Is Windows 10 Good For PC Gamers Or XBone Owners?

“It’s time for us to talk about gaming in Windows,” promised Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in December. A little over a month later, Microsoft has finally stepped up to the plate with a slew of big announcements about Windows 10, Xbox and PC gaming delivered at its Redmond campus yesterday morning.

The big news for gamers—aside from holograms—is that Windows 10 will not only support multiplayer gaming between Xbox One and PC, but allow you to stream Xbox One games locally to PCs or tablets.

Which is all well and good for Xbox fans, but where does that leave PC gamers, especially ones who don’t particularly care about Xbox?

“It’s a good question,” said Spencer. “I didn’t want to make today’s presentation all about ‘Hey Xbox One owners, aren’t you glad Windows 10 exists!’ The first thing I was trying to do is just look at some of the social capability we’ve created on console and bring it in a self-contained way to Windows. So any of the things we talked about around Xbox Live on Windows don’t require Xbox One at all.”

Those features include a new game DVR that will allow users to record, edit and share game footage with friends, as well as the option to retroactively capture the last 30 seconds of gameplay. The Xbox app will be built into Windows 10—by default, it’ll be in the start menu—and allow players to access their Xbox Live messages, friends lists and activity feed on any device running the new OS; you can even receive notifications. “Gaming has become a much more social activity,” said Spencer during the announcement.

Of course, while some players will rejoice at this sort of integration, others remain skeptical. After the presentation, a reporter asked Spencer whether Xbox gaming and PC gaming can really coexist—and whether Microsoft has an incentive to push Xbox games over PC games,

“I think that’s a fair perception,” said Spencer. “But success of Windows 10 is critically important to this company and gaming will be a very important part of success for Windows 10. I love the Xbox business that we run; I love the console. But if you look at the scale inside of Microsoft of the Xbox One console [versus] Windows, I don’t think anybody would think the console somehow outweighs what we do there… I look at the opportunity to make Windows gaming and Xbox gaming symbiotic with one another and try to grow the number of people who are connected and the amount of content that’s available on both platforms… and I think we’ll be able to thread the needle and do both.”

The first question from many players—especially gamers nonplussed at the idea of streaming from lower-end hardware to a high-end PC—is whether Microsoft plans to support streaming in the opposite direction, from PC to Xbox. Spencer says it’s “something that we’re really looking at. If you think about [our] vision, that my games are my games wherever I am and I can play with whoever I want to play with—we’ll want to have solutions.”

The much-ballyhooed corporate synergy may also mean that more will be released on PC as well. During the event, Spencer announced that the previously Xbox-exclusive game Fables Legends would offer cross-play on PC and Xbox One and be released simultaneously on both platforms. “[Fable Legends] is just the first of our first-party games that will be coming to Windows 10, and we’ll have more to announce,” said Spencer.

One sticking point, however, may be the peripherals necessary for streaming. When Xbox games are played on PC, players will need to use a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse. Spencer says he knows that some players might not be thrilled at the idea of wiring a controller to their PC, but “there are technologies out there that will allow us to wirelessly bind a controller to a PC, and we will get there.”

Mike Ybarra, Partner Director of Program Management, said they’re aiming for streaming to run at 1080p and 60 fps—it’s currently running at 720p and 30 fps in testing labs—but warns that your mileage may vary depending on bandwidth speeds. “Certainly our goal is to be as low-latency as possible, especially for frames per second,” said Ybarra. “It’ll largely depend on the scenario in which someone’s trying to play it.”

Microsoft also revealed more details about the long-awaited DirectX 12, which will ship with Windows 10. It’s been over five years since DirectX 11 came out, a development gap that has allowed competitors AMD to step in with Mantle, an API that offered game developers much more direct control and better support for multiple cores. DirectX 12 aims to do the same, offering up to 50 percent better performance. Spencer also announced that Unity has adopted DirectX 12, joining Unreal Engine 4, and that DirectX 12 will cut the power consumption of DirectX 11 in half, making it easier for mobile devices to run high-end games.

There is one downside, however: DirectX 12 won’t be compatible with earlier versions of Windows, and if you want to enjoy everything it has to offer, you’ll need to upgrade to a new graphics card. “There will be DX 11.1 cards that take advantage of a lot of the driver and software tech that we’re bringing in Windows 10, but if you want the full benefits of DX 12, you’re going to need a DX 12 card,” said Ybarra.

But hey, at least Windows 10 is free?

Windows 10 Is Free

Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 10 after the lackluster response to Windows 8, and it’s making a big and persuasive push for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to rally towards the Windows 10 banner. Not only are they integrating features that try to offer the best of both worlds—like a resurrected start menu that can appear as either a single column or full-screen—but they’re offering free upgrades to Windows 10 for both Windows 7 and 8 users for a full year after its release.

Windows 10 has a few other tricks up their sleeves as well: all windows apps will be universal across PC, mobile devices, and Xbox One; Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, Cortana, will be built into Windows search; and Microsoft Office will be bundled with the new OS for phones and tablets. Also, continuing their tradition of naming software after Halo references, Microsoft announced a new browser called Project Spartan, whose features include Cortana integration, making notes directly on webpages, an offline reading mode, and best of all, not being Internet Explorer.

From a financial perspective—as well as in response to the streaming services already offered by Playstation 4 and Steam—the decision to offer streaming between Xbox and PC makes a lot of sense. Indeed, almost everything that Spencer said about their decisions around gaming made sense. After all, why wouldn’t they want to aggregate their Xbox and PC gaming audiences into one giant pool of social engagement? Microsoft wants to make their gaming community bigger and more cohesive, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then excellent news: today is your day. But if it isn’t, or you’re a PC fan looking for specific and immediate enhancements and initiatives that don’t involve Xbox, there’s not too much to be excited about right now beyond DirectX 12.

So where does that leave PC gamers? For the moment, it leaves them largely where they were before, except snuggled much closer to Xbox. That could change, of course, if Microsoft indeed finds new ways to make good on its oft-promised love to PC gamers, but that’s a song Microsoft has been singing for a long time, and actions will speak far louder than words.

In the final tally, there are a number of things to recommend Windows 10, including the impression that it really does fix a lot of what was wrong with Windows 8, as well as the hard-to-beat price of free. But let’s be real: Windows 10 is focused primarily on creating a larger, more socially cohesive Microsoft gaming ecosystem, not the specific desires of PC gamers. That doesn’t mean it won’t have anything to offer you, but if you’ve been waiting to see if Microsoft is finally ready to not only talk about PC gaming but deliver the goods, then Windows 10’s answer is still tantalizingly vague: maybe, but not yet.

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133 Comments

  1. golem09 says:

    So they still haven’t actually said what dx 11.1 and dx 12 cards are, right?
    Are the latest ones all 11.0? Are they 11.1? What generation will be 12?

    EDIT:
    Nvidia blog from yesterday:
    We’re more than ready. GPUs built on our Maxwell GPU architecture – such as our recently released GeForce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 980 – fully support DX12.

    • Asurmen says:

      Everything MS is saying regarding DX12 compatibility is largely confusing as both AMD and Nvidia have been saying for awhile that recent GPUs fully support DX12. If anyone would know, it’s the GPU makers so trust them over MS.

      I’m much much more interested in the response from the games makers. We’re only just getting to the point of dumping DX9 and going fully DX11. What will the adoption rate be like for DX12 or updating released games to support it?

      • ScubaMonster says:

        I think DX 12 adoption will be relatively slow, and initially it won’t be utilized that much. Though I’m sure MS will want to push some first party titles to show what DX 12 can do. But no developer on the planet is going to go full DX 12 only. That would be suicide because you’re splitting up your market and a lot of people use old hardware.

        • montorsi says:

          Yes, it’s quite likely that by the time our GPUs could theoretically be using DX12 to its fullest we’ll also have new GPUs anyway. Well, enthusiasts anyway.

        • Asurmen says:

          Well, I can’t see anyone going full DX12, but that wasn’t the point really.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          How so? Most DX12 features will work on DX11 hardware which is essentially every GPU and iGPU released in the past five years.

          DX11 hardware coincided with Win7 so its only those with Vista and WinXP that would not be able to benefit from DX12 free of charge.

          DX12 is part of UE4 and Unity so most devs will have access to it without any additional legwork.

      • Clavus says:

        The DirectX 12 team itself said 80% of today’s gamers have cards capable of utilizing DX12 to its fullest, so I think the confusion is unwarranted. If you have a Nvidia GTX 600+ or AMD HD 7000+ card you’re all set.

        • NukeWithG says:

          So does that mean that I won’t be able to use this as an excuse to spend a butt load of money to upgrade my 7850? Damn it.

          • Folly Incorporated says:

            my thoughts exactly. I’ve been needing a reason and was hoping this was it

    • xrror says:

      If DirectX versioning stays true to form, basically whatever NEWEST cards are out at DX12’s release will be “DX12 compliant”

      So this go round – when AMD releases their cards a bit later (since they will have the benefit of seeing the “final” DX12 spec) their cards may support a few more of the DX12 “optional” features in hardware, and you’ll have DX12.1.

      It’s been this way since… at least DX6 at least. It’s pretty fun to dig back and see the companies “flip flop” on who was out first. One example was ATi being out first for DX9 Shader Model 2 (X800 and X850), only to get burned with the Shader Model 3 spec being put out right after (of course, nVidia drove that spec bump).

      But yea I’d wait until there are some compelling games out exclusive for DX12 first. We all remember just how awesome the DX10 launch was being tied to Vista right? *cough* (shoots self)

    • Lenderz says:

      Seems pretty damn clear to me, link to twitter.com

      Someone has to be wrong, I’m betting on microsofts poor communication.

    • Cinek says:

      So, that DX12 is worth anything? They actually brought some noticeable improvements?

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      AMD said last year that all of their cards that use “Graphics CoreNext architecture” (whatever that is) will be compatible with DX12.
      If that’s still true then that’s most of their cards for the last few years. I can’t find any recent confirmation though, but I’m sure all the tech sites are busy badgering them for comment.

      • SteelPriest says:

        They said that about Freesync and it turned out they only meant the NEW GCN cards (ie not my 7970 Ghz Ed :|).

  2. vanhisa says:

    What makes xbox live different from games for windows live? :/

    Will it integrate into like such as steam, origin, uplay, or a drm free games?

    • aergistal says:

      GFWL was optional. Xbox live is built-in :)

      • golem09 says:

        To me it sounded like the opposite of that. GFWL was built into the games, the use of Xbox App is optional.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Don’t ruin his doomsday speech, it’s rude.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    If this means that the Forza games will come to PC, I am a happy bear. Couldn’t really care about the other stuff, but I geuss Jeremy could warm me up for DX12

    • montorsi says:

      It’s coming to Xbox. Your PC is collateral damage in this whole affair. As usual.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Let’s hope, let’s hope.

      Besides, the next one is what we need, it will likely use the same engine and similar graphics, the bulk of the work will move to tracks and cars this time around, making it the really true successor to Forza 4.

      Yeah, this is the optimistic version. Don’t spoil that for me please.

  4. Eiv says:

    Was the whole “wireless tech” a hint at finally offering a wireless solution for the Xbox One controller for PC? I’m sick of using the wire.

    I’m glad fable is coming to PC though, not that I shall be playing with those console peasants :)

    • Megazell says:

      Wait? How are you not able to get your wireless Xbox360 controller working on Windows? It works for me on Linux and when I was on XP it worked there too. Am I missing something?

      • Cockie says:

        XBox One controller != XBox 360 controller
        The latter can work wirelessly, the former not apparently.

        • DrollRemark says:

          And seriously, what is with this?

          The Xbox One pad is so damned good, and I’m restricted to this tiny USB cable with it.

          “we’re getting there” – it’s a damned interface your own guys wrote. It really shouldn’t be this difficult.

        • Eiv says:

          Yup, I bought the Xbox One controller to replace my 360 version that was falling to bits. Love the sticks being so sticky etc but having to plug in a USB cable is a nuisance.

          • Asurmen says:

            How is it? You should be swimming in USB slots, and you’re sat at the PC so distance isn’t an issue. Last, you’ve probably got wires all over the place already so one more isn’t going to kill you.

          • DrollRemark says:

            Speaking personally, I have my TV wired up as my second monitor, and when I want to relax in bed with a game, Steam’s Big Picture mode and my old wired 360 pad are perfect, but the latter is only just long enough to reach. I bought this new controller for the better D-pad (so much better) and the hope it might work wirelessly. I don’t really understand why it can’t.

          • Eiv says:

            I have a shit ton of USB slots, but I also have too many wires. Headsets, phone cables etc. Having that one thing wireless would be handy.

          • Optimaximal says:

            It doesn’t work because unlike Sony, Microsoft don’t use Bluetooth. They use different proprietary standards for both the 360 and One controllers and they need to release a wireless dongle to support the latter.

            Why? Who knows… Bluetooth just works, is fairly fast and the latest spec consumes much less energy on both device and peripherals.

    • dysomniak says:

      I assume so. I’ve been putting off buying one myself for that very reason. “There are technologies out there that will allow us to wirelessly bind a controller to a PC, and we will get there.” seems weirdly opaque. Of course there are “technologies out there!” I can already do this with my 360 pad and my DS4, so what exactly is the holdup? Just take whatever gubbins in the xbone let it talk to the controller and put it in a USB receiver. This sort of shit is what makes it really hard to take them seriously when they claim to care about PC gaming.

      • MacTheGeek says:

        Clearly, the official Microsoft-approved method is to buy an XB1 and use the wireless controller to make it stream the image to your PC.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Hah, that’s funny but also sad, because it sounds incredibly true.

          Just like the whole debate about 1080p Vs 900p. Off course it looks the same on a TV set that has a lot of built-in artifact-inducing artificial sharpness enhancements that you can’t fully disable even if you dabble in secret developer-only sub menus that are only reached by mad combinations of buttons.

    • TormDK says:

      They need to come up with a solution to the “Controller problem”.

      I have tons of money that I have no problems spending on an Xbox One, and console exclusive content *if* they let me play those games on Windows 10 using mouse and keyboard.

      I have zero interest in being shoehorned to using a controller. If it’s a matter of console FPS players being unable to compete with the M+K setup, then find a solution to that.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I’d rather they simply decide not to tackle the FPS matter entirely. It’s not that hard if you think about it, they have no such game except Halo which is something they’ll never port because they might aswell close the Xbox-related divisions and stop producing that damned door-stopper for good.

        For any other game that’s not a FPS asking you to get a controller for the time being is not the end of the world.

        It’s not like you want to use a keyboard if they really port Forza. Then again they won’t, because i would be too happy about it and experience tells me that nothing that can make me “too happy” can happen, Murphy’s law and all.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        I hate to be one of those “just deal with it” people, but chances are any game designed primarily for controllers is not going to control very well with mouse+keyboard, so you may not be missing out on anything.

        See the GTA series, Assassin’s Creed… basically anything with 3rd-person and/or vehicles.

        • TormDK says:

          Well, I would have to agree to disagree with that :) (Obviously)

          The games you cite work just fine with M+K, and I also have no problem playing racing games with that setup (Not my favorite genre by any stretch of the word).

          I’ve never gotten into the thing about gaming in front of a TV, and while monitor sizes are ever so slowly increasing as fidility increases it’s not a practice I’m about to begin on, even as I am tempted to play some of the console exclusives that otherwise do not appear on the PC. (And would, if this issue was resolved to my linking, otherwise Invest in a platform that right now does not hold my interest).

          I suspect I am not alone in this, so it might be worthwhile for Microsoft to consider. I understand that there are 3rd party solutions for M+K that work on consoles already, but I would prefer something native.

          • Thesingularity says:

            These sorts of games could be played with a mouse and keyboard, but they would need to be designed and balanced that way. It’s not a problem you could really solve with a bolt on device.

  5. Paul says:

    Is the free upgrade from Win7 available for OEM owners? I paid over 100 bucks for OEM and would like it to be eligible for upgrade. I want Win10 for the DX12. I want developers to adopt DX12/Mantle as fast as possible.
    Also, it would be nice if MS stopped seeing Windows and Xbox as competitors and simply released their games for both automatically by default. I would love to play Forza Horizon 2 without having to shell out 500 dollars for hardware I do not need since I already have a superior one.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      I don’t think anyone has confirmed that at this point, but the time-limited cheap upgrade from W7 to W8 did work with OEM copies, and I would be very surprised if this one didn’t.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Hm… the free upgrade means that I’ll keep reading about this OS version and quite possibly upgrade unless it gets bad press.

      I wouldn’t have considered W8 even if it had been received well, as I have no reason to spend that kind of money when W7 is working well enough. And I wouldn’t have considered W10 for their usual upgrade prices either. In fact, the only Windows upgrade I’ve ever bought (I’m obviously not counting getting a new version when getting a new computer) was W98, and that took me from W3.1/DOS6, skipping W95. (My old 50MHz 486 wasn’t quite good enough to run the new Windows version well though. It met the system requirements, but not much more, so it was showing its age after the upgrade.)

      Oh, and I’d also be surprised if it didn’t apply to OEM, as that must surely be the vast majority of Windows licenses? Most people just automatically get Windows on their new computers without thinking about it, and most people building themselves get the OEM version too. (Or am I missing something?)

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      My pirated Windows 7 ultimate edition was eligible for a 30 dollars upgrade to a legit Windows 8 PRO, which costs almost like a good slave in the middle east, so i’d say you’ll be fine.

      I don’t think i would have “upgraded” if it wasn’t for that, but i guess Microsoft is smart enough to know that a converted pirate is a good thing. Now i’m on 8.1 and i love the performance ( and ignore the other crap that people screams about ).

      So yeah, your licence might be a weird one but at least it’s legit, you should be 110% good to go.

    • Optimaximal says:

      OEM licenses have Product Keys like retail copies – in UEFI machines (basically Windows 8 up) they’re embedded into the machine BIOS, but however you reach it, it will likely be the typical Microsoft ‘Upgrade’ system that the roll out for their ‘free’ upgrades – log into a website with your Microsoft Account, submit the Product Key/run some software to validate your current license, save your new product key and download the Windows 10 disc image/USB installer.

  6. DrManhatten says:

    Anything that threatens or kills the annoying Steam platform can only be a good thing! So Win10 go!

    • Artist says:

      What annoying steam platform??

    • Alexrd says:

      Except they did nothing to threaten Valve, yet.

    • sneetch says:

      This does neither. I fail to see why anyone would think this has anything to do with Steam.

      Well, apart from the Steam icon on the Windows 10 task bar in the screenshots above, do you find icons threatening!!! WoooOOOOooo!!! Rawr! Etc.

      • DrManhatten says:

        Well Steam tries so hard to make itself a social gaming platform this will strike a massive blow against their obviously inferior and really crappy current implementation. Compare to Xbox Live Steam is a laugh at best

        • ScubaMonster says:

          Games For Windows Live says hello. You really want to go back to that drek? Xbox Live is laughable. Steam has it’s faults, but it’s leaps and bounds better than Live. Steam has by far more features than Live does. Steam sales alone make it automatically better. I’ve saved literally hundreds of dollars from Steam sales. MS will never do sales like that in a million years.

        • sneetch says:

          And yet compared to Windows Live it Steam was programming excellence itself. I wonder what they’ll deliver this time? :)

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see Steam have some real competition, they could do with a good kick up the proverbial. I don’t know if XBOX Live on Windows will be it.

          Making it a “free” upgrade is a stroke of genius though, it gives it a fighting chance. No XBOX Live style subs though. PC gamers will run a mile at the suggestion.

          Iconsbehindyou! ;)

        • Asurmen says:

          That’s news to me. Looks like Steam has everything implemented social wise just fine.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Is this like how Xbox and Playstation fans would get angry at each other. Are digital distribution fanboys a thing now?

          • Emeraude says:

            You’re lucky if you’ve never up till now had the displeasure of suffering what I call the “Steam Apologists”, basically the equivalent of those weird Apple proselytes.

            As much as I understand my opinionated self isn’t exactly good company, those people really, really weird me with how much of themselves they invest in an external brand, and I keep hoping I don’t sound off as bad as them to others.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Sorry you’re out of your mind. Firstly, all of these announcements in no way compete at all with what Steam is doing. Secondly, you REALLY think the minds behind Games For Windows Live would make any meaningful competitor to Steam?

    • Distec says:

      In addition to others’ response:

      This is like throwing your support behind Satan because you don’t like the way some lesser Hell lord does business.

      Good luck with that?

    • Emeraude says:

      Actually, no, the enemy of your enemy isn’t necessarily your friend.

      And as much as I strongly dislike (to put it mildly) Steam and think the Valve apple didn’t fall far enough from the Microsoft tree, I trust Microsoft even less.

    • theslap says:

      Could someone explain to me the problem with Steam? I’ve had a few annoyances with it in the past with a few files being lost with Steam Cloud and an unpredictable offline mode from multiple computers, but I just don’t see what could anger people so much about it. I’m all ears.

      • Emeraude says:

        Not Steam per see, it’s just the most successful example of those pesky forced on you closed-garden, mandatory registered account-tied games clients that basically killed first sale doctrine and software ownership on the PC side.

        Not to mention smaller issues of ubiquitous patching, concentrated service infrastructure and – in the case of Steam specifically – acting like a bottleneck on the game software market..

        I guess the shortest way to put it is: what we don’t like about Steam and its ilks is that they exist, and that we either have to use them against our will or lose access to a whole side of the existing market, while losing property rights that shouldn’t have been. Basically, they closed whole swath of the once fully open platform.

        • subedii says:

          Even leaving the argument over Steam, how does anything that MS have said today stand out as something better?

          Frankly, you ought to be rooting for GOG and GOG Galaxy if anything, not freaking GFWL mark 2. Do we really need to list of all the lock in idiocy that MS tried to foist on everyone with GFWL?

          There’s certainly potential here. I can see MS turning a corner IF they’re smart with this. But rooting for this as some saviour compared to Steam just sounds like people who want to be angry about Steam regardless of who else they support to do it.

          • Emeraude says:

            Even leaving the argument over Steam, how does anything that MS have said today stand out as something better?

            Not one bit, that’s how. Hell, if you look just a couple posts up I’m even going against the point raised by the creator of that particular sub-thread.

          • subedii says:

            Fair enough, my mistake for presuming you agreed with the OP.

        • mickygor says:

          Surely if you’re going to invoke property rights you should invoke them over property? Off you digitally obtained and downloaded something, no property changed hands so no property rights can be violated.

          • Emeraude says:

            Tell that to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

            Downloaded or not is not significant. And then there’s the issue being imposed on retail copy – with addition of that other ruling I can’t find off the top of my head which states that licensing that is indistinguishable in effect from sale as to be considered as a sale (I paraphrase poorly, but I’ve been up for 50+ hours, so you’ll have to bear with me).

          • Uhuru N'Uru says:

            Rubbish, get a Digital Download from GOG, You get an Installer just like with a Disc, they won’t update the game without warning removing and/or censoring content like Steam. The updates on GOG are also installers you own everything and DRM free. Even games I own on Steam are better on GOG.
            Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 on Steam won’t run on modern Windows and Steam sell them knowing it and provide no support at all.
            GOG versions are Guaranteed to run, they make sure they are updated to run, because it’s PC. there’s going to be the unlucky few who have issues, GOG will provide support to get your game running and if nothing works they will refund your money.
            When GOG Galaxy comes out, unlike Steam, whatever store you all bought the game from, your friends will be able to play multiplayer against you. Everything on Galaxy will be optional, you will be in control.
            Valve is out for Valve only, the broken crap they will sell on Steam, should tell you that they don’t care about you at all.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Not sure if you’re a troll or just incredibly ignorant. Then again, why not both?

  7. Megazell says:

    I don’t get why this is a big deal. Guess I have to see it in person.

  8. internisus says:

    The big news for me is not the streaming. If I owned an Xbox One, I would use it with the same screen that’s hooked up to my computer, so it’s utterly pointless to me.

    But I am very interested in better social networking built for games. I check my Steam activity feed every day and interact with people via their posted screenshots regularly. It pains me to no end that there is no functionality to allow users to comment on their friends’ achievements, which strikes me as an obviously desirable feature. I lament the fact that few of my friends participate in this stuff or seem interested in socially interacting around games in this way. Some people I know post Destiny videos and screenshots from their PS4s on Facebook, but that’s about it for the most part, whereas I occasionally do stuff like post pictures of character info from Demon’s Souls and Diablo and Etrian Odyssey. I want more like that.

    So the fact that Windows 10 has built-in “game DVR” capabilities that allow me to capture the prior 30 seconds of gameplay in any PC game is huge from my perspective. I hope the ease of sharing as well as the social focus of the Xbox app will encourage more people to participate in this stuff. I do wish the app was more of a universal gaming app, logging into your Steam account and aggregating social activity there, but this still seems very good.

  9. emorphien says:

    As a PS4, Xbone, and potent PC owner I am excited.

    Free upgrade, DX12, streaming to PC from Xbone (and maybe the other way)? All these things sound good to me.

  10. melnificent says:

    That entire paragraph of dodging the question on whether they have an incentive to push Xbone over the PC. The whole thing is a non-answer, talking about windows and xbox and redirecting all over the shop…. So in other words, it’s the same song and dance MS does every other year.

    I’ve moved on to Steam, uplay, origin, gog…. It’s a sad state of affairs when I trust EA to keep their games downloadable longer than MS will. But after GFWL is anyone mad enough to trust them?

    • bad guy says:

      I agree. Dodging, saying nothing.

      “I love the X-Box buisness that we run. I love the console”
      Jezzus!! This guy needs some time off.

    • fish99 says:

      Why do you need him to say the obvious? They take a cut from every xbox game sold, they sell the hardware, and they can charge you for multiplayer. Compare with PC where they just sell you an OS and many people just pirate it anyway. Of course they would rather you gamed on xbox.

      • GiantPotato says:

        If they’re willing to actually say the obvious out loud then it means they’re serious about communicating with PC gamers. But if their reaction to a PC-centric question is to state their love for both Windows and Xbox and then talk about synergies between the two, it means they’re not ready yet.

  11. Artist says:

    The news about PC gaming and Windows is again: No new news!
    Hooray, Microsoft! Love how they reinvent themselves….. ;)

  12. kevinspell says:

    Streaming games from XBOX to PC?!?!?!? I can see why you would want to stream casual stuff from PC to your TV but streaming from a console to a PC just baffles me. Especially if I still have to use a controller to play the game.

    • Author X says:

      The same reason any other console has off-screen play (Wii U gamepad, PS4->Vita) – so you can play from another room, or while someone else is using the TV. This also applies to laptops and Windows tablets, which can be moved around more easily than a TV hooked up to a game system.

      It’s not useful for everyone, but it is useful for people that share a living room/TV. Or, like me, sometimes decide to lay in bed all day instead of going into the other room to sit on the couch.

    • E-Rock says:

      My wife owns the TV in the evening and I’m on the computer. If I could play some XB1 without having to make her move, that would be great! I’m also interested in seeing how it will stream to my Surface.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Well not every game makes it to PC. Though I am a bit baffled at what benefit you’d gain by streaming to your PC as opposed to just playing your game on the TV it’s hooked up to. I guess if someone wanted to watch TV but you wanted to play an Xbox One game then it would be good, but meh.

    • death_au says:

      like Author X said, it’s not really about streaming XBox to PC. It’s about streaming XBox to Windows, which is really code for tablets and hybrids. I am curious about whether it will stream to phone as well (I’m imaging some phone mounts for XBone controllers now).
      As much as I’m not counting on it, I hope they get streaming in reverse, too. I know Steam basically does this now, so on Win10 I could play my Steam games on a tablet, but it would be great if they were able to unify everything.

    • DanMan says:

      It can make sense, if you have a lame-ass office PC that’s incapable of playing even semi-recent games AND your TV is for some reason inaccessible. You could then stream the game from your XBox to your PC monitor and play from there.

      Other than that? Let’s just say I’m not excited. At. All.

    • iainl says:

      That’s because you’re thinking of the PC as your ninja-powered Desktop monster hooked up to a giant wall of monitors.

      This is really about matching the PS3’s ability to stream to Vita and Sony phones, and the Wii U’s ability to stream to the big controller thing, but with Windows-based tablets. If I had an Xbone, I’d quite possibly use it to play games on our 8″ tablet while the TV is on. But I don’t. Still, that’s the idea.

      • Uhuru N'Uru says:

        The point is it wasn’t marketed as a Nifty XB1 to Tablet feature for XB1 owners. That would have been fine.
        They sold it as their prodigal return to supporting PC Gaming when it’s the exact opposite, supporting PC gaming with this, meagre as it is, would be Streaming from PC to XB1. Not that either way is really supporting PC Gaming at all, Most Gamers have a single system, whether one of the Consoles or PC.

        PC Gamers usually have more powerfull rigs than any console, not that that’s saying much when any PC above bargain bucket has better Hardware. Only the change to 64-bit gives consoles any great improvements over last gen, consoles are basically Power limited to 300W. Without a big change in Power levels, this is the last big improvement Consoles can manage, they’re struggling for power even now as the Kinnect U-Turn makes abundantly clear. The only current Technical improvement is to increase the power, do that and fans, box, boards must also be upgraded to cope, then it’s becomes just another PC, but with fixed hardware. That’s the main reason the last gen lasted so long, this one will be even longer. Though ultimately the consoles may become obsolete, they will try to keep going as long as they can, no doubt about that. Hype alone might sell another gen, but not two. PS4 is only marginally better than XB1 and has the same power problem.
        With Occulus Rift having at least, two 1080p Screens, consoles can barely cope with one, 1080p VR is beyond them. What about Sony’s VR System? well
        1080p = 1920×1080 Pixels = 2,073, 600 Pixels ≈ 2 million
        720p = 1280×720 Pixels = 921,600 Pixels ≈ 1 million

        So 2×720p can just about be done, any more and the power / component size / heat ratios tip to PC like kit, one of the reasons MS went all Multimedia Focused in 2013 E3.
        Will consoles vanish? not likely and they’ll use every trick in the book to avoid it, the mainstream media is already laying the groundwork for lowered expectations, with the Graphics isn’t everthing line, when for the last 20 years it was all about the graphics.

  13. thekelvingreen says:

    I don’t understand. They didn’t say anything about Call of Duty.

  14. sneetch says:

    Again this is all just the same kind of noise that they churn out every now and then about having greater commitment to windows gaming, I’ll believe it when they start releasing windows games again (as in, more than just one spin-off) because these features seem like a (weak IMO) attempt to sell XBOX Ones to PC gamers.

  15. Cash at Folsom says:

    Do like that retroactive 30 seconds bit. My problem with screenshots and other recordings are always that it only occurs to me after the amazing/uncanny/baffling thing happens, when it’s too late to record it.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I don’t know much about tech, but wouldn’t that mean Windows more or less has to be constantly recording? Seems like an unnecessary drain on resources to me.

  16. sonofsanta says:

    I wouldn’t call AMD a competitor to Microsoft; if anything, AMD are utterly reliant on Microsoft for their business, judging by the state of the Radeon Linux drivers.

    AMD released Mantle to try and give them an edge over their actual competitor, nVidia. And they did us a favour by starting the ball rolling in the low-CPU-overhead direction, but once DirectX 12 is out Mantle will become a footnote to history, I expect.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      According to Intel and nVidia it wasn’t AMD that got the ball rolling. According to them Microsoft approached all of them about DX12 and started work on DX12, specifically the closer to the metal work, well before Mantle was released and that AMD used their work on DX12 to rush mantle out first to gain marketing brownie points.

      • Lenderz says:

        Alternatively Mantle was in the works for a while whilst MS let DX languish, and only paid attention once a competitor to their DX strangle hold of PC gaming was in the works, as everyone knows GL isn’t really a viable alternative.

        • DanMan says:

          Everyone is just one person though, and he clearly has no idea what he’s talking about.

  17. montorsi says:

    The big news for PC Gamers issssssssssssssss

    *drumroll*

    Xbox.

    You can’t make this shit up. Microsoft are a parody of themselves.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I sincerely want that on a shirt or something.

    • Frosty Grin says:

      Do you remember when their big news for Xbox gamers was… TV?

      • thekelvingreen says:

        That was amazing.

        Microsoft Man: “You can watch TV on the X-Box One!”

        Average punter: “I can watch TV without the X-Box One.”

        Microsoft Man: “Call of Duty!”

  18. jellydonut says:

    ‘Spencer says he knows that some players might not be thrilled at the idea of wiring a controller to their PC, but “there are technologies out there that will allow us to wirelessly bind a controller to a PC, and we will get there.”’

    If you think my problem with having to use a controller for games is the wire, then you really have no idea about PC gaming.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I had been all excited for cross-platform gameplay until he made that comment. Maybe a racing game like Forza, but there’s no way I’ll play an FPS cross-platform with a controller.

      Also, since the XB1 people have to pay for online multiplayer, will we have to pay as well to play with them?

  19. Shardz says:

    In all these years, I’ve only seen two DX11 (optional) games released. That certainly isn’t enough to get me running to a new buggy OS. I’ll stick with DX10 until my dying grasp fails me.

  20. mattevansc3 says:

    I think its only fair that in articles like this that the writer actually state what they think Microsoft should be doing.

    Microsoft is in a lose lose situation with PC gamers. Check the comments sections on most websites and the following pop up all the time.

    Gamers don’t want another marketplace/ They only buy games on Steam.
    After GfWL nobody wants Microsoft to have anything to do with PC online gaming.
    Gamers want Microsoft to have nothing to with PC gaming.

    Other than that gamers wanted;
    Cross play with console gamers – Microsoft announced they’d start doing that with Fable Legends.
    Release parity with Xbox – Microsoft announced that was starting with Fable Legends, showed trailers of other XboxOne exclusives going to be released on PC and a promise to reveal more games shortly.

    On top of that not only did they announce that DX12 was going to work with modern hardware but that it was going to be part of both UE4 and Unity so the majority of devs will have access to it to speed up adoption and that it was going to be part of a free update so that the majority of PC gamers will be able to use it.

    • GiantPotato says:

      MS could participate in the PC gaming market that exists instead of trying to re-define it as something they already own. I’d like to see them form a small development studio that makes games with a PC-centric design, instead of announcing the ability to stream Xbox games. I’d like to see an app that can sync old PC savegames to the cloud, instead of letting you talk to your buddies on Xbox. I’d like to see a real successor to the XNA platform, instead of a unified environment for PC and Xbox development.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        OneDrive has folder by folder sync built into Windows10.

    • ahac says:

      I’d be happy if they just stop taking 3rd party games away from PC.

      Tomb Raider was my favourite game of 2013 and it looks like MS paid to cancel (or delay) not just the PS4 version but also the PC version of the sequel. As long as they are doing stuff like this… they’ll be an enemy of PC gaming.

  21. quarpec says:

    MS is barely able to make non-stupid operating systems anymore, why would they be able to put together a smooth gaming experience?

  22. raiders5000 says:

    I don’t know man. I mean…the more you read, the more you see a group of executives out of touch with their pc fanbase. Stream from an XbO to your PC? Big whoop…if they can even make it work. Party game platforming…(yawn). But that last thing about the controllers…Wow.

  23. Snargelfargen says:

    Let me be the 4th person to post in vain about Forza coming to pc. It’ll almost certainly never happen, yet still I hope.

  24. Moraven says:

    They had a DirectX 12 demo of Forza 5 (again), running on Nvidia. All the current consoles use AMD.

    Forza to PC? 2nd time they showed it off.

  25. bleeters says:

    I sure do appreciate the new PC dedicated Microsoft responding to unending requests for Halo games on PC by not doing that, but instead giving us Cortana in the search feature.

    Thanks for that.

  26. Misha says:

    Windows 10? After Ballmer’s fuckup, aka Windows 8, I’m no more likely to upgrade until I have to, just like with previous versions of Windows.

    7 works just fine, it’s actually the first OS Microsoft ever put out that worked as advertised, so what in the name of Ballmer’s left shriveled testicle would convince me to throw that away for something new and untested?

    Oooohhh.. I get the opportunity to record my masturbatory play sessions without having to download a piece of already free software from somebody else so everybody can ooh and ahh to how awesomesauce I am?

    Quick, let’s reformat my hard drive and reinstall OS, right now!

    Pathetic.

  27. Cecil says:

    The term streaming is very confusing to me, spending a lot time on twitch and associating the word with broadcasting live video and not playing a game on another device from the one running it.

  28. ffordesoon says:

    I keep wondering if my prediction that the real “Steam Machines” most people use will end up being the Xbox One and/or PS4 themselves is going to come true.

    I know it sounds bananas at first glance, but it starts to seem possible – if not probable – when you consider all the facts. We know Steam’s local streaming tech works, and we know that they seem to have backed away from rolling out a lot of the dedicated hardware they were promising a couple of years back. We know Microsoft is promising Xbox games streamed to PC, and that they’re hinting at the reverse potentially being true. If (and this is one big goddamn if) they’re not just bullshitting and actualy do “want to have solutions,” then that puts Sony in a very interesting position.

    Some things we can reasonably surmise about Sony:
    •They allowed Steam logins and cross-play with PC on Portal 2 for PS3
    • Valve has a very good relationship with Sony
    • Sony is very committed to the idea of streaming ecosystems
    • Sony has a vested interest in the PC indie scene continuing to do well
    • Sony allows media apps on PS4, though nowhere near as many or as well as the Xbone.
    • Sony wants to sell as many PS4s (if not Vitas) as they possibly can
    • PS4 controllers work on PCs
    •The PS4 can use a mouse and keyboard

    Some facts we can reasonably surmise about Valve:
    • They’re still trying to figure out how exactly to get a foothold in the console space
    • The Steam GUI for Controller Mode could probably be made an app for consoles
    • They want to sell Steam Controllers so that easy couch play of PC titles is possible.
    • They tend to make business decisions that sound odd and counterintuitive until you think about them for a little bit.

    Alright, now dream with me for a moment. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Windows PC-to-Xbox One streaming is a real thing. You can essentially play new indies on Xbox before they arrive on Xbox. How do you top that if you’re Sony? You give your pal Gabe a call and ask if he’d like to put a Steam streaming app that works with PC, Mac, and Linux on PS4. PC devs on Steam are essentially able to be on PS4 immediately. Steam Controllers become a solid compromise between M+K for couch play. And what if Steam also got put out on Xbox One? Valve would effectively rule the console space without having to control it.

    This is all just daydreams and rainbow farts at this point, but it is an interesting thing to ponder. I’ve often said that Steam will ultimately win the console war, and that could be one way they might go about doing that.

    So yes, this could be a pretty big deal for all gamers.

    • TormDK says:

      You describe very well what Microsoft is doing with the unified codebase across devices.

      Unified apps is going to do alot in that space. It was somewhat easy with Windows 8 (~60-70% code base compared with Phone), but it’s going to be either 100%, or so close to 100% that it will mean very little with Windows 10 across devices.

      Would I want Gabe to soften up to Microsoft? Sure, but then it’s his business they essencially are after so I would understand his position still.

  29. Barberetti says:

    “Where does that leave PC gamers, especially ones who don’t particularly care about Xbox?”

    “XBox One blah blah blah Xbox Live blah blah blah Xbox App blah blah blah Xbox Live messages blah blah rhubarb rhubarb I love the Xbox business that we run; I love the console blah blah rhubarb Windows gaming and Xbox gaming symbiotic blah blah rhubarb”

  30. Catweasel says:

    As a PC gamer none of that is interesting or relevant for me. :(

    • guygodbois00 says:

      Same here. Since 1873, actually.
      “Is Windows 10 Good For PC Gamers Or XBone Owners?” in short, no.

    • schlusenbach says:

      Yup. And as a windows user there are no interesting features either. Cortana is something like a trojan to me, it’s a privacy nightmare. Last thing I want from my OS is to be connected to cloud services. And a new browser from MS? No.

      So the only reason to upgrade to Win10 will probably be that one game in 2017 that I’d like to play and that only runs on DX12.

  31. moisan4 says:

    No way we’ll be able to stream from Xbox One to PC. That means less money for Microsoft. Then you wouldn’t need an XBL account, and the game purchased for Xbox too. It’s always all about the money. True motivations are always revealed once you see the world through the eyes of greed.

  32. Going Bald says:

    Honestly, if they had just forgone everything they talked about regarding ‘PC gaming’ and just came out with a USB dongle for their already extant controller I would have been happy.

    As it stands, it just sounds like the same old, same old. The only compelling thing was DirectX 12 which had previously been announced…and I STILL don’t know for certain if my 6 month old GTX780 will be able to utilise it! Way to be forthcoming with the facts there, MS!

    I am interested in the Hololens thingy but that’s its own computer and is irrelevant to the hardware I’ve already invested around £1000 in…

    So, we learned there’s a new Fable game coming as well as another piece of software that will no doubt require yet another account name and yet another bloody password. Thanks guys.

  33. mickygor says:

    Hmm, so I can use the start screen a la 8.1 on Win10? Wasn’t gonna bother upgrading but if that’s the case I’ll look into it if I ever get round to modernising my gpu

  34. SuicideKing says:

    So they name things on Windows 10 after Halo references, but don’t release the actual game. Wow.

  35. frymaster says:

    “especially gamers nonplussed at the idea of streaming from lower-end hardware to a high-end PC”

    I think the use-case is “my mum wants to watch coronation street but I still want to play my games, I can stream them to my facebook machine laptop.

    As such, I’m not confused by the feature, it’s just irrelevant to me

  36. Arithon says:

    The tie to the XBOX is at best a gimmick to distract from Microsoft’s appalling lack of game support. At worst, it’s showing their agenda to try and force PC gamers onto their proprietary platform in order to play games.
    Either way, it’s guilt by association and not good.

    Bicycles are good and great, cheap to run with health benefits, but they are not better than cars. Xbox on the PC is like a Bicycle bell on a car. We just don’t need it.

  37. Stevostin says:

    I finished the whole article and still don’t understand why it exists.

    If it’s streaming as in “you have an xbox, now stream it to your PC”, it’s obivously totattly anecdotical, useless to 99.5% or users etc. Console user will stick to their huge tv screen, thank you, or they will have a seturp with a hardware input switch for their monitor because they already have one. The benefit of having all this happening in windows seems close null. Now sure you can stream to your Surface Pro but surface pro + … gamepad ? Really ? Ah and yes non tablet laptop. Assuming they survive Surface Pro they could use the stream but again, anecdotical for devices that are bound to move far from your home network.

    If it’s streamin as in “we stream from server” it means we probably have less PC version, although it remains to be seen considering the gap that will expand visually between the two platform.

    Reverse streaming exist, it’s called Steam Big Pictures. Wake me up when it’s used significantly.

    All in all this subject seems to weight one for me when DIrect X 12 weights 100 and windows 10 being free 50. This articles seems to completely miss the key points of the question it answers.

    • frymaster says:

      “Console user will stick to their huge tv screen, thank you”

      I think the use-case is families, where the console is in the living room and TV access isn’t guaranteed (mum’s watching Corrie)

  38. plugmonkey says:

    “there are technologies out there that will allow us to wirelessly bind a controller to a PC, and we will get there.”

    There are indeed. Not just ‘out there’, but commercially available all over the place. I have one connected to my PC right now. It works perfectly.

    • Kong says:

      Yes indeed.
      I have been playing PC games in my comfy chair with joystick, rudder pedals, mouse and keyboard; still everybody is made to believe a PC gamer must sit at a workplace desktop.

      My wireless Xbox pad amazes me. I can make images move on my 55″ led flatscreen. I will not stop to be fascinated by that magic.
      Maybe someday Sony or MS will design a controller for strong hands. Thumb targeting never worked for me.

  39. El_Emmental says:

    So, they’re just releasing a slightly less crappy Windows 8/8.1 that Xbox users actually have a few reasons to use?

    All the “new” features are just features already existing on PC for a while (background recording with hardware acceleration with ShadowPlay/GVR, social stuff like with XFire/Raptr/Gametracker/Steam, home streaming with Steam’s In-Home Streaming/nVidia’s Gamestream/OnLive), that were all finally added to the next generation of console (PS4 and XBox One).

    The only “good” news for PC gaming might be DirectX 12, if it’s actually that good and back to a low-level approach (thank you Mantle!) – something we’ll only be able to judge in 2-3 years, when devs will actually start using it.

    My greatest fear is regarding previous APIs: if Microsoft decides to entirely drop the support for them (like they did with DirectX 10, completely abandoning DirectSound and Direct3D among other things), it’s gonna make it much harder to play older games on a modern rig.

    But you can always install XP, right? Not if the motherboard and graphic card manufacturers no longer provide drivers for Windows XP because it’s too damn old (13 years ago!). Unless someone manage to make a software fix for each game, we’re gonna have to hunt old hardware (and their drivers) or crowd-fund (a) compatible drivers for new hardware (b) a new small production run of old hardware (by buying the design from the manufacturers – if they agree to sell it).

  40. D70CW6 says:

    Being a friendless PC gamer without an Xbone – much of the marketing material doesnt really apply to me. That being said – getting DX12 for free will be nice. If WIN 10 performs even slightly better then WIN 7 then I’ll be happy. I just hope WIN 10 ui will look as appealing as WIN 7. Start button yay!

  41. tonicer says:

    Microsoft doesn’t love PC Gamers some say.

    What’s the best OS to play games on?

    Linux? maybe in 5+ years.

    Windows? Yep.

    If the Performance plus is even close to what the switch from 7 to 8 brought it is a display that they do love us.

    As a Gamer the best way to play right now is with WIndows.

    You get support for all the hardware and software.

  42. gbrading says:

    Everything about that press conference was magnificently underwhelming for PC gamers, as to be expected. Where’s the Halo Collection? Where’s the ability to stream from the powerful platform on the small screen to the less powerful one on the big screen? Alright Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade, but Microsoft still have a huge mountain to climb before PC gamers trust them again.

  43. Foosnark says:

    Those features include a new game DVR that will allow users to record, edit and share game footage with friends, as well as the option to retroactively capture the last 30 seconds of gameplay.

    yawn

    The Xbox app will be built into Windows 10—by default, it’ll be in the start menu

    Hooray! More bloat! I bet it also can’t be uninstalled!

    and allow players to access their Xbox Live messages, friends lists and activity feed

    Which I don’t have because I don’t have an XBox…

    “Gaming has become a much more social activity,” said Spencer during the announcement.

    Bugger off Spencer, I’m going into my cave and I’m taking my games with me.

  44. Foosnark says:

    ….also, remember Zune and its “Welcome To The Social” marketing campaign, because listening to music was supposed to be this social thing and everyone was supposed to care who else in their vicinity had Zunes and what they were listening to?

    This is just that again.

  45. bill says:

    Making it free is nice. I’m sure it’ll be a nice OS.

    I hope I don’t jinx it, but I was just thinking a few days ago that windows 8.1 is actually a lovely OS. Super slick and smooth. Fast. Stylish modern design. Lots of nice little touches. Stable.
    Having an SSHD helped with that a lot of course, but I love that I can push the button on my PC and 2 seconds later it’s showing a stylish login screen. It’s like a tablet/smartphone – in the good way of having a device that you just turn on and use, rather than having a device that you have to boot up and operate.
    So I guess win10 will be that or better.

    But since AMD/ATI decided not to update their graphics drivers for windows 8.1 I had to mess around to get the older versions to install correctly. So my main worry would be drivers. I have this feeling that installing win 10 on my PC is likely to lead to major issues with half the hardware not having drivers.

    As such, it’ll be an annoying choice between upgrading within the free period and waiting long enough to try and be sure that everything will work ok.