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Xbox One games could become playable on PC

Here's something that sounds totally crazy but might actually make sense. According to Thurrott's Brad Sams, it appears Microsoft is testing technology that would allow Xbox One games to be installed and played on PC.

Sams' reporting indicates that, not too long ago, Microsoft made an announcement about shipping some new tech inside Windows 10. As part of that, Microsoft also stated that the game State of Decay would be made free. Sams dug a little deeper, and that's when things got interesting.

"When you download State of Decay, the oddities begin immediately," Sams said. "Instead of downloading from the Microsoft Store server, serverdl.microsoft.com, where all the content comes from including PlayAnywhere titles, the game downloads from assets1.xboxlive.com."

Sams continued.

"What it looks like Microsoft is doing, instead of porting each Xbox feature back to the PC one by one, they are simply dumping the entire Xbox One installation/servicing plumbing and making it the primary installation for Windows."

If it turns out that Microsoft is indeed setting up Windows to run Xbox One titles, this could have a number of ramifications.

For starters, it would build out Microsoft's collection of PC game titles significantly. The Microsoft Store on Windows isn't always a shoe-in for new releases, as major platforms like Steam tend to dominate. Bringing Xbox One games into the fold would make it far easier for developers to target that platform and then bring their games over to the Microsoft Store on Windows, though it remains to be seen how more PC-specific features — adjusting graphics settings, etc. — would be implemented.

There also exists the possibility that this is not at all meant to target new games, but is instead intended to bring older Xbox One games to PC. Depending on how far Microsoft takes this, it could also have the added benefit of bringing the platform's library of backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games to Windows. That would, of course, require a little more magic on Microsoft's end.

The move also has us thinking about Microsoft's PlayAnywhere initiative. So far, fewer games have supported PlayAnywhere than Microsoft would probably like. But if the company is able to bridge the gap between Xbox and PC without developers having to do additional work, the PlayAnywhere dream could still be a reality. And that includes play between Xbox and PC, as well as Microsoft's future streaming plans with Project xCloud.

And finally, there's Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft made mention last year of bringing Game Pass to PC, though we haven't heard much about it since. Back then, we wondered where exactly Microsoft would get the games for such an endeavor, as Game Pass on Xbox One includes titles from the Xbox One, the Xbox 360, and the original Xbox. Should Microsoft bring the Xbox One library to PC, though — you can start to see how the PC version of Game Pass might take shape.

The idea of playing Xbox One games on PC sounds bizarre, but it's already happening thanks to the Xbox One's streaming feature. Native play is just taking it a step further, and lines up with Xbox head Phil Spencer's vision of the future. Xbox wants to be everywhere: on a console, on a PC, on your tablet, and on your phone. If Microsoft can get rid of a few more platform restrictions and blur the lines even more, Xbox will be on its way to achieving that goal.