Will Quantum Break Help Microsoft End the Console Business as We Know It?

In April, Remedy’s long-anticipated Quantum Break will be released on the Microsoft platform. Originally the game was the symbol of Microsoft’s push for “broad entertainment” integrated through Xbox One, which was supposed to be a combination of live-action TV and science fiction covers.

The game is now the rallying cry for the still developing Windows 10 Store and DirectX 12. What makes Quantum Break such a game changer? It is one of the first games to run on Universal Windows Platform, which is a set of development tools that are intended to work across both Xbox and PC. In the ideal world Microsoft hopes to create, they would be able to use Universal Windows Apps to upgrade Xbox One in the same way it updates a PC. This would mean that people would no longer to need to buy brand new gaming consoles. This would be a profound shift in the console business.

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Remedy’s Thomas Puha told PC Games Network that Windows 10 being so new made some development issues a little more challenging. The platform lacks some features that PC gamers expect, so Puha and other developers have been working with Microsoft to add those tools in the future. Overall, Puha had positive things to say about Microsoft’s ability to resolve issues favorably for Remedy.

Regarding Quantum Break itself, Puha says the build they are showing isn’t exactly what the final version will be. The Windows 10 build seen recently was running at 1080p and 30fps, while the final game will run at 60fps and support 4K. There are many issues which come up when developers are shipping a game on a new platform. In contrast with the launch of Killzone on PS4, which was a brand new platform at the time, Windows has a much longer history, so there are not as many questions about whether the game will actually be playable.

Although Phil Spencer has basically  indicated that he expects Microsoft to upgrade the Xbox console hardware within a generation, Puha and the Remedy team really did not take those plans into account while making Quantum Break. The games made for UWP will be compatible with both old and new version of the Xbox, which certainly blurs the lines between PCs and consoles. Puha warns that developers need to shy away from making decisions based on predictions about future software. At the same time, he believes Microsoft’s concept is sound.

Microsoft has two big hurdles to overcome. First, they’ll need to persuade console buyers to prefer the PC experience, especially with respect to upgrades. Second, they need to make sure developers on Xbox have the financial stability that they are used to with console games to continue to work on new games. To do both, Microsoft needs to show that the UWP works well across platforms.

With Quantum Break, the team was focused on having great play on Windows 10 and on Xbox One, so that they can accommodate the preferences of those who want to play on a big TV and those who like a monitor and keyboard.

Quantum Break is driven by a narrative, which is a break from games that are system-driven in favor of developing a story with a clear end. Puha thinks Quantum Break is part of a comeback of sorts for those kind of games. What do gamers want? Check here to see us share more news of the Quantum Break.

 

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