'Ashen' will still hit Xbox Play Anywhere for PC and 'other platforms' in the future (update)

Updated December 7, 2018: Since writing this article, Microsoft's official Xbox Play Anywhere list has been updated (opens in new tab) to remove Ashen completely.

Updated December 8, 2018: Aurora44 put out a blog post to state that Ashen is indeed coming to the Windows 10 Microsoft Store and "other platforms" (presumably Steam) in the future, with Annapurna confirming that it's also coming to Xbox Play Anywhere. It looks as though at least for the time being, it will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for PC.

Let's begin with the Windows 10 availability in the Microsoft Store. The Xbox One launch of Ashen could not have been a better success story, in our opinion, and Microsoft has been unbelievably supportive throughout the development of Ashen. We are currently working with our partners at Microsoft and the ID@Xbox team on bringing Ashen to the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 as soon as possible. We wholeheartedly agree that this would have been better available day one. We are a small studio that just shipped a very big game, but have been actively working to get it there. Rest assured, it is coming.

Original article:

Epic Games spent quite a lot on advertising during last night's Game Awards, with several high-profile exclusives for its fresh PC digital distribution platform. One stung a little more than the others, however.

Ashen, long-touted as coming to both the Microsoft Store and Steam, launched on Xbox last night (opens in new tab) out of the blue. The asynchronous co-op open-world RPG sports a haunting art style, with gorgeous visuals, and tight, action combat, and should have been a major addition to the Xbox Play Anywhere offering. However, it seems that Epic Games' push into PC gaming has not only nuked Ashen's availability on Steam, as well as its availability on the Microsoft Store, and thus, Xbox Play Anywhere.

Ashen has been advertised as an Xbox Play Anywhere title for literally years at this point, so the omission is pretty surprising. Xbox Play Anywhere allows gamers to play and sync their progress across both Xbox One and Windows 10 with a single purchase, and has the added benefit of supporting PC games inside Xbox Game Pass. As of writing, Ashen is neither listed as Xbox Play Anywhere on its Microsoft Store page, despite being listed on the main Xbox Play Anywhere website (opens in new tab). Additionally, it's now listed with a "TBD" launch date on Steam.

Ashen is still listed on the Xbox Play Anywhere website.

Ashen is still listed on the Xbox Play Anywhere website.

It could simply be a timed exclusivity deal with Epic Games holding up its launch on Steam and the Microsoft Store, but the terms of the deal is unknown at this time. We reached out to Aurora44 for clarification, but haven't heard back yet.

Epic Games is offering developers a very lucrative 88 per cent share of revenue from sales on games offered through its platform, which beats Steam and Microsoft by a significant margin. The competition Epic Games is bringing should light a fire under its peers to offer better terms for developers. However, its aggressive pursuit of exclusivity rights looks as though it's already causing harm to Xbox Play Anywhere, which is one of the most consumer-friendly cross-device offerings out there, as well as Steam, where the vast majority of PC gamers currently live. It'll be interesting to see how Valve and Microsoft respond in the future.

Ashen is available now for $40 on Xbox One and the Epic Games Store for PC.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • That move will eventually burn some bridges for ashen's developers and hurt the pc sales of the game. Yes Epic is big and their store has momentum because of Fortnite but at the same time I doubt little kids will care for Ahen
  • Totally. They're pandering to an X audience to be won over, while crapping on the fans who have been following the game.
  • Oh well. I'll probably wait for a PS4 version else I'll just get it on Epic.
    Looks like a lot of these stores may be trying to compete with exclusive content for their store. This may not be a bad thing if these company invest in making their own new games.
  • I think it is a good idea to differentiate themselves from the mountains of steam games. Instead of buying it on Epic just get game pass it is included with the subscription.
  • Yes, true. These days it's really difficult to stand out on steam.
    And nope for game pass, I don't have a XB1 only a Win10 PC besides I don't like to rent games. I prefer to buy them.
  • Doubt Ashen will ever come to PS4.
  • Ashen is a "Console Launch exclusive". It is most likely to come on PS4 and even switch later on. MS are used to do these kind of timed deals...
  • If it's indeed an exclusivity deal, they'd better disclose it. Not doing it is a crappy move by them. Really cheap. Besides that, this has already left a bad taste in my mouth regarding this game, its developers, and the EPIC store. I was not very fond of the very concept of having yet another Win32 program to run and update to be able to buy a separate bunch of games. Non-system stores are already a stupid proposition. But let's leave that aside. Now, what A44 games just did is literally taking a dump on their fans. I mean, this is not COD or any high profile AAA game from a huge studio. They will have a limited target audience. So, they're betraying the few of us who got in board with the concept, been following the game, followed them on social networks, etc. How dumb is that? Nobody can afford to destroy the trust from the little group of people that have shown interest for their indie game! I'm not gonna buy it on EPIC. I probably will just boycott the Epic store no matter what exclusives they can buy out of the hands of starving/money hungry devs. I'm thinking of just not buying the game now, not supporting it with my hard earned money at all, not even on Steam if it does come out there. You don't do this to fans. Do it to those who don't care, but not to fans.
  • This is quite funny. I've never seen you go all made when MS makes exclusives deals with 3rd party. We've had timed deals for ROTTR or Dead rising 4.
    Crapping on Win32 games that are not linked to a store is also hilarious.
    I find supporting a walled garden system on PC is hilarious for a consumer.
    But reading your comment I wonder if you're an actual consumer/gamer who will buy a game no matter where it is because he wants to play it or he is just a fan of a company who is upset about something... I'm sure the game will do well even if you support it or not.
  • Clearly it doesn't depend on a single person's purchase. But it's a small game most people don't care/know/are interested about. Let's see how it does and which fraction of the few people who DO feel like me. Other than that, however you spin it (especially claiming to know about my purchasing habits or my opinions, or how fun it's for you that I support whatever store I choose), we were promised one thing by this company and they didn't deliver on their promise. That's what matters. They don't even have the stones to come clean and say anything about it.
  • Well It's MS that announced it, so they are the ones who failed to keep their promise.
    Recently Gwent was also removed from UWP. Maybe we got to look at what MS is doing instead of trying to trash an indie games company. I don't know about you but If I'm looking forward to a game, I would buy it wherever it is just to play the game. I would not boycott a game just because it decides to remove version out of the store of a certain company.. Even though I don't like using the UWP Win10 store I'l use it to play Ori 2 because it looks like it'll be a great sequel to a brilliant game.
  • Oh, don't get me wrong, I blame Microsoft too, for certain. They haven't even fixed the "upcoming Play Anywhere titles" page. I think everyone involved is to blame, which you're fine to not agree with.
  • Am I missing something? Wasnt this game exclusive to Microsoft and published by Microsoft?
  • Nah, it was just a high-profile ID@Xbox title, Microsoft was throwing some marketing weight behind it until Annapurna Interactive took over publishing.
  • We're all missing Epic swooping in at the last time with a bag full of money, and MS not having the balls to make A44 honor their deal.
  • @fdruid
    Honor what deal?
  • This happened because Microsoft did not stop it from happening. Epic probably made a good pitch to the developers, and Microsoft did not get in the way. This is the new Microsoft, which is all about playing nice with the competition.
    I just hope it goes well for Aurora444!
  • It's Microsoft's fault alright, but also a crappy move by A44. I hope they're ready for the backlash. It's not like we're talking of Call of Duty. Screwing up the few of us who showed interest in their game is a VERY bad move in an industry that's as unforgiving as it's ever been.
  • Backlash by whom? The millions of UWP Win10-only users? If people on PC were REALLY interested and REALLY wanted to play this game, they would just buy it wherever it is. I don't think PC gamers are "fans" of stores like how some people are "fans" of a company. lol
  • There probably won't be a big backlash. But I do think it is valid to be upset about losing the Play Anywhere feature. I definitely like the ability to switch from my PC to Xbox and know that my progress would be synced. Also, playing on a PC while being connected to the Xbox platform (achievements, friends, party chat, etc) is also really nice. It is more than simply about what PC storefront you buy it from.
  • Besides of course getting the game for free in PC by already being a Game Pass subscriber. Which is a perfectly valid reason to get excited about the game, isn't it?
  • Dude, I liked the game and it was announced I was getting it for free for PC with my Game Pass. Is it so hard to understand that I'm pissed off at this whole thing?
  • I can understand the frustration but why lash out at a small indie company when they weren't the one who made the promise, talk about boycotting the game and Epic store? I mean just get the game on XB1 and play it if you really like the game.
    Why boycott Epic store for making a deal? If I boycott every games company that makes an exclusive deal with a third party I wouldn't be playing much. I hate time deals MS does and their broken promises when it comes to exclusives but I wouldn't boycott them if there is a game I want to play. I'll absolutely buy Ori's sequel and AoE4 day one on Win10 store.
  • I'm holding out hope it will still show up as a Play Anywhere title. I don't trust the MS store information. I recently purchased Steamworld Dig 2 on the Xbox One, but was pleasantly surprised that it showed up as "Owned" for me on the MS Windows 10 store. It looks like Steamworld Dig 2 is a Play Anywhere title. I've verified that it works perfectly for me on both Xbox and Windows 10, and game saves are synced. But it is not listed anywhere as being Play Anywhere.
  • Ashen is not even in the Store for PC, to begin with.
  • Yeah, that is disappointing. Maybe it will be just a short timed-exclusive with Epic. Seems odd that MS has advertised this as a Play Anywhere title for the last couple years only to have it removed at the last minute.
  • They edited their site today to remove it, FYI. It was there all morning too, way past the announcement. But they took it out. So it wouldn't be wise to hold our collective breaths. This sucks.
  • This game's presentation peaked my interest since day one. Forget the pity pat, downloading this NOW on the X..
  • So far so good, lots to explore and figure out. Love the art style and fighting technique. Looks great on my X.
  • It's on Gamepass as well. You can play it free.
  • Gamepass is not free.
  • After all the support Microsoft gave them they let the Epic slap Microsoft and take half it's lunch. Ouch.