Soapbox: Xbox Play Anywhere Is Fantastic, But I Wish It Supported More Games

Back in the Xbox One generation, Microsoft unveiled a feature in the form of Xbox Play Anywhere that would allow you to purchase a game on your Xbox console and also get the Windows 10 version for free via the Xbox PC app.

We're now multiple years into the lifespan of Play Anywhere, and while I've actually been using it more than ever in 2023, I can't help but wish it supported more games. It's a fantastic feature, and the first-party support isn't bad at all (the likes of Starfield and Forza Motorsport are included), but third-party integration is somewhat spotty.

I'm not the only person who seems to think this. In a recent interview with Windows Central, Xbox boss Phil Spencer told the outlet that Xbox Play Anywhere had "been a long term part of our strategy", but he didn't think Xbox had made enough progress with it over time. He also highlighted its importance following the recent rise of handheld PCs.

With the likes of the ASUS ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go, Xbox owners can use the Play Anywhere functionality to access their games portably without having to purchase them again. That's a massive win right out of the gate, and it would be even more impressive if the library of supported titles had grown more substantially over time.

The thing is though, times have changed. Xbox Play Anywhere was a product of the Xbox One generation, and you won't find much marketing material about it from the past few years. Xbox does have an official list of all Play Anywhere supported titles, but it seems to be missing a lot of them - the whole program supports around 500 games in all.

I understand the barriers to entry as well. Why would Larian Studios want to give away Baldur's Gate 3 on PC when they could benefit from a second purchase instead? In some cases it makes sense, but in others I can see why publishers would be reluctant to support a feature that may result in a loss of sales.

The future of Xbox Play Anywhere is probably leaning more towards Xbox Cloud Gaming, with Microsoft mentioning on multiple occasions that we'll be able to stream non-Game Pass titles in the future. When that happens, will Play Anywhere be dead in the water? I personally hope not, but I could definitely see it going that way in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on Xbox Play Anywhere? Let us know down in the comments section below.

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