Nathan's Take on Xbox Play Anywhere

See the source image Xbox Play Anywhere was announced at E3 2016, and was met with some criticism as well as some praise. The program entitles gamers that purchase specific digital games to access the game on both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One, allowing your achievements, progress and saves to travel back and forth between your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One.

Critics of this program say that this proves that Microsoft is distancing themselves from the console market, or that now there is no need to own an Xbox One since more titles (some exclusives) can be played it on PC.

To me, however, I don’t see this as Microsoft exiting the console space, but trying to widen their net so more people can experience great content and use the Xbox ecosystem on their PC. In this article, I wanted to share my experience with Xbox Play Anywhere.

Before I go too far down this path, I should probably share some of my PC specs: 4GB GTX 980, 32GB RAM, SSD for Windows 10 OS & 7200RPM for game install, playing with an Xbox One S controller on a Samsung 4K 28” monitor.

Most of my experience with Xbox Play Anywhere comes from Forza Horizon 3. That was one of the first titles released with this feature (ReCore was the first). As you may have seen from yesterday’s Top 25 Xbox One Games article, Forza Horizon 3 is among the best offerings on Xbox One. The fact that it is also available to PC players on Windows 10 just makes it so many more people can enjoy this fantastic game.

I began playing Forza Horizon 3 on my Xbox One console, racking up all those miles and skills on my TV from the comfort of my recliner. A few days later, my wife was watching a show on the TV via my Xbox One, but I felt the need for speed! Since I bought Forza Horizon 3 digitally, I had access to it on my Windows 10 PC. I went to my office and began the install, wondering how well this whole thing would work out. After installation, I clicked play on the Windows 10 Xbox app, and Forza Horizon 3 booted up. The first thing I saw was a box pop up, saying it was syncing my save data from the server. Indeed, a few seconds later I was loaded in to Forza Horizon 3 exactly where I left off.

Forza Horizon 3 looked great on my Xbox One, but it looked even better on my PC! I was able to kick up the graphics and play in 4K at about 30 FPS, or I could knock down the resolution and get to the 60FPS mark for an amazingly smooth presentation. It felt good to finally use my PC for some gaming, as I had upgraded it earlier, but never really put it to task. I saw a buddy pop online, and wondered what the experience playing together would be like. To my amazement, it worked without issue! I was playing on my Windows 10 PC, and he was on his Xbox One, we were in a party chat and racing around, as if we were both playing on the console! After played an hour or so on the PC, and called it a day.

Returning to play on my Xbox One console, when loading the game a familiar box came up, telling me that it was syncing data from the server. Again, seconds later, I was able to pick up where I left off on Windows 10! For me, this was a seamless experience, and made me wonder about the possibilities this feature could unlock in the future.

After this positive experience, I began looking to see if a game was Xbox Play Anywhere. If it was, I bought it digitally, because of the freedom of playing back and forth between Windows 10 and Xbox One. The only thing lacking right now, in my opinion, is the number of games available for Xbox Play Anywhere. As of this writing, there are nineteen currently available, and seventeen announced. Most of these titles are exclusives, but there are a few notable third party games such as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Middle Earth: Shadow of War in the program. I would love to see Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Madden, or Injustice 2 as part of this initiative in the future, as I believe expansion into third parties would be a shrewd move by Microsoft. This would serve to unify the player base, and make a case for PC gamers to eventually get an Xbox One if they want to game on a TV as opposed to a monitor.

In all, the Xbox Play Anywhere feature is a great benefit if it is included with a game purchased digitally. If you have a Windows 10 PC and an Xbox One, this may be something you want to consider when purchasing games in the future. The freedom offered, as well as the cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox One is well worth it!

Have you tried Xbox Play Anywhere? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet: @VoicedByNathan!