By Alec Meer on July 13th, 2011 at 1:00 pm.
The story that won’t go away at the moment, other than the one about the people and politicians of Britain finally trying to overthrow the secret ruler of the world, is that Windows 8 might, just might, have some kind of support for Xbox 360 games. It’s a story that’s arrived from rumour and speculation, but apparently that’s enough for less salubrious places to claim it as fact. So, this is not another irresponsible post that headline-screams ‘Windows 8 will be able to play Xbox 360 games’ in the hoping of snaring hits but proceeds to offer absolutely zero proof. This is a post to say ‘don’t take that rumour seriously – yet.’
There simply is not any concrete evidence right now, and until there is make sure you keep that eyebrow raised at anything or anyone claiming this rumour is fact. Sure, it’s an incredibly appealing prospect as it would put PC very much front and centre of videogames once again (or at least more so than it already is), as well as meaning folk like us get twice as many games to play. I’d welcome it, though obviously with some concern about the dark empire of Xbox Live, achievements et al gaining a major foothold in our free cities.
There are thin scraps of evidence to support some sort of greater integration between Microsoft’s two most beloved children – the recent merge of the Games For Windows Live store with Xbox.com, for instance, and Engadget‘s recent discovery of error code references to 360 in a Windows 8 beta – but let’s keep sober heads here.
The main argument against this happening is that Xbox 360 games run on completely different processor architecture to consumer PCs (PowerPC as opposed to x86/x64). Emulation would potentially entail a significant (if not fatal) performance hit, and while recompiling Xbox 360 games for PC might not be quite as much work as it sounds given there’s a lot of DirectX commonality, it still sounds like an improbable amount of effort to me.
Also, that telltale error code could really be anything – something to do with streaming media from Windows to 360, some kind of remote control of the console, simply gamepad and headset support, or even Kinect support given there’s now an official SDK. And Kinect is something that does make me wonder if there’s really something to this. I hear various whispers that Windows 8 will include some manner of Kinect-based navigation – so perhaps some of the Kinect games will be made available for PC as a result.
Dammit, now I’ve said a bunch of stuff to imply there’s something in this. I’m honestly not prepared to call it one way or another at this stage – I’m just alarmed by how many places have gone heavy on suggestions it’s real. You should be too.