayStation4 will need to sign into XBLive and pay monthly fee (or get their public data sold - I actually didn't bother to check what is Microsoft revenue model) if they want to be able to play these Crossplay games.

          Meani

          • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

            But, at this moment in time, you have no idea about what MS wants, but it doesn't really matter to you if MS benefits because they're actually giving people what they want so long as MS benefits you can complain about it. The article says NOTHING, gives NO details about anything, so all anyone here is doing is making up straw-man arguments and then attacking MS.

            The problem is MS has done a lot of shitty things over the years, and continue to do so with things like forced Windows 10 upgrades and built in sp

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            I wouldn't be surprised per se, but at the same time this is entirely unnecessary to drive the project.

            If a game is released on multiple platforms, people will buy it for whatever platform they have and will play against people who are also on that platform. That is, under the current model Microsoft makes near zero revenue from non-XBox users for non-exclusive titles. The number of people who would go out and buy an XBox just to play with a friend when they've got a perfectly good PS4 is very slim -- gro

    • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

      To be fair, crossplay also means "cosplaying as a character who's a different gender than you."

  • Crosspwn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:07AM (#55102841)
    At least in case of Valve/PC, any crossplay will quickly turn into massacre. For example, in FPS keyboard and mouse players of moderate skill would dominate competition-level console players. The same would hold in RTS or any other game where skill element revolves around player control.
    • I don't use consoles so excuse the ignorance, but can you not connect a keyboard and mouse to a console if you want to? I know typically people don't use them, but they could if they wanted, no?

      They all have usb ports, and I thought I've seen keyboards on consoles before.

      • Yes, but its down to each game to make use of them. Most don't.

      • by sethaw ( 598206 )
        Yes and no. Xbox doesn't support a mouse and keyboard setup. However, there are some expensive third part devices that will fake it. These are controversial though since they provide an advantage and one of the big reasons some people play on consoles is that everyone has similar hardware.

        Also many people on consoles aren't sitting at a desk and don't have a place for a mouse. It's more comfortable to sit on a couch in front of a tv than it is to sit at a computer desk.
    • Unless of course the usual console aimbot gets thrown into the game.

    • In this day and age, you can connect a mouse and keyboard to your console.

      • You can connect a keyboard and mouse to a console but will the games use them?

        • by dstyle5 ( 702493 )
          The only Xbox One game I've seen utilize a keyboard is Gears of War 4, for text chat, haha. I actually find myself using it on occasion for "good games" or strategy comments for Horde mode. I wish more console games had this option as many people use party chat so you can't communicate with them over the default voice coms in many games.
      • Re:Crosspwn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by magusxxx ( 751600 ) <magusxxx_2000.yahoo@com> on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:27AM (#55102983)

        Yes, but the console players can't set up macros. Which is a huge advantage to PC players especially during PvP matches. Hit one key = Perform several moves before the console player hits their second button.

        • but the console players can't set up macros. Which is a huge advantage to PC players especially during PvP matches.

          There's no reason they can't put a macro editor and keyboard support into a console version.

          • There's no reason they can't put a macro editor and keyboard support into a console version.

            Other than that console games are self-contained. This means each studio would have to design a macro editor for each game, with only the capability that the studio can imagine, and each publisher and Microsoft would have to sign off on each macro editor. On a less closed platform such as Windows Home or Pro, a third party can develop a macro editor and make it available to several games. To put it another way: It's like iOS before iOS 8 introduced support for third-party floating keyboard apps.

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              "This means each studio would have to design a macro editor for each game,"

              I've been able to program my X-Arcade with macros for at LEAST a decade and use that controller on consoles (fighting games.)

            • Other than that console games are self-contained. This means each studio would have to design a macro editor for each game,

              I don't think that anything you said there was true. Console games are no longer self-contained, they use of OS services for access to the hardware since they're just PCs like any other PC, but with a different interface. Therefore, the macro functionality could certainly be built right into the OS, which is providing the keystrokes to the application anyway.

              I also think that this claim is irrelevant, since on the scale of game development complexity a macro editor is a 1 out of 10.

              • by tepples ( 727027 )

                Console games are no longer self-contained, they use of OS services for access to the hardware

                I meant that console games are "self-contained" in the sense that iOS applications are "self-contained": using operating system services but not system-wide third-party services. The definition I intended was that used in the App Store Review Guidelines [apple.com]:

                2.5.2 Apps should be self-contained in their bundles, and may not read or write data outside the designated container area, nor may they download, install, or execute code, including other apps.

                • I meant that console games are "self-contained" in the sense that iOS applications are "self-contained": using operating system services but not system-wide third-party services.

                  That still has nothing to do with this, because the macros would appear to the game like any other keyboard input.

          • Keyboard support is fine. But many games will ban players for using macros. It's not how they want the game to be played. And let's not forget about speed hacking which no way in hell are console game companies going to allow either.

        • what's to stop logitech (or whoever) from making a keyboard / mouse that allows programmable functions?

          Even from a hardware perspective : push this to start recording, hit your buttons, push record button again to save macro. Lots of PC hardware allows that, without any software intervention for recording.

          • what's to stop logitech (or whoever) from making a keyboard / mouse that allows programmable functions?

            Microsoft would deny Logitech use of the authentication chip required to get the Xbox One console to recognize a controller. Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 use a lockout chip to reject unauthorized controllers.

          • what's to stop logitech (or whoever) from making a keyboard / mouse that allows programmable functions?

            Answer: Hardware cost.

            Nearly* all modern keyboard with "programmable macros" are actually plain fucking stupid bland keyboard with a few extra hardware keys,
            and it's the driver that came on the CD which was packed with it that installs a Windows-only software on the PC that handles the macros.

            i.e.:
            plug the exact same keyboard on Linux (or any console which supports USB keyboards),
            and you won't get your recorded macros, you'll simply get a "extended key 145 pressed" signal on your OS.

            Now nothing prevents you

        • Erm, not sure what game you are playing, but I do know that using macro's is against the TOS for a lot of games, unless that changed, haven't been playing online games lately.
        • I remember some old 3rd party controllers that had this ability (Playstation/ N64 area) it let you dominate in combo based fighting games. But I don't know if they are made for modern consoles.

    • I know, right!? I mean what if Sonic Mania had cross play! Those keyboard/mouse players would massacre the Switch players.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Cross play doesn't necessarily mean competitive play, and does include other genres. As an example of a massive success : Rocket League.

    • It happens on PC where gamepads and M/K are matched up, people of varying frame rates, ping times, abilities, matchmaking seems to work fine. This is not even a problem.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      FWIW a lot of people are using hacks/adapters to use mouse and keyboard on consoles anyway.

      You're right it does create a massive advantage but it's not quite as severe as you say. I don't bother because I can't be arsed to spend £130 to cheat on a video game so when I come up against them it's a mixed bag, some still suck, because no amount of money can stop a stupid player from sucking, but others have a clear advantage.

      So yeah it would completely break game balance in competitive FPS games, bu

  • by Lothsahn ( 221388 ) <Lothsahn@@@SPAM_ ... u_bastardsyahocm> on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:10AM (#55102851)
    This would be the embrace phase...

    http://www.roughlydrafted.com/... [roughlydrafted.com]

    You know once they're at 75%+ marketshare, they'll change their tune...
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Maybe but for now, they are the underdog.
      They don't come close to Valve's Steam for distribution, don't have Nintendo's licenses and are losing to Sony's PS4. They are only relevant because they have Windows. They are just trying not to be ignored here.

    • Microsoft has been good at Embracing but in the past 5 years have been completely inept at Extend or Extinguish. You give them too much credit.

  • Won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ty ( 15982 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:11AM (#55102855)

    This won't work for many of the most popular types of games, including FPS. WASD + mouse input will always outperform dual joysticks.

    Also, I'll be damned, as a PC player, that I want to hear chatter from 12 year old kids rattling on about my mother's vagina. Because of the price point of PC systems, there seems to just be far fewer twits like that.

    • Microsoft is finally supporting KB and Mouse on the Xbox. There are beta testings going on right now with Xbox Insider program:

      https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/minecraft-xbox-one-keyboard-and-mouse/

      Yes it's for minecraft, but it's a start.
    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      Also, I'll be damned, as a PC player, that I want to hear chatter from 12 year old kids rattling on about my mother's vagina. Because of the price point of PC systems, there seems to just be far fewer twits like that.

      You must not be playing many games with randoms and voice chat on PC if you think that. Hop into any PUBG match if you want to be relieved of that myth.

    • Because of the price point of PC systems, there seems to just be far fewer twits like that.

      I don't know about that. I tried out a few different MOBAs a few years back and even though they're all on the PC, there were plenty of idiots being jackasses in chat or doing other things to ruin the game for everyone else. Maybe that's just a consequence of those games typically being free to play and having very little in the way of hardware requirements though.

      I think Blizzard might have gotten it right with hearthstone where you can only communicate with your opponent through a set number of emotes,

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "WASD + mouse input will always outperform dual joysticks."

      Depends. How high can you crank the sensitivity on that joystick? In all the keyboard+mouse games I play, my mouse sensitivity is jacked so high (on purpose) that I never need to move the mouse more than 4-5mm to get a full 360 turn. High sensitivity + acceleration on a joystick could achieve the same effect, and only requires roughly the same amount of muscular control - barely any.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      12 year old kids rattling on about my mother's vagina

      I encountered one of those on Overwatch at the weekend. I responded with calm polite wit and s/he could only manage 'shut up. shut up. shut up' after that.

      I muted my microphone and laughed.

    • by NoZart ( 961808 )

      Nah, they are just better distributed to some genres. The LoL crowd for instance are far more toxic than anything i got on console ever. Console ranters are just funny and ignore-able, some of the PC crowds made me leave the respective game for good. (Until i started to use muting capabilities)

  • by tietokone-olmi ( 26595 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:12AM (#55102861)

    Inviting everyone to come join them in a walled garden Microsoft itself controls. It's not like their online service wasn't available to paid subscribers only, the low-level protocols undocumented and proprietary.

    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      There's already crossplay between Nintendo/Microsoft/PC platforms for games like Rocket League, doesn't seem to be any walled garden involved. Sony is currently the only one blocking any crossplay.

      • Sony is blocking crossplay? Explain Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          As far as I'm aware, those two titles are highly uncommon* exceptions to Sony's general policy not to allow PlayStation users to play with Xbox users. For which game, other than a major Square Enix MMORPG, has any developer convinced Sony to make an exception?

          * I'm hesitant to say "rare" because that's a Microsoft brand.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Sony is currently the only one blocking any crossplay."

        Uhhhh, what? I'm pretty sure my Final Fantasy XIV has crossplay. Why, yes, I'm playing with PS4 users on my PC.

    • Inviting everyone to come join them in a walled garden Microsoft itself controls.

      Are you new to this whole game console thing?

  • by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:21AM (#55102921)
    MS is inviting all these people to do MS's work for free, and for MS's benefit. What an honor.
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:26AM (#55102965) Journal

    cartwheeling in from stage left and stage right, big smiles and pom poms, kicking their legs out like dancers, shaking their stuff screaming EMBRACE, EXTEND, EXTINGUISH!

  • It's a trap!

  • by Imazalil ( 553163 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @10:46AM (#55103117)

    While I agree with MS that full cross-platform play should be a thing, lets be clear about MS's intentions. They're loosing badly to Sony on console sales, and well, Windows Store is a tiny spec compared to Steam. They weren't making any noise about this last generation when they were much closer (maybe even leading, I haven't kept up with the numbers) in market share.

    Kinda like Internet Explorer was just fine as was when it had the market share, but once it started getting dumped by people MS realized that maybe web standards/interoperability were a "thing they should do".

    They also know full well that this would be much harder for Sony to pull off than it is for them as Xbox & Win10 share quite a bit. Maybe Valve can ask MS to provide support for all this (and Direct X 12) for older version of Windows before they come on-board.

  • "Mike Ybarra, vice president of Xbox, told VG247 that it's happy to talk to the likes of Valve and Nintendo when it comes to getting multiplayer games working across multiple platforms, not just between Xbox One and Windows."

    ELWOOD: What kind of music do you usually have here?
    CLAIRE: Oh, we have both kinds -- country and western.

  • For those who are worried (or gloating) about control equality, keyboard and mouse control will soon be available [hexus.net] for the Xbox.
    • For those who are worried (or gloating) about control equality, keyboard and mouse control will soon be available [hexus.net] for the Xbox.

      Hmm, maybe I'll actually be able to play on my son's Xbox now. I just can't get used to the controller.

      WASD + mouse is too ingrained, plus I grew up with the simple NES controller.

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @11:01AM (#55103239)

    MS was asked many times to do cross platform networking, FFXI (MS refused, Sony did it square skipped MS with FFXIV), Borderlands 2, Steam w/Portal 2 on 360 (MS refused, Sony did it on PS3)

    MS gave this reasoning via Kotaku: "Here's a Microsoft spokesperson saying "no," while promoting how awesome the Xbox 360's online service is: "Xbox Live delivers the best entertainment experience unmatched by anyone else, with 35 million actively engaged members. We have a high level of expectation for our game developers to ensure that all Live experiences remain top notch. Because we can't guarantee this level of quality, or control the player experience on other consoles or gaming networks, we currently do not open our network to games that allow this cross-over capability.""

    Now that they need players on Xbox Live and Windows Store and are having trouble making inroads in those areas, they're panhandling.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Pretty much par for the course, it's always the underdog(s) asking for compatibility, interoperability and so on to break into the market. The top dog is giving it lip service or coming up with excuses with how it hampers innovation and creates a poor customer experience. Occasionally during the toppling an actual industry standard appears more or less by accident, unless it's just an oligarchy designing it like DVDs but pretty much all business alliances are temporary. Which means that yesterday's friend i

  • Make it so that windows store is not needed or get rid of the sand boxing so that game can do the same things that can be done with steam.

    Main things are
    workshop
    SLI and Crossfire (windows store seems to have limited support for it)
    disable VSync
    non borderless fullscreen modes like ( Exclusive Fullscreen)
    mod's
    user maps
    mouse / keyboard custom bind software
    why need to take control of the folder as admin to mod? steam games are not forced to setup.
    games are forced to supports cloud saves??

  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <[ude.saxetu.macit] [ta] [rngtsyor]> on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @11:02AM (#55103251) Homepage

    "I don't care about where they play, I just want people to have fun playing games because that's just better for the industry,"

    sounds like it ought to mean

    "We'll still support future Minecraft releases on Mac, Linux, and older Windows versions after all; sorry about the confusion at E3!"

    but I'm guessing it actually means

    "I'm lying. I'm lying right now. Isn't it fun that I can lie to your face, and you can't even call me on it or I'll just give someone else the "story"? Now type my lies for me, stenographer. Maybe tell your kids to take a few classes in economics rather than journalism, huh?"

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2017 @11:30AM (#55103475)

    They refused with FFXI, FFXIV, Borderlands 2, Steam when Valve were trying to get Portal 2 cross platform multiplayer/voice etc. Sony accepted by the way.

    Of course now lagging behind online with Xbox and Windows Store they are shamelessly doing a reversal...

    Here's a classic quote from back in the day, the same kind of thing they're chiding others for saying currently, via Kotaku:

    "Here's a Microsoft spokesperson saying "no," while promoting how awesome the Xbox 360's online service is: "Xbox Live delivers the best entertainment experience unmatched by anyone else, with 35 million actively engaged members. We have a high level of expectation for our game developers to ensure that all Live experiences remain top notch. Because we can't guarantee this level of quality, or control the player experience on other consoles or gaming networks, we currently do not open our network to games that allow this cross-over capability.""

  • All I can say is...Hypocrites!

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