Last month a Game Developer Conference (GDC) schedule listing revealed that Microsoft has plans to expand Xbox Live to Switch and beyond, and now they've revealed that their Software Development Kit lets the service expand to iOS and Android.
This is part of what's called Game Stack, which incorporates Xbox Live. Mobile developers can now make use of Xbox Live, including online safety, privacy, and other options that Xbox Live offers. Microsoft also promises "frictionless integration" and a wide network of gamers to connect with via the established service.
Game Stack as a whole is a collection of tools and services for developers to use, including Azure, Havok, PlayFab, DirectX, Visual Studio, and App Center. These are being brought into one ecosystem to provide easy access, and Azure provides the computing and storage necessary, as well as machine learning and AI. Earlier this week the Inside Xbox livestream showed off the xCloud service, and Azure will facilitate that too.
PlayFab, on the other hand, is a backend servicing letting developers build and operate live service games, including matchmaking adapted from Xbox Live, but available for all games and devices. PlayFab Party again is adapted from Xbox Live, but with the same extension to all devices, and Azure Cognitive Services help with real-time translation and transcription. PlayFab Insights use data from your game to provide insights into how you play, while PubSub lets PlayFab's servers provide updates like matchmaking notifcations. Lastly we have PlayFab User Generated Content, which can be shared between players and was built to support Minecraft.
Elsewhere, App Center has been updated to connect to PlayFab, letting developers understand and respond to problems by examining crash logs, while Visual Studio Code enables easier editing and updating of Cloud Script.
Is the future bright for Microsoft?