With the recent release of ReCore, Microsoft officially unveiled the Xbox Play Anywhere program to go along with the release. The Play Anywhere is a new initiative by Microsoft to combine platforms of gaming, letting Xbox gamers play on PC with any first-party Microsoft Studios published game that is digitally purchased, and vice versa. For simplicity’s sake for this article we will be framing any purchase as on the Xbox One, with the PC as a secondary platform.
HOW DOES XBOX PLAY ANYWHERE WORK?
Simply put: buy any Microsoft Studios published Xbox One game after ReCore digitally and it will officially be supported with a free version to use on the PC.
Is that all?Not quite. Sign up for an official Xbox Account (which you should have if you game on Xbox) and Play Anywhere let’s you merge accounts across platforms. Any achievements, progress, season passes and extra DLC and purchases you make on one platform, it will carry on to the other.
This doesn’t just count across different platforms. Sign in to a different Xbox One on the account tied to the game, and you can redownload your games and progress. Take note that you can only have one signed in at a time, so you can’t have your account be on two different platforms simultaneously.
WHAT’S THE CATCH?
Of course there’s a catch. Your PC/laptop needs to be on the Windows 10 OS and your Xbox One needs to be up to date with any updates.
DIGITAL OR PHYSICAL?
Here’s the important part, and I cannot stress this enough. In order to use the Play Anywhere program, you NEED to purchase it digitally. Physical copies will not come with a secondary code for the other device, and no, you cannot insert your Xbox One disc into your PC and have it work.
WHERE DO I GET THESE GAMES?
On Xbox the store function is pretty easy to find and use, just keep hitting right on the main hub and it’ll pop up.
On Windows 10, you can use the pre-installed Xbox App, or the Windows Store (by default it should be pinned to your taskbar, otherwise you can use the search function to find it). There is also Xbox.com if you can’t find either, and Microsoft.com.
You can also find your local shops that will carry digital copies of these games, in the form of a download card. Cards have been spotted at EB Games and Jb Hi-Fi, and it makes sense a few of the bigger chains will be inclusive of the Play Anywhere initiative.
WILL EVERY GAME SUPPORT PLAY ANYWHERE?
Not at this stage. Microsoft have officially gone ahead and said that every Microsoft Studios published game after ReCore (inclusive) will support the Xbox Play Anywhere program. Every game that supports this will have a little logo on the store you buy it off:
However, Microsoft have not confirmed that previous games will receive this treatment, so don’t hold out hope to be playing Halo 3 on PC with your mates just yet. It’s a grey area because Microsoft haven’t ruled this out, but they’ve also been completely silent on it. My recommendation: keep an eye out.
CAN I PLAY MULTIPLAYER ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS
No. This is a different initiative, and cross platform falls under a case by case study. It’s up to the individual developer to decide whether to implement cross platform play, and obviously in FPS games the Xbox player will be facing a significant disadvantage compared to PC, so there’s also a question of gameplay balance. For now, Play Anywhere is not a guarantee that you can play with your friends on a different platform.