Microsoft's switch to Bluetooth Xbox One controllers is more significant than just improved range with its new Xbox One S console. While the software maker has only mentioned compatibility with Windows 10 for the new Bluetooth-enabled controllers, it's clear Microsoft has greater ambitions to bring Xbox One games to platforms other than just Windows. Speaking to The Verge last week, Mike Ybarra, director of program management at Xbox, detailed Microsoft's new Xbox apps for iOS and Android.
"We want to be on any device that a gamer has," says Ybarra, "whether that's a competing platform or our platform." That sounds like Microsoft's approach to mobile and Windows Phone, build apps and services for rival platforms to ensure Xbox is everywhere. Microsoft is bringing a number of features to its iOS and Android apps, and the most intriguing is the new Clubs option. Clubs are a collection of Xbox Live members who are interested in a particular game. Club members can chat, set up parties, and play games together through the Xbox apps for Windows 10, iOS, and Android.
Game streaming on iOS and Android suddenly makes sense with a Bluetooth controller
While Microsoft isn't commenting on its plans for Bluetooth controller support, it's easy to imagine that Xbox One game streaming will arrive on rival platforms like iOS and Android. There are clearly challenges to address controller support, especially on the iOS controller API side, but if Microsoft's intention is to be everywhere then this is a logical step. Equally, party chat between an iPhone or Android device to Xbox Live friends is another logical next step.
Microsoft is currently working on a summer update to the Xbox One that introduces Cortana, new universal Windows 10 apps, and some improved UI and features throughout. The new Clubs feature isn't slated to arrive until an October update to the Xbox dashboard, so it's clear Microsoft hasn't detailed all of its plans for the Xbox One software this year. With Gamescom scheduled in August, we'd expect to hear a lot more about the Xbox One October update in a couple of months time.