A closer look at the Windows 10 Anniversary Update: the Xbox connection

Laurent Giret

Microsoft announced this morning the availability of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on August 2, and gamers should probably be looking forward to enjoy a better gaming experience on the new operating system. Windows 10 has indeed been embraced by gamers, as the last Steam hardware  survey for May 2016 showed that the operating system had taken over as the top operating system choice for Steam gamers with 40.17% of them using it. This morning, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group echoed this success by revealing that there have already been “19 billion hours of gameplay on Windows 10 alone”.

But with the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary update, Microsoft wants to provide a better gaming experience via an improved Xbox app and the addition of the Xbox Play Anywhere program. Earlier this month, the Redmond giant announced that the Windows 10 Xbox app, along with the Xbox One operating system, would receive two waves of updates that will bring both gaming communities closer together. At the time, the company explained that the Xbox beta app on Windows 10 would soon get 60 FPS game clip recording plus other Game DVR features, but more importantly the app is also expected to integrate top PC games such as League of Legends and XCOM 2 with Game Hubs to Xbox Live. This is what the company explained at the time in a blog post on Xbox Wire :

We’re bringing the top PC games like League of Legends and XCOM 2 together with the Xbox Live community. Meaning, your favorite PC games will have their own Game Hubs on Xbox Live. Whether you’re on your PC, Xbox, or mobile phone, you’ll be able to see what PC games your friends are playing, share your own PC gaming clips and screenshots with the community, and message your friends on Xbox Live. On both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, you‘ll also be able to party chat with your friends no matter what they’re doing.

Then, just a week later, Microsoft announced during its E3 2016 keynote its new Xbox Play Anywhere initiative which will make games available for Xbox and Windows 10 in a single purchase. Mehdi gave today a recap of how it will work:

  • With the Xbox Play Anywhere program, you can buy a game once and play on your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One with shared progress, shared game saves and shared achievements. Every new title published from Microsoft Studios will support Xbox Play Anywhere and will be easily accessible in the Windows Store.
  • Xbox Play Anywhere games will be offered within the new unified Windows Store on both Windows 10 and Xbox One. You’ll be able to find the content you want faster and purchase game and app bundles, pre-orders, pre-downloads and subscriptions such as Xbox Live Gold.

Mehdi didn’t reveal today if the updated Xbox app would be a part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, but the company could well release it first to Windows Insiders in the coming weeks. Overall, we’re pretty excited by this update as it will make the Xbox app a true gaming hub on Windows 10 PCs, and the Xbox Play Anywhere program is also a great way to attract more gamers into the Windows 10 ecosystem. Let us know in the comments if you think gamers are likely to enjoy the Windows 10 Anniversary update.