Microsoft hasn’t been shy about its ambitions in the video game space. The company is moving away from hardware rivalries — those endless races to one-up Sony’s PlayStation with whatever new Xbox comes along. Instead, Microsoft has been building toward a future where Xbox isn’t as much a console as it is a service that will, one day, reach across many different devices.

We got a pretty good look at one way Microsoft plans to push that future earlier today when the company announced Game Stack, a set of development tools that will help developers integrate Xbox into their iOS and Android apps.

Game Stack is made up of some things most gamers have probably never heard of — technologies like Azure PlayFab, Virtual Studio, Simplygon, and so on. You’d likely do a search for the cheapest essay writing service online if someone made you write a report about these — they’re the kind of tools that only a developer would care about.

But Game Stack also includes products like Xbox Live and Direct X, and helps facilitate integration with Mixer and Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers. If you’re a gamer, you can start to see how developers might be able to use these tools to benefit you in a more consumer-facing way. How about better performance courtesy of Game Stack’s Direct X support? Or achievements in more of your favorite iPad games, thanks to the presence of Xbox Live? Or the ability to have your Mixer viewers interact with your game? There are a lot of exciting possibilities here, and it won’t be too long before developers actually start using Game Stack to make them a reality.

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So far, Game Stack is limited to iOS and Android, but there have been rumblings that Microsoft has an eye on the Nintendo Switch as a potential platform for Xbox services. Should Microsoft push Game Stack over to that console (and should Nintendo allow that to fly), we’ll officially be in a whole new era for Microsoft and the Xbox brand.

We can’t wait.

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