Ahead of a joint press conference with Bethesda Softworks on Sunday, Microsoft provided a first look at some of his upcoming projects for its Xbox games division, including a recently unveiled “Project Moorcroft,” a program slated to roll out to Xbox Game Pass sometime next year.
Aimed at independent game developers, Moorcroft is intended to allow game makers to place curated demos of their projects on the Xbox Game Pass service. Participants “will be able to see how their demos perform and will be compensated”, although no further details were provided.
As described, it reminds me of the notoriously indie Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360, which was responsible for some of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had on a console. Using the Game Pass “discovery engine” as a way for indie creators to market themselves and at least break even on the deal is potentially a big deal, much like the Arcade.
“This is about creating the gaming platform for the next twenty years,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in an attached press release. “We want to make sure we have an amazing community of gamers who can find great games from a wide variety of creators.”
Microsoft also shared details about Xbox’s business performance, future expansions, and continued direct integration between Xbox and Windows 11. Here are the key takeaways from a pre-brief we watched.
- Starting June 30, the Xbox app will launch for Samsung’s 2022 lineup of smart TVs, allowing users to stream Xbox games without a console. This will include direct Bluetooth compatibility with headsets and gamepads, including the Series X controller, and access to Xbox Game Pass, and should work like any other streaming app.
- Optimizations are currently being tested in the Windows Insider program that will deliver an “even better gaming experience” for games played on Windows 11 in windowed mode, including improvements to HDR and VRR.
- An upcoming Game Pass widget in Windows 11 is planned, which will allow subscribers on PC to browse, discover and return to the service’s titles.
- A new feature, the Controller Bar, has entered testing in Windows Insider in May and is currently available for preview. It opens automatically when you connect a compatible gamepad to a PC running a compatible version of Windows 11 and offers quick one-button access to the Xbox Game Bar, as well as the last three games you’ve played. on the system.
- Microsoft Edge has a number of new gaming-focused features “Coming soon.”
- Xbox Cloud Gaming has extended to Argentina and New Zealand nowadays. Anyone with a Microsoft account in either market can now sign in to play Fortniteand Ultimate-tier Game Pass subscribers can play compatible games through the cloud.
- The Xbox Design Lab, which allows users to customize an Xbox controller to their individual tastes, is launched in 11 new countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland , with Taiwan slated for later in the summer.
- The Design Lab is also adding a variety of new pastel colors and camouflage patterns, such as Soft Pink, Soft Orange, Arctic Camo, and Sandglow Camo.