Xbox chief Phil Spencer said Thursday that Microsoft is working to make Windows 10 the best operating system for gamers, traversing the PC, phone, and console.
In a video (embedded below) Spencer talks about what's new for the Xbox One console in 2015: screenshots. Earlier this week, Larry Nelson, Microsoft's chief point person in the Xbox One community, revealed the Xbox One updates for February, involving custom backgrounds and content "game hubs" that will be built out for each game. Adding screenshots will apparently come at a future time.
Microsoft also revealed that an earlier "promotional" price discount, which cut the console's price by $50 to $349, is on again.
"Building off a record-setting holiday, we are excited to announce a new promotion in which fans in the U.S. can buy an Xbox One at a special price of $349, starting tomorrow, January 16, from their preferred retailer,” said Mike Nichols, corporate vice president of marketing for Xbox, said in a statement. “We are thankful for all the excitement for Xbox One this holiday and proud to offer more fans the amazing games lineup, Xbox Live gaming community, and continual innovation that Xbox One fans have come to enjoy.”
Microsoft claimed that the Xbox One was the top-selling console for November and December in the United States, based on NPD sales data.
Xbox and Windows 10???
Spencer also addressed what has become a minor mystery: Why is he speaking at the Windows 10 consumer preview launch next week?
"I'm excited to be talking on Jan. 21," Spencer says in the video. "We have speakers coming up, talking about Windows 10, and the great work that we're doing there.
"For the Xbox team, this is the beginning of the discussion with fans about the work we're doing to bring gaming to the Windows 10 operating system," Spencer said. "It's really nice to be able to finally begin to talk about this; we'll continue the conversation throughout the year. We remain committed to gaming on console, but we know that we have fans and gamers that also play on PC, and on phone, and it's important that we build out the features that we have, learning what we've done on console, and working to make Windows 10 the best operating system we've ever created for gamers on PCs. "
Spencer's carefully vague reply suggests that Microsoft plans some sort of unified gaming strategy across all devices. It's done that in some capacity with its SmartGlass app, which permits a "second screen" experience for Windows Phones, allowing gamers to peruse a map of the world or level they're on, for example.
Why this matters: Microsoft has tried to build out unified apps for Windows Phone and Windows, providing a similar experience for those who own both platforms. And Microsoft could conceivably go much further: allowing users to stream Xbox One games hosted on the console across their network to PCs, for example, or provide networked functionality to those few who happen to own a copy of a game on both consoles. Microsoft could also be planning to connect Xbox gamertags to its broader ecosystem, such as Skype.
That's all speculation, of course. We'll find out next week.