Remember the mysterious test that Microsoft wanted Windows 10 Insider Build testers to run recently without revealing anything about it?
Microsoft wanted users to report any issues found during the installation and launch of State of Decay, but did not reveal any information other than that.
Turns out that Microsoft could have had testers install the Xbox One version of State of Decay, or at least a large part of it, on the Windows 10 device.
Brad Sams over on Thurrot suggests that the State of Decay test was Microsoft's first public test at making available an Xbox One game as the "primary installation for Windows".
Microsoft did not confirm nor deny that; Sams discovered that the game installer downloaded the data from an Xbox Live domain and not from the usual server that Microsoft Store apps and games were offered from.
There is more evidence. It turns out that the downloaded files used the .xvc format. Microsoft created the format for the Xbox One but it seems the company added support for it to the upcoming version of Windows 10.
The State of Decay installer, which you can run from PowerShell as Sams notes, loads a legacy DirectX installation setup routine which installs the required DirectX components on the computer.
Microsoft has an interest in pushing the company's Xbox One system and gaming on Windows 10. Making it easier for game companies to develop games that work on Xbox One and Windows 10 with little overhead will certainly help with that.
While it is certainly easier to develop games that run on PCs and consoles, thanks to consoles becoming more like PCs in many regards and improving development options, improving that process further could give Microsoft the boost it needs to compete with Sony and Nintendo in the console market, and increase Windows 10's attractiveness as well.
It is unclear at this point whether the functionality will find its way into Windows 10 version 1903, the next feature upgrade version. It seems unlikely, considering that we are just 1-2 months away from the release of that version.
Microsoft could plan to have everything ready before the launch of its next console (Xbox Two, maybe). This would give it ample time, a year at least, to test and integrate the functionality in the operating system.
More Xbox games on PC is a good thing for PC gamers; most would probably prefer that Microsoft would not make the games Microsoft Store exclusive. Another concern that some gamers may have is that developers might use shortcuts by launching the Xbox One version in its unmodified or nearly unmodified state on PC; this could be problematic in regards to controls, graphics, and other functionality.
Now You: what is your take on this?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.