For the Win(dows 10)!
With Windows 10 now rolling out (and at no cost to Windows 7 and 8 owners), there are more than a few reasons for gamers to update to Windows 10. However, as neat as new features like Xbox One streaming and cross-platform online play are, any console gamer will tell you that an even better reason to update would be cool, exclusive games.
To that end, we've selected 10 for 10! That is, 10 past, present and future exclusive games from both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One that we'd love to see come to Windows 10 and take advantage of Microsoft's newest PC gaming features.
Halo 5: Guardians
We might as well start with Microsoft's biggest gun, right? While it's extremely unlikely that we'll see the Xbox's biggest franchise launch closely on computers, it was once a tradition for Halo games to eventually land on Windows. (People often forget that the PC port of Halo: Combat Evolved was one of the first games Gearbox Software, creator of the Borderlands series, worked on.)
Even if we have to wait for 2016, Halo 5 would be a great reason for stragglers to update their operating system. As great as Halo 5 will look on Xbox One, a souped-up gaming PC would take Bungie's next shooter to another universe of amazing visuals.
The Windows 10 advantage: Can the best Halo players on consoles overcome the mouse-and-keyboard skills of PC shooter fanatics? Cross-platform online play for Halo would be the ultimate testing ground.
After a tease at E3 2014, Crackdown has remained shrouded in mystery throughout this year. One thing's for sure: if they reveal another platform for release, it would have to be Windows 10. The Xbox has always done right by high-flying, fast-paced open-world action, but modern gaming rigs equipped with Windows 10 can make Crackdown leap from a great franchise to another Microsoft staple, alongside Halo and Gears of War.
The Windows 10 advantage: The last two Crackdown games were full of insane moments, but capturing the crazy required unwieldy extra programs. Game DVR is just a quick-command away from saving those moments.
Gears of War 4
Since Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is now confirmed for a PC release (complete with 4K and mouse-and-keyboard support), it's high time we set our sights on the bigger target. We're still months away from the calendar flipping to 2016, but we already know Gears 4 will be the Xbox One's biggest gun next year. While it's unlikely that Gears 4 will touch down on Windows 10 before 2017, we can rest assured that we'll see some great exclusive content if the original Gears of War PC release is any indication.
The Windows 10 advantage: Gears of War has always been a visual showcase for Xbox platforms, and the addition of 4K support on Windows 10 could make Gears 4 a PC phenom. Add DirectX 12 support, and Gears could run even better on a PC!
Forza Motorsport 6
Whether it's Forza Motorsport or Forza Horizon, you can count on two things from Microsoft's signature racing franchise: hyper-realistic racing simulation and the best-looking vehicles in gaming. As great as the Xbox and its official steering wheels can make Forza look and feel, Forza Motorsport 6 can go even faster on Windows 10, especially when you consider the plethora of super-high-end, PC-only steering wheels.
The Windows 10 advantage: As fun as Forza games have been on Xbox One, we'd love to see this franchise support multi-screen gameplay from the starting line. If Xbox One streaming could let you spread the action to three screens for a panoramic experience, it could ensure an excellent Windows 10 version down the line.
Pop quiz: what was the best Xbox exclusive of 2014? No, it wasn't Halo: The Master Chief Collection, due largely to its persistent online woes. The answer would be Sunset Overdrive, which mixed the insane combat of Grand Theft Auto with the sick trick-based traversal of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. It looked and played like a beautiful dream on Xbox One, but if it could be upgraded for Windows 10, Insomniac Games' unsung, open-world epic could finally garner the audience it deserves.
The Windows 10 advantage: If you've been lucky enough to play Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One, you know there's no shortage of sweet clips to peruse. With a new batch of players on higher settings, not to mention more precise mouse-and-keyboard controls, who knows what Game DVR on Windows 10 will bring? We do know: GIFs galore.
This mysterious game made its debut at the beginning of the Xbox E3 2015 press conference, so you know Microsoft has big plans in store for this ambitious adventure game. We likely won't even see ReCore in action until 2016, but the wait would be much easier to take if we knew a Windows 10 version of this multi-studio project were on the way. Comcept is learning the nuances of multiplatform projects with Mighty No. 9, so hopefully those skills could be used towards optimizing ReCore for PC.
The Windows 10 advantage: For as little as we know about ReCore, we do know that the E3 teaser had a high-quality artistic style. While it's likely to be a visual showcase on Xbox One, the power of Direct X12 could make ReCore shine brighter on Windows 10.
There are quite a few fringe 360 games that aren't exactly classics, but would still be welcome on Windows 10. Coincidentally, most of them are made by developer Rare. Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo were decent games that fell just short of greatness, but would totally be worth a playthrough on PC, thanks to Rare Replay's bargain basement $30 (£17, AU$50) price. The bigger gets in the 30-game package are Rare's later 360 releases, including Viva Pinata and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts.
The Windows 10 advantage: While we can't recreate Goldeneye's split-screen insanity on PC nowadays, having two platforms worth of players competing in the original Perfect Dark should bring some life back to Rare's second-biggest shooter.
We've seen a lot of great 2D action-adventure games pop up over the last few years, and most have made their way to PC. One that's remained on Xbox for just over six years, and has been largely overlooked as a result, is Chair Entertainment's Shadow Complex. This gem mixes in modern-day tech and an Orson Scott Card-penned story to further deepen the experience. While it was a big hit on Xbox, Chair's next project has been even more successful, so we wouldn't mind if another team tackled a Windows 10 port while Chair continues to wield Infinity Blade.
The Windows 10 advantage: Shadow Complex has already been thoroughly explored on Xbox 360, but there's no telling what enterprising hackers and modders could do to make even crazier speed runs. What better way to watch it than through shared clips via Game DVR?
Two major Japanese-developed Xbox One exclusives were revealed at E3 2014. And while Phantom Dust has been put on the shelf, Scalebound is still flying high, with a GamesCom 2015 update promised by Microsoft. Hopefully among the newsy bits we'll get out of the Germany-based conference is a Windows 10 version.
PC gaming needs a major boost in Japan, and what better way to do so than by putting one of the most promising new brands on Windows 10? Platinum Games' version of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance turned out pretty well, so if Scalebound were to head in the same direction, we have faith that Japan's most prolific developers are ready for the task.
The Windows 10 advantage: Platinum Games is known for creating some of the most gorgeous games on the planet, and if Scalebound follows suit, utilizing DirectX 12 on Windows 10 will be key to making this game shine on PC.
Guardian Heroes HD
Since we're already asking for Japanese games, here's an obscure one. Among the countless '90s games getting HD revivals these days, a rare Sega Saturn release by the name of Guardian Heroes was welcomed on Xbox 360, but never got the chance to shine on other platforms. As much as the spiffed-up visuals and gameplay tweaks were welcome on Xbox Live Arcade, we'd love to see the sprites shine even brighter on Windows 10, especially if there's a way it could recognise six inputs to match the madcap multiplayer insanity of the Saturn version.
The Windows 10 advantage: As you can imagine, Guardian Heroes HD's amount of crazy effects and huge sprites makes for some fun viewing experiences, so Game DVR clips of the brutal 2D brawls would be a great selling point for those who have never experienced this hidden classic.