Microsoft is breaking tradition by announcing that Forza Motorsport will be made available to PC gamers via Windows 10.
The award-winning series, developed by Turn 10 Studios, has established itself as one of the best in the racing genre and had remained an Xbox exclusive since the release of the original Forza Motorsport in 2005.
That's all set to change in the spring, when Forza Motorsport 6: Apex races onto the Windows Store.
Turn 10's free-to-play title will be a stripped-down variant of Forza Motorsport 6 and will serve as "a powerful demonstration of what the ForzaTech engine can do when unleashed by DirectX 12 at resolutions up to 4K."
A complete car list hasn't yet been made available, but Microsoft has confirmed that players will be able to race on a choice of 20 tracks across six locations: Brands Hatch, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Rio de Janeiro, Sebring International Raceway, Top Gear and Yas Marina. Night modes and variable weather will be supported, and PC gamers can look forward to trademark Forza features such as Drivatar opponents, Forzavista vehicle overviews and online leaderboards.
Today's announcement is the latest move in a company-wide effort to break down the barrier between games console and PC. In addition to ending Forza's run of exclusivity, Microsoft recently revealed that Quantum Break, an eagerly anticipated title from developer Remedy, would release simultaneously on Xbox One and Windows 10, with Xbox pre-orders benefitting from a free version of the Windows 10 game.
Adding extra intrigue to the firm's cross-platform plans, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has also suggested that the future of Xbox hardware could evolve to keep pace with today's PCs.
"We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console," said Spencer in an interview with Polygon.
"Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger. And then you wait for the next big step function."
"When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we've ever seen. You'll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform."
Might you be able to upgrade your games console during the current generation? With virtual reality on the horizon, we certainly wouldn't rule it out.