The ID@Xbox programme was designed as a way to enable smaller developers and indie studios to bring their existing and original titles to the Xbox One without requiring the aid of a publishing deal. Many successful titles have launched through the programme and so Microsoft are unsurprisingly looking to expand it to other formats under their ‘Universal Windows Platform’ umbrella. This includes Windows 10, Windows Phones and, in time, HoloLens.
Microsoft’s ID@Xbox programme is free for studios to join and offers them access to develop and distribute content on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Windows Phone as of now. These 3 formats use the same shared library of APIs as part of the Universal Windows Platform, as will HoloLens. This will allow developers familiar with one platform to port to another with minimal adjustments to their code. In fact, Microsoft suggest that some titles may need no modification and that absent features on a device – such as vibrate or controller support – will simply be ignored automatically.
Of course, this latter point may be less relevant when considering the feature set of the forthcoming HoloLens head-mounted display (HMD). While this shared library and coding language will undoubtedly see third-party support for the HMD arrive much quicker than were it to require it’s own unique middleware, the feature set of the HoloLens will still set it apart from Xbox One, Windows 10 and Windows Phones.
This news was revealed at GDC Europe 2015 today, at a presentation entitled: One game across PC, Phone, Xbox, and HoloLens. Microsoft’s HoloLens does not current have a release date, however development kits will be going out to studios around the world ‘within the next year’. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on this and other HMDs.