A few weeks ago, Microsoft's GDC 2019 event listing described a new Xbox Live SDK heading to Android and iOS, as well as Nintendo Switch. Today we got the official announcement ... but Nintendo Switch support is mysteriously missing.
Update March 20, 2019: Microsoft has now revealed that it is indeed exploring bringing Xbox Live to Nintendo Switch "in the coming months," with the announcement of Cuphead for Nintendo Switch.
Today, Microsoft unveiled a suite of new tools for game developers under a new Azure product called GameStack, bringing together live ops systems for service-type games such as PlayFab, middleware engines like Simplygon and Havok, as well as new features like PlayFab UGC, which allows developers to set up user-generated content storefronts similar to that seen in Minecraft.
In addition to the GameStack announcement, Microsoft also touted the migration of its Xbox Live toolkit from PC and Xbox One to Android and iOS, allowing developers to include party systems, messaging, Xbox achievements, Microsoft sign-in, and cloud saves in mobile games on those platforms. When I inquired about the timeframe for Nintendo Switch support, Microsoft said it has nothing to announce at this time except that the company's philosophy is to bring its tools to developers wherever they want them. It makes me wonder if the previous GDC 2019 event listing was premature on the Nintendo Switch inclusion, or perhaps even incorrect, considering Microsoft has now deleted it.
During the presentation, Microsoft touted its growing cloud platform, which is now twice as large as its closest competitor (namely Amazon Web Services) and will continue to expand even further. Microsoft wants to use its Azure services such as PlayFab, Xbox Live, and soon, Project xCloud, to help developers reach gamers wherever they are, on whatever device they want to use. Microsoft didn't announce which partners (if any) would be using Xbox Live on mobile devices, however, and considering third-party support on Windows-based phones and tablets was pretty weak, it remains to be seen whether or not developers will actually use it.
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