Microsoft is planning to offer some of its biggest titles on both the Xbox One and PC, with consumers only needing to purchase the console version to gain access to both. Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer sees cross-buy as a core strategy going forward for gaming and plans to make it a "platform feature".
Responding to a question from a fan on Twitter, Phil Spencer said: "We'll make it a platform feature. We think it's good for gamers."
Remedy's upcoming Quantum Break will be among the first titles to be sold as part of this strategy. This is applicable only for pre-orders though. Gamers who pre-order the Xbox One digital version of Quantum Break through the Xbox Store will also receive the Windows 10 version of the game.
The pre-order deal will also include Remedy's earlier hit Alan Wake and its sequel Alan Wake's American Nightmare. According to Phil, this cross-buy strategy may be extended even to the non-first-party releases. "Buy once, play on any device" seems to be the motto and this is in line with Microsoft's larger strategy to unify all of its hardware platforms with Windows 10, offering a single, core OS and a single app store accessible by all of Windows' devices. In future, a single game written as a universal app would be playable on the Xbox One, PC, phone and HoloLens.
Making games available on multiple platforms will certainly add value for some consumers. But Microsoft runs the risk of hurting Xbox market if PC gaming gains more popularity. The console wars are not new and the competition is getting ever so cut-throat.
Xbox contenders — Nintendo and Sony — have employed a similar strategy. Both offer cross-buy perks to customers, wherein buying the console version of a title gives players access to its handheld mobile game devices counterpart and vice-versa. The advantage Microsoft has is that of the cross-platform PC gameplay, something that rivals lack. Bringing the PC and Xbox One communities together will let Microsoft go one up against the rivals when it comes to scoring game exclusives.