Microsoft will have a session at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, and that session will include talk about the Xbox Live platform expanding beyond the Xbox and Windows 10 ecosystem.
According to Windows Central, over on the GDC 2019 scheduling site there was a mention about Microsoft expanding Xbox Live from the Xbox family of gaming consoles and Windows 10 environment, and into the realm of iPhones, Androids, and the Nintendo Switch. If you visit the GDC 2019 scheduling site right now you’ll see a very brief description about the session, which makes no mention at all about Xbox Live coming to the Nintendo Switch.
However, if you visit the older cache of the GDC 2019 website from the early hours of the day, what you’ll discover is that the site actually did feature a complete section mentioning iOS and the Nintendo Switch, as you can see below.
This is somewhat and yet not surprising. It’s somewhat surprising because obviously having Xbox Live on the Nintendo Switch means that Microsoft is, in some way, attempting to take responsibility for multiplayer connectivity on another platformer holder’s system, which is kind of weird.
However, what’s not surprising about it is that Nintendo doesn’t have a viable voice chat party system setup for the Switch yet, nor has it implemented any proper friends system that allows for easy-to-access voice chat in and out of games. Having Xbox Live take over that aspect of the system’s functionality would actually help out a lot with people organizing parties for games like Splatoon or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. And that’s also not to mention that Microsoft currently requires people to have an Xbox Live account in order to cross-play Minecraft between Switch and Xbox One owners, so Microsoft already has a foot in the Switch’s door.
The current setup for the Switch requires players to have to plug their mobile phone into the system, download the Nintendo Network app for the phone, and then attempt to bring friends into the chat room for the game they’re playing in order to chat with people. It’s one of the most inconvenient systems out there as far as voice chat is concerned, and according to the CVAA standards, obviously not in compliance, which could net developers fines of up to $1 million.
Obviously, we won’t find out the time frame on when Xbox Live will make its way onto mobile phones and the Nintendo Switch until GDC, but it appears that Microsoft’s plans to expand outside of the Xbox and Windows 10 ecosystem is definitely underway.
(Thanks for the news tip zac za)