The future of the industry is a cross-platform "connected ecosystem."
For all those gamers with multiple consoles who need to coordinate what version of a game to buy with their friends, Microsoft Studios' Phil Spencer feels your pain. Spencer, the corporate vice president of the studio, has said that cross platform play between Xbox One and Windows 8 PCs "makes a lot of sense" for the company. "I'm not allowed to leak things," said Spencer when asked the question in a recent interview. "But I think what you're talking about makes a lot of sense."
Microsoft had previously tried such an experiment with the 2007 title Shadowrun, which allowed Xbox 360 and Windows Vista owners to play alongside each other. Spencer, who worked on the title, brought this up in the interview, saying "we didn't have tremendous success with that, but we learnt a lot from it." A few more recent games were further experiments in this field. "Earlier this year we released Skulls of the Shogun, which was a game we launched on all three platforms on the same day, and you could start on one platform and then save the game to the Cloud and play across any of the screens and progress. And then Halo: Spartan Assault has some links between Halo 4 and Spartan Assault, even though they're very different games."
The industry is gradually embracing a cross-platform dynamic, he said, and he sees Xbox Live as being central to that. This "connected ecosystem" across different gaming devices is the future of gaming, he said.