The ability to download a piece of software once and run it on any Microsoft device no matter the underlying hardware or interface is a long held dream. A dream shared by all Operating System manufacturers.
Working towards making the dream a reality Microsoft has launched their first two universal games, Skulls of the Shogun and Halo: Spartan Assault. The first universal games that use the same code to run on any Windows 8.1 device; this includes Windows 8.1 PC’s, Windows 8.1 Phone and soon the Xbox One, once the 8.1 release is completed on the gaming system.
Can Microsoft keep ahead of the other operating systems in this now crowded and diverse world of software? Can Microsoft succeed at unifying all of their platforms and devices?
All of the major players in the operating system world are working towards platform unification Microsoft is the first to actually achieve it so far.
A true universal app needs to have the ability to run on all of a company’s platforms. In Microsoft case this means being able to download a single app and run it on Windows desktops, phones, tablets and the Xbox. For Apple this would mean being able to run the same app on OS/X and iOS devices. Being able to run the same app on different iOS devices isn’t platform unification.
Apple is rumored to be working to replace iOS with OS/X from the desktop in order to achieve a similar result. Google is working towards unifying Android and Chrome; again it is likely that the ChromeOS will be transferred to the mobile phone and tablet world in order to achieve universal apps. Ubantu Linux is probably the closest behind Microsoft in achieving the ability to run the same apps on the Linux phones and desktop.
The greatest advantage of a universal app or game for users is the ability to purchase a game once and play it on any platform, rather than having to purchase that game for each device. There are also many other advantages of course; a single Windows Store, quicker development time for software developers who can choose a single platform to program for.
Windows 9, also called Threshold, will see platform unification taken to the next level. Scheduled for release in April 2015 Microsoft Threshold at its core will be unified across all platforms, the same OS code will be present on each device. Other upgrades will include windowed metro apps on the desktop, revamping the tiles with Metro 2.0 and many desktop options that user are calling for, options only available through customization software at the moment.
These are just the first steps in a long journey for Microsoft, and all of the companies racing to unify their platforms. A journey that ultimately should make life far easier for users and developers alike.
Halo: Spartan Assault
Skulls of the Shogun