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What “Xbox Games on Windows” actually means | Ars Technica


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As a branding exercise, the recently unveiled "Xbox Games on Windows" is more than a little confusing. The "Xbox" name has previously been exclusively reserved for Microsoft's console gaming efforts (update: and recently on Windows Phone systems, as some commenters have pointed out). With the launch of Windows 8 next month, that name will also be associated with a related, but totally separate product on the PC.

Despite the name, you won't be able to just insert an Xbox disc into your PC and play it using the Xbox Games on Windows app (if only!). In fact, the Xbox Games on Windows branding won't be used for retail games at all, but only for downloadable games on the Windows 8 Store. But not all Windows 8 downloadable games will be Xbox on Windows games—only a small subset will be integrated into the service. And if you own a downloadable game on the Xbox 360, you won't necessarily have access to the PC version of that same game through Xbox Games on Windows.

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iPhone, iPad, Mac -- store.

Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, Windows PC , Xbox live -- store.

This branding could be simple; at the moment, it's confusing!

Microsoft's strength has never been simplification or innovation.

Microsoft's strength has been providing lots of choices and settings.

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