Windows 10, the latest version of the popular Windows operating system is well on its way along the production line and with the public technical preview soon to be closing off, the operating system is nearing its final stages of development with an intended launch coming this summer.
There is some speculation as to why Microsoft missed out version 9 of the operating system, but the official statement from Microsoft is that the numeric gap represents the giant leap that the operating system will take in comparison to version 8 and 8.1.
There is no question that the operating system is very different from Windows 8 – it is crammed with new features, major overhauls of previous features and also some new visual elements.
Perhaps one of the game changers though is the integration with XBOX and more specifically the attempt to broach the gap between personal computer and console in terms of gaming.
Windows 10 Integrates directly with XBOX
XBOX Live – Microsoft’s online gaming platform comes built in to Windows 10 allowing computer users to have immediate access to the entire XBOX gaming community and for those who already have an XBOX live account, access to all of their games, friends and achievements direct from Windows 10.
This connection between Windows and XBOX live opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the gaming community and allows for gaming to become much more intertwined between console and personal computer where in the past gamers have been forced into one of the two genres.
Stream Xbox One games to your Windows 10 PC
On a simple level, games can now be streamed from XBOX to Windows 10 PC or Laptop allowing users to play on either device with ease as long as you have a good wifi or cable connection between the two.
The real hero of this new integration between console and PC is the cross-device capabilities. Gamers will now be able to play against users on different platforms so users playing via XBOX can directly interact with users playing on a Windows 10 PC and vice versa.
XBOX app for Windows 10
With the XBOX app for Windows 10 you can also keep in touch with your online world and game play seeing instantly what your friends are doing on XBOX One, checking out leader boards, high scores and also having the option to chat to friends via XBOX live from your PC.
What this means for gaming
These new features are great in their own right – this means more fun when playing games, more interaction between friends even if they are on different platforms – it really highlights what online gaming is about and really seeks to enable that vision for gamers.
There is a more fundamental change in the landscape in light of these new integrations though – Microsoft are really paving the way for the future of online gaming – the integration between their console and Windows 10 is just the start and the long term concept is clear. Microsoft are clearing seeking a singularity for the online gaming world – they can see the problem of having separate worlds on each gaming device out there and how this really limits the capabilities of online gaming and prevents a certain amount of realism from developing.
With this first step towards integration across devices and platforms it is likely to see online gaming coming together in other ways and eventually perhaps developing into a single online community shared across all devices and platforms and shared between all participants of any particular game.
The future of gaming
This interlinking of devices and online communities is obviously in the early stages and something that Microsoft are just testing out like they have done with many other features in the past.
As games are released that cater for this cross device play we will see how the technology and the concept develops but it is definitely a forward thinking strategy that could pave the way for a new type of gaming.
With virtual reality being developed further every day there is a definite need for more realism within gaming itself – if the concept of virtual reality is to witness a virtual world as if it were real then bringing online communities together as one single entity, like in real life, is definitely going to enforce that medium further.
Aside from building a larger and more believable community within online games there are also other advantages in bringing cross device support to gaming – not only can more people play online together but there are new possibilities for interaction online – perhaps as virtual reality takes a stronger hold we may be able to perform other tasks within virtual worlds such as shopping, socialising and maybe visiting the virtual alter ego of our physical world – for example going to our own house in virtual reality and switching off our internet connected devices.
Microsoft definitely do get many things wrong when it comes to the development of software, and especially operating systems – you only have to look at the likes of Windows Vista to establish that point. But the reason that Microsoft get so many things wrong is because they are always striving to achieve something great with technology – perhaps more so than any other technology company and this is maybe why they have been one of the most successful technology companies to date.
Where other tech companies play it safe, Microsoft always try to push the boundaries and that is always what technology needs – because by definition when you operate in the tech space you are dealing with new stuff that no one has thought up or seen before.
Windows 10 and its integration with XBOX Live is definitely one of those forward thinking technological ideas – sure it could fail but it could also be a massive game changer and something that sees a new route being taking in online gaming.