Game Changer? Windows Apps to run on Xbox One

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 20, 2013
Updated • Oct 20, 2013

I'm following the development of this generation's game consoles with interest, even though I made the decision not to buy any of them for a number of reasons.

Microsoft seems to have made a couple of bad decisions in the past in regards to the company's Xbox One console which will go on sale in select countries on November 22.

Some of them, like requiring an always on Internet connection or the used games policy, were changed after criticism intensified, and while there are still things that some users do not like, like an always on Kinect that can scan the room, reception seems to have improved all in all.

When you compare the two systems, you will notice that there is not a lot that differentiates them. Sure, there are some exclusives for each system, Sony's hardware seems a bit more capable, and Microsoft has the Kinect experience, but that is about it, or is it?

If you open this Dell promotional page for the Xbox One, you will notice that it states that the console will run and sync Windows 8 apps.

Consider the game officially changed. With all your favorite Windows 8 apps able to be run on and synced to your Xbox One, now your phone, desktop, tablet and TV can all give you a unified  web and entertainment experience.

xbox one windows 8 apps
Windows 8 apps on Xbox One

While that is no official confirmation by Microsoft, it could add another ace to Microsoft's hand in the upcoming battle against Sony.

It is not clear how this will work, and how beneficial this will be to users of the Xbox One if true. Most apps that are currently available in Windows Store are designed primarily for touch, or mouse and keyboard input. While some of this may be resolved through Kinect, it is likely that the experience will highly fluctuate between great and barely working at all.

That does not mean that it is not helpful to Microsoft's cause. With syncing enabled, users can run their Facebook, Twitter or mail app on the Xbox to receive instant notifications when they are pinged on those services or receive new emails. There are also some games that will likely work well with the controller, considering that they allow the Xbox 360 controller to be used on Windows 8.

Is it a game changer? I would not call it that, but it is something that distinguishes the Xbox One from the Playstation 4. It is unlikely that many users will purchase the Xbox One because it can run and sync Windows 8 apps, but it may play a role in the decision making process of some.

Note that Microsoft has not confirmed this at this point in time. (via Neowin)


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  1. james braselton said on October 31, 2013 at 12:38 am

    hi there yeah windows live tiles on xbox one

  2. Bob said on October 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    When the Wii came out, I think it demonstrated that touch apps work well on the TV screen. The DS had launched a couple years earlier, so Nintendo had been working on a touch experience for a while by the time the Wii launched. Pointing the Wiimote at the screen and having a hand appear felt natural. We had touch scrolling on the Wii way before the iPhone came out.

    The Kinect is essentially the Wiimote, but with your hand as the controller. since XBone will always use Kinect, I believe that translating the Windows 8 touch experience to Kinect will not be a difficult transition. Since Kinect can recognize when you make a fist, for example, you can certainly have touch scrolling, pinch zooming, and other familiar touchscreen gestures with the Kinect. Some UI changes may be needed, as on-screen buttons on the Wii were typically much larger than you would make them for a traditional computer UI, but I think overall Win8 apps will have little trouble running on the XBone. The only thing it will need is a wireless keyboard.

  3. Lindsay said on October 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I think it’s more likely that this will save the Windows Store from abject failure, rather than enhance Xbox One sales. It might give developers an incentive to actually develop Windows Apps…

  4. Ann said on October 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    there is one big issue that you need to consider.
    Do All w8 apps run or do all W8 programs run ?
    Where in the past apps was a short name for applications, hence programs, nowdays apps are lightweight limited programs, mainly used for phones and or tablets.

    I do see it quite possible to run W8 apps on the X1, real programs won’t.

    And it would be a games changer if you could run real programs.

    1. Duckeenie said on October 22, 2013 at 9:00 am
  5. Matt said on October 21, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Apparently Xbox One might have the ability to support a keyboard and mouse so it could work.

  6. Jim said on October 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Don’t forget smartglass. Navigating apps could be easier than you think using your phone/tablet for touchscreen and keyboard input.

    1. anon said on October 21, 2013 at 4:37 am

      Might as well use the tablet depending on the apps (Which aside from movie viewing and, uh, ?, better off on the tablet).

      But carry on, I’ve said practically the same things about RT, the tablet and Windows 8 but people still thought it’d be a second coming.

  7. Duckeenie said on October 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    It’s this kind of integration that they were shooting for from the start with Windows 8, I think we’ll see a lot more of it in the future because regular people love convenience above all other features. There aren’t really any gaps in Microsoft’s forte any more, just a few market weaknesses they need to strengthen before this really explodes for them.

    As much as a lot of us dislike the politics behind windows 8, I think if we’re honest we have to it’s a winning game plan.

    “All your lounge are belong to us”

    1. anon said on October 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      I don’t see that navigating windows 8 apps (legit one) with Kinect will be a pleasant experience. Maybe for some really really basic apps but hey, what do I know?

      1. anon said on October 21, 2013 at 9:29 am

        Yes because apps designed for a touch centric OS are best used with mouse and keyboard.

        I’m sorry, I fail to see how this is a big deal. UNLESS MS port x86 Windows to XBO I don’t see anything outstanding.

      2. Duckeenie said on October 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm
    2. JohnMWhite said on October 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      I don’t buy it. I can (and do) watch Netflix on my TV with great convenience, using a PC that’s plugged in to the TV. I used to do it with convenience with a PS3 that was plugged in to the TV. I also have a much easier time using Facebook in a browser (available on PCs and previous generation consoles) with a keyboard than I ever will by waving my arms around in front of Kinect. I don’t see this as a new feature, but then again I never bought that the Windows 8 apps were new or more useful in any way except a handful that were designed to work well on a touchscreen phone. Windows 8’s weather app, for instance, is just a more boxy and slower way to get info I can get by typing ‘weather’ into the search bar of any browser on practically any machine. Microsoft isn’t offering anything new here, it’s just what we could do before, except with ugly colourful boxes making up the interface.

      I do not understand how this approaches a game changer or Microsoft dominating the living room. It’s all stuff we could all do before, including via their competitors’ consoles. What am I missing?

  8. anon said on October 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Oh yay, can’t wait to use media audio video player home cinema xx edition third on my (phantom) Xbox One.


  9. Wormy said on October 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I stopped at ‘always on kinect’. Uhhh… It is always on, except for those times when it is unplugged, disabled, or not being used?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      I have modified the article to reflect that.

      1. Ann said on October 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        The Audio is still always on, if you connect the kennect sensor.
        “in order to start the xbox with voice command ‘xbox start’ “

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