Microsoft has launched Microsoft Play, a service that brings Xbox Live Arcade games to Windows 8 and Windows RT users.
It’s part of Microsoft Studios’s Play XBLA initiative to work with developers on making certain games playable across all of its platforms – Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows RT (which includes tablet devices such as the Microsoft Surface) and Windows Phone 8 (like the Nokia Lumia 920).
In actual fact, many of the games available through the Microsoft Play initiative have been available on Windows 8 devices for some time. It’s just that Microsoft has chosen now to frame such games and announce its intentions to really push with the whole multiplatform approach.
Microsoft Play Games
The current roster of 15 games (both old and new) is as follows:
The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running
Hydro Thunder Hurricane
4 Elements II Special Edition
Skulls of the Shogun
Rocket Riot 3D
Microsoft Solitaire Collection
Toy Soldiers: Cold War
Reckless Racing Ultimate
Each has been optimised for the three core Microsoft systems, with the inclusion of Xbox Live Achievements and Gamescore integration.
One interesting piece of speculation is that the Microsoft Play platform could form the bases of the forthcoming Xbox 720 console – or whatever the successor to the Xbox 360 proves to be called.
It’s believed that the new Microsoft console will be even more geared towards downloadable content, so having a ready-made cross-platform content distribution system ready for day one would be huge plus.