• Microsoft has revealed plans to bring the Xbox Live online video game platform to the Nintendo Switch, Apple’s iOS, and Android devices.
  • Details were included in the description of an upcoming panel hosted by Microsoft at the 2019 Game Developers Conference.
  • Expanding Xbox Live services would allow gamers to stay connected regardless of whether they’re using a video game console or a smartphone, which has been a longstanding barrier in the industry.

Microsoft has revealed plans to bring its Xbox Live video gaming platform to the Nintendo Switch, Apple’s iOS, and Android devices, an effort that will connect players across different devices and bring Xbox games to a new audience.

The tech giant’s plans were revealed ahead of the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC), an annual gathering of video game professionals happening in San Francisco next month. Microsoft is hosting a GDC panel titled “Xbox Live: Growing & Engaging Your Gaming Community Across Platforms,” and the panel description on the GDC website teased specific details about Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming service expanding to new platforms.

The description has since been scrubbed from the website, but Windows Central has published the full text of the panel description.

“Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. 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,” the description for the GDC panel read. “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.”

Expanding Xbox Live services could be the spark of a shift in the gaming industry. Here’s why it’s meaningful:

Xbox Live is Microsoft’s online gaming platform.

Xbox Live is Microsoft's online gaming platform.
Last year Xbox teased a new peripheral to connect smartphones to an Xbox One controller.

Xbox Live encompasses the online components of Microsoft’s video game services. Players use Xbox Live to connect and play games together, download new releases, build their own friend lists, voice chat, and share messages and video clips. Until now, Xbox Live has mostly been exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console and Windows computers.

The decision to bring Xbox Live to competing devices is a major change for the video game industry, where console makers are often battling for exclusivity and looking for new ways to get gamers invested in their hardware. But recently, Xbox has shown that it’s willing to work alongside its competition.