Microsoft has quietly announced a few early partners that plan to bring their Windows 10 apps to the Xbox One.
In a press release from its 2016 Build developers conference, Microsoft mentioned that Nickelodeon, Dailymotion, NASCAR, and Hulu will launch Xbox versions of their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps later this year. All four partners already offer apps in the Windows Store, and all but Nickelodeon have upgraded to universal Windows 10 apps, which is supposed to make for an easy transition to Xbox.
While Hulu already offers a native app for the Xbox One, the Windows 10 version is more powerful, with support for playing videos through “Hey Cortana” voice commands. A similar feature seems likely for the Xbox One when Cortana heads to the console as part of this summer’s “Anniversary Update.”
With that update, Microsoft plans to merge the Windows Store and Xbox One store into a single marketplace, though it’s unclear exactly how this will work. Windows developers will still need to format their apps for the console, and Microsoft hasn’t indicated that all purchases will carry over between the Windows Store and Xbox. It seems the company isn’t quite ready to reveal all the details, and is saving some news for the E3 gaming trade show in June.
Why this matters: Like most game consoles, the Xbox One has been a tightly-controlled platform, with just a small list of entertainment apps to choose from. The switch to UWP and upcoming merger with the Windows Store will likely put an end to this system, bringing the Xbox One more in-line with the full-blown app stores on other platforms such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and the new Apple TV.