The next Xbox might include compatibility with PC stores

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Microsoft may be considering opening up the next Xbox to PC game stores. It’s a move that would help the company shorten the gap between its Xbox console and gaming PCs. Which it’s done to a certain degree of late thanks to initiatives like Xbox Game Pass. The vision for the future of Xbox will potentially take things much further than this, though. A recent report from The Verge highlights hints from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer that suggest the company has plans for a major shift in how Xbox operates going forward.

This shift focuses on opening up the Xbox platform, and allowing Xbox console owners to essentially play PC games. As The Verge’s Tom Warren puts it, it feels like Microsoft is working to “combine the best parts of Windows and Xbox for its next-generation console.” Microsoft hasn’t confirmed how any of this would take shape. It has however made some comments that could give players an idea of what Microsoft is considering.

In a recent interview with Polygon from late March, Spencer said that he wants PC game stores like the Epic Games Store and others on Xbox consoles. It’s a tall order that would ultimately benefit the player who owns an Xbox. But then again, it’s still a process that would take no small amount of effort.

Bringing PC game stores to the Xbox requires PC game compatibility

This is going to be Microsoft’s first hurdle in turning this vision into a reality. Before PC game stores like the Epic Games Store can make it to the Xbox, those PC games will need to work on Xbox. How would Microsoft make this all come together? That’s still unclear. Microsoft obviously hasn’t announced any official plans. But the closest approximation of what Microsoft might have taken inspiration from is the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck runs on SteamOS which is based on Linux. To get all those Steam games to work, Valve implemented Proton, a compatibility layer, so Windows games would work on its Linux-based system.

Microsoft could end up doing something like this for its next Xbox console. And if it did, it would certainly make things a lot easier in terms of bringing over PC game stores. Spencer has been vocal in the past about his thoughts on platform exclusivity and looking at ways to move away from that more. Being able to find a way to open up the Xbox console to PC game stores would go a long way to making that happen.