Microsoft will soon explain how Universal Xbox apps work

Microsoft will soon explain how Universal Xbox apps work

Universal apps are about to expand beyond Windows in a major way.

After two years of talking the talk, Microsoft is apparently getting serious about bringing universal Windows apps to the Xbox One.

Microsoft will reportedly reveal the first universal Xbox apps during its Build developers' conference later this month and explain how the console is opening up to app makers, according to The Verge. Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of Xbox, also wrote on Twitter that Microsoft will reveal more about Universal Windows Platform in general.

Microsoft first started talking about universal Xbox apps in 2014, as part of a broader push for apps that run across phones, tablets, PCs, and Xbox consoles. That system—now known as Universal Windows Apps—kicked off last year with the launch of Windows 10. Developers can now write an app for Windows tablets and PCs, and have it run on Windows Phones with little extra effort. Some notable examples come from Hulu, Netflix, Dropbox, Twitter, Uber, and Pandora.

But aside from some brief conceptual demos, Microsoft hasn’t explained how Universal apps will apply to the Xbox One. It’s unclear what sort of apps will become available on the big screen aside from the obvious video and music services, and to what extent games will be part of the plan. Will UWP, for instance, finally pave the way for buying a game once and playing it on any screen?

The news comes just after one prominent game maker sounded the alarm over Microsoft’s app ambitions. In an editorial for The Guardian last week, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney argued that Universal Windows Apps are Microsoft's attempt to monopolize PC gaming and put competing platforms, such as Steam, at a disadvantage. Sweeney later admitted, however, that he had no evidence for his claims and wasn’t clear on how UWP worked. It sounds as though Microsoft plans to clear things up soon enough.

Why this matters: By opening up the Xbox One to all app makers, Microsoft could break tradition from how game consoles typically work. While rivals Sony and Nintendo still maintain tight control over which apps and games are allowed on their platforms, Microsoft may finally be willing to let app makers shape the future of its console.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags musicXbox One



Join key decision-makers within Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) that have the power to affect real change and drive sustainable practices. SustainTech will bridge the gap between ambition and tangible action, promoting strategies that attendees can use in their day-to-day operations within their business.

EDGE 2023

EDGE is the leading technology conference for business leaders in Australia and New Zealand, built on the foundations of collaboration, education and advancement.


ARN has celebrated gender diversity and recognised female excellence across the Australian tech channel since first launching WIICTA in 2012, acknowledging the achievements of a talented group of female front runners who have become influential figures across the local industry.

ARN Innovation Awards 2023

Innovation Awards is the market-leading awards program for celebrating ecosystem innovation and excellence across the technology sector in Australia.

Show Comments