Game consoles have become more PC-like than ever, and that is especially true of the latest generation Xbox One. That doesn't mean you can play Xbox One games on your Windows system. Not yet, anyway. However, there is evidence to suggest that Microsoft is working towards that goal.
That evidence is found within Microsoft's Windows Insider program, in which participants are able to preview and test upcoming upgrades to Windows 10 before they are pushed out to the general populace. Recently, Microsoft has been asking Insiders to install and test of special edition of State of Decay, which it has made available for free.
"We’re excited to bring technology tailor-made for gaming to Windows. Help us validate these systems work as expected, and play State of Decay for free (limited time only!). Just tell us about any problems you encounter with installing and launching the game," Microsoft explained in a blog post.
That in and of itself is a hint that something is brewing, but digging deeper, there are some interesting tidbits that go along with it, as Brad Sams outlines on Thurrott.com. For example, the game does not download from the Microsoft Store server (serverdl.microsoft.com), and instead comes from assets1.xboxlive.com. Hmm.
It appears that Microsoft is pushing out the Xbox One version and not a PC port. Further evidence of this can be found in the .xvc file format the game uses. Microsoft introduced the .xvc file format in 2013 specifically for Xbox One games, and in this case, it can be installed using the updated PowerShell application in the Windows 10 19H1 test build.
Installing the game brings up a legacy DirectX setup prompt. The latest test build also installs a new Gaming Service app, Microsoft.GamingServices.app, with two accompanying drivers—xvdd.sys = XVD Disk Driver (Microsoft Gaming Filesystem Driver) and gameflt.sys = Gaming Filter (Microsoft Gaming Install Filter Driver).
Need further proof? Twitter user WalkingCat notes that the drivers contain references to Durango, which was the codename for the Xbox One.
What this ultimately means is that the next big update to Windows 10 could potentially introduce native support for Xbox One games. This could make it faster and easier for developers to push their console games to PC, though hopefully it doesn't lead to lazy experiences that fail to take advantage of what PCs can offer.