Original collection launched before the program
One of the better initiatives to come about from Microsoft this generation was the “Xbox Play Anywhere” program. Through this, players that bought digital copies of compatible titles would be granted both the Xbox One and PC versions of games from a single purchase. Save data was also shared between both versions, allowing you to play the game however you felt whenever you wanted to. Online multiplayer between each version was also a big feature, though some restrictions applied (ranked matches were usually platform specific). With the recent announcement of the Halo: Master Chief Collection coming to PC, many were wondering if the Play Anywhere program would apply.
Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be in the works. At the recent Halo Championship Series Invitational, 343 Industries’ Brian Jarrad and Bonnie Ross got to talking about the PC ports and indicated they wanted to get them just right. Ross would then go on to say, “while MCC shipped before the XPA Play Anywhere [program], we are exploring ways to make sure we show our appreciation and recognition for the support we’ve had from the amazing fans on MCC. And we’ll have more to announce once we get closer to launch.”
While not a direct denial, it seems unlikely that the program will be extended to the upcoming PC version. This even encompasses cross-play, with Jarrad stating, “The real question on people’s mind is can I play Xbox against PC? And truth be told right now, we are really focused on making sure that we can bring these games to PC in the right way. But the team would love to hear feedback on this and as we get further down the road.” He did stress that Windows Store vs. Steam will be available, but that should have been a given.
Truth be told, I can see why the Master Chief Collection wouldn’t have Xbox Play Anywhere for the PC port. As Ross said, the title came out years before that program was even a thing. Not including cross-play multiplayer, though, makes little sense. This is a premier Microsoft franchise that actually already has the feature with Halo 5: Forge on PC. You can’t tell me including the option would seriously hurt the development of the PC ports. Make any argument you want about PC players having an advantage, you could simply go the Gears of War 4 route and disable ranked matches for competing platforms.
Whatever the case, if you were hoping to get free PC copies from your Xbox One purchase or play against your console brethren, you may need to find another game for that.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection PC team talks cross-play, Xbox Play Anywhere [Windows Central]