By Kevin Kelleher
February 4, 2019

Microsoft may be preparing to unveil a new cross-platform gaming software that will expand Xbox Live support to a variety of other platforms, including iOs, Android, and Nintendo Switch.

The development was first noticed by Windows Central, which spotted a Microsoft-sponsored session on its plans to introduce a software-development kit for Xbox Live that would bring more Xbox Live features to other platforms, such as social, communication, and multiplayer interactions.

Microsoft’s description of the session, named “Xbox Live: Growing & Engaging Your Gaming Community Across Platforms,” said the new development kit would “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.” That means features such as gaming achievement history, friends list, and clubs can be brought to non-Microsoft platforms.

The session is planned for the 2019 Game Developers Conference, which will be held in San Francisco next month.

“This will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms,” the session description read. “Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68 million active players to over 2 billion devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK.”

Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has evolved from a company that focuses on its own proprietary software—such as Windows and Office—to one that embraces other platforms as a way to broaden its customer base. When Microsoft bought Mojang and its popular game Minecraft, the software giant supported Minecraft on non-Microsoft platforms.

In 2016, the company also began opening up the walled garden surrounding Xbox Live, by allowing cross-network play on the Xbox Live network.

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