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Microsoft About To Announce Something About PC Games

Update: Windows 10 will be free to users of Win 7, Win 8 and Win 8.1 for a year. Fable Legends coming to PC Xbox One cross-platform multiplayer.

What is it? We don’t know. It could be some crazy Xbox/PC crossover. It could be simply more about DirectX 12 and its straight-to-the-metal performance boost promises. It could be a new-gen GFWL (ick). It could just be a Steam rival, seeing as everyone else has one these days. It could be Minesweeper 2 (that’d be great, actually). Alls we knows is that, uncharacteristically, they’re making a bit of a song and dance about it. In fact, we have a correspondent out at the Windows 10 event due to begin at 5pm UK/9AM PST (i.e any minute now), and RPS doesn’t traditionally get invited to Microsoft briefings, so something relevant to our neck of the woods is clearly on the cards.

Clearly, Microsoft have promised to get back in bed with PC gaming loads of times in the past, and it’s never amounted to a hill of beans. Unless you count GFWL, which you really shouldn’t. Maybe this will be more of the same empty promises. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it’ll even be a scarily big attempt to land-grab a gaming platform which others have been caretaking for years. We’ll find out in a few minutes.

We’ll bring you the main facts asap, and a detailed follow-up feature tomorrow all being well, but in the meantime you can watch the event and whatever wonders or horrors it reveals about Windows 10, right here, as live as Redmond’s internet connection allows.

Do keep an eye on this here post for updates if you don’t want to or can’t watch some dudes talking on a livestream. We haven’t set up any fancy tech for it, so, er, refresh! Refresh! Refresh! Hammer that F5 key into the ground!

Over to Adam who is following a choppy livestream:

Windows 10 will be free to users of Win 7, Win 8 and Wn 8.1 for a year. Microsoft are pushing the idea of Windows “as a service” and are spending a lot of time talking about live tiles and touchscreen UIs for tablets (and phablets, if you had that word on your Bingo card). However, there will be a “core experience” available with taskbars and a full desktop mode. That will work on tablets as well as PCs. Side note – PCs must now be referred to as MPCs because Microsoft are ushering in an age of “More Personal Computing”. Side not ends.

The Cortana interface, which is Microsoft’s voice activated Siri-like personal assistant, is coming to Windows. It can draw data from the crowd to become more knowledgeable over time. Nothing could possib-ly go wrong.

The presenter is emphasising the importance of security and protection of personal data – Clippy Cortana is a digital personal assistant who will learn about your interests, but will only have access to information that you flag up as permitted. Demonstration shows tracking of a relative’s flight, the owner’s precise location and emotional state at all times and information about favourite sports teams.

The Cortana talk has gone on for a while and there have been several mentions of “Windows-specific tasks”. Along with voice activated programmes – now to be referred to as apps at all times apparently – we’ve seen a sort of scrapbook that collects details about Windows users and built-in search functionality. We’re then shown how the PC-specific apps will work on phones and tablets.

As far as gaming goes, so far we’ve had the image below, but that’s about it. I think it represents gaming.

RAD! I guess the image shows connectivity, or connectedness, or The Kinected Family if there’s some branding going on. Most of the presentation has been about Windows 10’s ability to move from one type of device to another without hassle. The guy is showing Powerpoint presentations on his phone, for crying out loud. We might not have jetpacks but this might well be the next best thing.

For games proper, there’s yet more interconnectedness and “more incredible viralness”. Some of this doesn’t interest me in the slightest – streaming Xbox One games to any Windows 10 tablet or PC in the home, and Xbox One notifications popping up EVERYWHERE – but smuggled in the middle is the announcement that Fables Legends will be coming to Windows 10 and will have cross-platform play with Xbox One.

Steam support is mentioned live on stage but it’s not clear (because of my choppy stream rather than the actual presentation) if Steam libraries will be integrated in the My Games section of the Xbox app.

“We will treat gaming on Windows 10 with as much passion as we have on the Xbox One console.” So says Phil Spencer in closing and I do not have it in me to do a joke about that. I’ll let it lie.

We’ll have thoughts and analysis tomorrow, which should be a pleasant follow-up to my bewilderment in the face of infinite buzzwords.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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