The PC game store wars are heating up, with Epic Games firing off major salvos at last night’s Game Awards. Xbox Play Anywhere seems to be among the first casualties.
Updated December 7, 2018: Since writing this article, Microsoft’s official Xbox Play Anywhere list has been updated to remove Ashen completely.
Updated December 8, 2018: Aurora44 put out a blog post to state that Ashen is indeed coming to the Windows 10 Microsoft Store and “other platforms” (presumably Steam) in the future, with Annapurna confirming that it’s also coming to Xbox Play Anywhere. It looks as though at least for the time being, it will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for PC.
Let’s begin with the Windows 10 availability in the Microsoft Store. The Xbox One launch of Ashen could not have been a better success story, in our opinion, and Microsoft has been unbelievably supportive throughout the development of Ashen. We are currently working with our partners at Microsoft and the ID@Xbox team on bringing Ashen to the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 as soon as possible. We wholeheartedly agree that this would have been better available day one. We are a small studio that just shipped a very big game, but have been actively working to get it there. Rest assured, it is coming.
Epic Games spent quite a lot on advertising during last night’s Game Awards, with several high-profile exclusives for its fresh PC digital distribution platform. One stung a little more than the others, however.
Ashen, long-touted as coming to both the Microsoft Store and Steam, launched on Xbox last night out of the blue. The asynchronous co-op open-world RPG sports a haunting art style, with gorgeous visuals, and tight, action combat, and should have been a major addition to the Xbox Play Anywhere offering. However, it seems that Epic Games’ push into PC gaming has not only nuked Ashen’s availability on Steam, as well as its availability on the Microsoft Store, and thus, Xbox Play Anywhere.