There is currently a rumor swirling around about the wonderful company of Microsoft and their infamous Xbox Live. The rumor is that Microsoft will be releasing a software development kit that could allow designers to integrate Xbox Live into titles not only on Xbox and PC, but also on mobile devices and, more shockingly, Nintendo Switch. This is supposed to be released during their showcase at GDC next month as reported by IGN, The Verge, GameSpot and many others.
So what could this mean? Is it something as simple as just letting game developers be able to put Xbox Live on their titles on other platforms or is there something more to this that not only will Microsoft be allowing Xbox Live to be used cross platform but will start releasing GAMES cross platform as well? Personally I’d love for the latter to be true and while I’m not hoping this would kill off Xbox or anything, I’d love for games like Halo to be put on the Switch. As I’ve been playing through Kingdom Hearts 3, and since I’m staying Florida right now and am out of the house quite a bit more than normal, I would really have loved for Kingdom Hearts to have come out on Switch as well so that I could play it on the go. Unfortunately, neither Xbox nor Playstation allows me to do that so my Kingdom Hearts fix must wait until I return home each time. This is arguably the best part of the Switch.
This article is about Xbox and Xbox Live though and this idea raises a lot of interesting questions. With two online services on the Switch in theory, being Xbox Live and NSO, how will the online play work in that case? While Nintendo has NSO available to people, having Xbox Live as an additional service raises the question of will that offer online play to things like Smash, Pokemon, etc.? If so, will players be able to choose which service they want to pay for and be able to play online across the whole console with just one? Or will you have to pay for both services separately to play their respective online games? That seems the most likely to me but I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.
Another question this raises is will Xbox Game Pass be brought over to the Switch? If so, will Nintendo be developing their own version of this and including titles like Smash, Pokemon, Mario Odyssey, etc.? If so, for $20 a month if Nintendo decided to go for the same price tag as Xbox Game Pass then you would gain access to hundreds of games for $20 a month on Switch. Is that worth it? Well that’s for you as a consumer to decide but it is an interesting proposal. If in theory you were paying month to month and not doing the package months at current prices of online services for Switch and Xbox plus Game Pass and the theory of a Switch Game Pass you would be looking at around $35 a month from those services (Xbox Live, NSO, Xbox Game Pass, “Nintendo Game Pass”). Again it would be up for you the consumer to decide if you were interested in all of these hypothetical situations but if this rumor is true then these things are all in the realm of possibility. This has the potential of being a huge leap for gamers, or a huge letdown. Either way, it is an exciting rumor and cool idea if it happens no matter how the implementation is done.
A reminder that this also includes iOS and Android devices, some games of which already have Xbox Live functionality implemented into, though those are only games developed by Microsoft Studios themselves. So this begs the question, what games that are on mobile would be affected by this update that non-first party developers would put Xbox Live onto their mobile games? I guess only time will tell when Microsoft presents their GDC showcase next month.