Nintendo has confirmed Xbox Live is heading to Nintendo Switch, kicking off with Cuphead on April 18th, 2019.
"You can thank StudioMDHR for making their award-winning game so special, and our friends at Microsoft for helping us bring Cuphead to even more players," Nintendo manager of publisher and developer relations, Kirk Scott, said during Nintendo’s Nindies Showcase (thanks, GI.biz).
"We are partnering with StudioMDHR to investigate bringing Xbox Live features beyond Xbox and PC to Nintendo Switch," wrote ID@Xbox senior director Chris Charla on Xbox Wire. "Yes, this means that fans will now have the opportunity to experience StudioMDHR’s award-winning debut game on Nintendo Switch with Xbox Live!
"We’ll be working with StudioMDHR to implement Xbox Live features into Cuphead on the Nintendo Switch in the coming months. Given the early stage of our work with StudioMDHR, the Xbox Live features will appear in a post-launch update to Cuphead on Nintendo Switch. We’d like to thank Studio MDHR and Nintendo for their help in this investigation!"
We knew Microsoft was looking to extend its Xbox Live service across other platforms – including Nintendo Switch and Android and iOS devices – when we first caught sight of the GDC 2019 scheduling website. Microsoft had been focusing Live support for its own games and devices, but now it is set to extend its reach across competitor platforms, hoping to expand "from 400M gaming devices and a reach of over 68M active players to over 2B devices".
"Xbox Live is one of the largest, most engaged gaming communities on the planet with decades of experience providing managed game services to developers that save you time and unlock all of the social and engagement features that players love," said a summary on the GDC website that was subsequently deleted. "Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger."
Released in September 2017, Xbox console exclusive Cuphead sold over a million copies in just two weeks, although the greater victory went to Steam rather than Microsoft, as SteamSpy estimated the game had at least 600,000 owners.