Windows vs Mac is an argument as old as the console war itself. I myself have always been a Windows guy, but even that operating system has had its fair share of hiccups and issues. For example, Windows 7 was great, but Windows 8 wasn't so hot. The same goes for Windows Vista compared to Windows XP. Anyway, you get the idea. Now, Microsoft has skipped over a 9 and went straight to Windows 10.
Not only this, but they've said that Windows 10 is the last operating system they will ever make in the sense that Windows will now be a service instead of a traditional operating system. Regardless of how you want to word it, it's a huge move for Microsoft, and this was met with even more big news when Microsoft said that Windows 10 is coming to Xbox One.
A PC operating system on a console? Could the hybrid that I've been predicting for years now between consoles and PC actually be coming? Time to find out. Let's see what Windows on Xbox means for Xbox 2.
Windows as a Service
Microsoft likes to throw out buzz words like "Windows as a service," but what does that mean? The idea is that Windows won't have any future versions beyond 10. Instead of a major upgrade in a few years, we'll receive regular updates and improvements. Microsoft was able to make this possible through a design that separates the Start Menu and apps from the rest of the main operating system.
By doing this, Microsoft is able to make changes to the core operating system without messing up the other elements. This gives them the ability to make Windows 10 work on multiple devices like, say, Xbox. The idea is to continue providing monthly updates, even for programs like Windows Office 10.
Much like Google Chrome, which updates consistently without changing the actual name, Windows is seeking to continue providing these updates regularly to evolve their operating system and improve it.
Windows 10 on Xbox One
Many Xbox One owners may already know this, but the dashboard interface on Xbox One is actually adopted from Windows 8, so the idea of an operating system like this on a console isn't entirely new, but the way Microsoft is planning to implement them is very different.
This update happened recently. Xbox One is now running on Windows 10. You'll notice that the entire Xbox dashboard changed afterward. All of the features haven't been implemented yet, though. For example, Cortana as a digital assistant hasn't been moved over to the Xbox One yet, but the features are coming. In addition, Xbox One is going to enjoy support for Direct X 12 which results in a better use of the system's hardware and therefore better graphics.
Another interesting feature is the ability to stream Xbox One games (including backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles) to your PC. This is something you can do now, and it feels like a version of Sony's Remote Play which streams console games to a handheld device. With this type of streaming, you can even plug an Xbox One controller into your PC and play it like you did on the console.
The two devices need to be on the same network, and latency is a possibility depending on the speed of your connection, so keep that in mind. What matter most here though, is that this update has brought Windows 10 to consoles (with the intention of bringing all of the other features soon) and it brought backwards compatibility with the option to stream games to any PC on the network.
Is it just me, or does this sound exactly like the time I predicted that console and PC games would merge for Xbox Two? Let's talk about what this kind of development means for the Xbox 2.
Windows 10 on Xbox Two
Microsoft is tired of doing one thing for PC and one thing for console. I'm sure you are too, so why not change it? We as a species love convenience. We like things to connect and work together. From something as simple as a garage door opener opening the garage for us, to our smartphones controlling the lights and air conditioning in our homes. We are moving towards a connected society that is bound together by technology (A.K.A Skynet) and it's time we made the leap between the age old enemies of PC and console.
Since Microsoft makes both, it makes sense to merge the two via the operating system. To avoid needless upgrades and complications, keeping the operating system the same on both makes everyone's lives easier. If Windows 10 is truly the last windows, then Xbox 2 will use it as well. Right now Windows connects the phone, the computer, the tablet, and the console. Are you ready for it to connect the HoloLens to this web as well?
Microsoft's augmented reality device, known as the HoloLens, will most certainly play a role in the Xbox Two. What role that will be remains unclear. It could be that the system will be contained entirely within the headset, powered by an internet connection as you go about your daily life. Internet and Wi-Fi will be far more prevalent when the Xbox 2 comes out, so what if Microsoft took a hint from Google and created their own internet service?
If they did, you could go anywhere, game anywhere, and be connected to the internet. Google Fiber is real, it's happening now, and we all know that Microsoft and Google are at odds with each other, so why not try and develop a Microsoft-supported internet infrastructure? They could do it, and they could even call it Xbox Live if they wanted to.
There's one thing that's certain: Xbox Two will be spread across multiple devices. Your phone, tablet, possible console, and HoloLens will all collectively make up the Xbox Two as a gaming platform. Since Windows 10 has become a "service" I wouldn't be surprised if Xbox became a "service" as well. This would create the perfect platform to adopt and adapt to the new gaming environment.
We're not ready for it yet, that much is certain, but if Xbox Two were a cloud-based system then it could bring games to us on all of these devices with Windows 10 as the operating system for each.
What do you think of this merging of PC and console through Windows 10? Share your thoughts and your predictions in the comments below!