A session description from the 2019 Game Developers Conference seems to have blown a big upcoming Microsoft reveal: Xbox Live is heading to mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch.
Windows Central called attention to the Microsoft-presented panel, “Xbox Live: Growing & Engaging Your Gaming Community Across iOS, Android, Switch, Xbox, and PC,” which will cover the forthcoming expansion of Microsoft’s online platform.
“Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger,” the description reads. “Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK.
“Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.”
There’s no mention of a launch window, but the panel aims to explain how Xbox Live will work on these varied mobile devices. The plan is to make achievement histories, friends lists, clubs, “and more” accessible to subscribers when they’re not on their Xbox or PC.
While Xbox Live is currently exclusive to Microsoft platforms — namely Windows, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One — Microsoft has demonstrated interest in collaborating with its competitors since 2017. The company has enabled cross-platform play for major multiplayer games like Rocket League, Fortnite, and Minecraft. When the Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft launched, both Nintendo and Microsoft even emphasized the connection when promoting the game.
Cross-platform play remains a core mission for Microsoft going into 2019, it seems.
“This [session] will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms,” the GDC description continues. “Combined with PlayFab gaming services, this means less work for game developers and more time to focus on making games fun.”
We’ve reached out to Microsoft to confirm and ask for additional details, and we’ll update this article accordingly.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon that the company has “nothing additional to share at this time.”