Perhaps one of the most significant announcements to come out of E3 2016, Microsoft's Play Anywhere initiative teased unmatched flexibility on where gamers can play a brand new game from Microsoft Studios. By leveraging Universal Apps, an application format that in principle allows those apps to operate seamlessly in Windows 10 across all hardware platforms, Microsoft were essentially allowing a game to be purchased once and then played on either XBOX One, Win 10 PC, or both.
Thirteen titles were announced as part of Play Anywhere, including Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2 and new IP ReCore (shown above). But more significant was a tacit pledge that all new first-party Microsoft Studio titles will be released as Play Anywhere games.
The pledge was reiterated at the end of June with Microsoft's Windows 10 Anniversary announcement, wherein it was stated that:
"With the Xbox Play Anywhere program, you can buy a game once and play on your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One with shared progress, shared game saves and shared achievements. Every new title published from Microsoft Studios will support Xbox Play Anywhere and will be easily accessible in the Windows Store."
However in a recent edit to the original post their statement now reads:
"With the Xbox Play Anywhere program, you can buy a game once and play on your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One with shared progress, shared game saves and shared achievements. Every new title published from Microsoft Studios that we showed onstage at E3 this year will support Xbox Play Anywhere and will be easily accessible in the Windows Store."
That's change which is worth highlighting. It may be that some titles Microsoft Studios' are publishing in the very near future, but didn't announce at E3, aren't quite ready for Play Anywhere. However it's difficult not to view the change as one that largely undercuts the principle of earlier assumptions, and certainly would be a disappointment to anyone who picked up an XBOX One with the initiative in mind.
To be clear: Play Anywhere is an excellent idea and a big boon for PC gamers who wanted to enjoy previously exclusive XBOX titles; in theory we will all be getting at least thirteen titles for Windows 10 which we may not have seen otherwise. Unfortunately, like many prior E3 announcements, it may turn out to be hot air in the long run.
SOURCE: Windows Win 10 Anniversary update blog, Blog Archive June 29th