Last night, I loaded Forza Horizon 3 onto my laptop. I gleefully watched as the Xbox network did a bit of syncing, optimized the game for my system, and promptly loaded me up right where I left off years ago on my Xbox One. You see, Forza Horizon 3 is a title that supports Xbox Play Anywhere, which means purchasing a copy on Xbox (which, sadly, you can no longer do since the game was delisted) also means you have a copy on PC. Along with that, you get cross-platform save synchronization and, in some cases, cross-platform play, too. And you get achievements. Even on PC, I still like getting Xbox achievements.
As a consumer, Xbox Play Anywhere is a godsend. It essentially lets my laptop become a portable Xbox that I can travel with and game on while still making progress in the titles I have on my home console.
With the Xbox Game Bar in the mix, my friends list is at the ready, and I’m remarkably close to having a legit Xbox console experience on PC. If I had to throw out a beef I currently have with XPA, it’s that more games don’t support it — though I believe Microsoft already has one remedy for that particular ailment.
Xbox Game Pass for PC has undoubtedly helped a great deal with getting games to enable Xbox Play Anywhere. For the first time ever, perhaps, developers now have a reason to put games in the Microsoft Store on Windows. That incentive has paid dividends for Microsoft, and you can see it in just how many Game Pass titles support Xbox Play Anywhere at this very moment. Out of the 180 games using XPA, GamePassport has 88 of them marked down as currently available via Game Pass. Many others in that list of 180 are previous Game Pass titles that have since left the service.
We can expect a bunch of upcoming Game Pass titles will likely have XPA built in, too. We know for sure that The Ascent and Psychonauts 2 will. I think Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite will almost certainly work with Xbox Play Anywhere. And I have my fingers crossed that Destiny 2 — whenever it comes to Game Pass for PC — will also make this happen so I can stop buying expansions on two different platforms.
What I hope Microsoft can do in the future is lure more games into using Xbox Play Anywhere — even those that don’t plan on showing up in Xbox Game Pass. I have my eye on the Windows 11 reveal happening later this week, as that could also come with a look at a totally revamped Microsoft Store. If the store gets better and gets more traction, more publishers may want to sell on it. That could open the door for more XPA games that you can buy once, own twice, and play, well, anywhere.