On Monday at the Gamescom 2010 conference in Germany, Microsoft revealed details surrounding Xbox Live for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform. While it is well-known that Microsoft has been planning to incorporate Xbox Live into the new mobile platform, not too much was known until now. However with their announcement came news of heavy integration with existing Xbox 360 consoles. For instance, users can connect to their Xbox Live accounts from their phone making it easy to chat with buddies or even play mobile games on the go.
“We’re really approaching this as we would a console, so we have to deliver the breadth of games and the quality people expect from Xbox,” – Kevin Unangst, senior director of PC & mobile gaming.
Early games for the platform includes titles such as “Uno” and “Bejeweled,” but better graphics intensive games are expected soon after. The initial set of title offerings might be somewhat humoring to iPhone owners who have first person shooter games such as Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies available for sometime. Microsoft also plans to release companions to Xbox 360 games such as Halo: Waypoint, a Xbox Live hub where users can view Halo videos and get involved with the community. Hardcore fans will find games such as these a great way to stay update while away from their console. Unfortunately, that companion title won’t do much for game play. This is where other titles such as Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst comes in. Unlike the limited mobile Halo experience, this game will offer additional game play. While the type of game play will be entirely different, it will still be related. Other popular Xbox Live Arcade games such as Rocket Riot will also debut on the Windows Phone 7 platform.
While the Xbox Live integration is great, Microsoft also plans to leave the Windows Phone 7 platform open to games that have never been on the Xbox before. This is to ensure that those who don’t own Xbox 360 consoles won’t feel left in the dark. This opens up the possibilities for titles such as Angry Birds or Plants and Zombies, which are popular iOS titles, to reach the Windows Phone 7 platform. Microsoft is working closely with third-party developers to make ensure a set of quality games by the time the gizmo debuts later this year.
As Apple’s App Store has proven, mobile games are very popular. Microsoft’s choice to integrate Xbox Live functionality into the phone is clearly a wise decision. Although Windows Phone 7 does not have a user base to support it yet, loyal Xbox Live users and fans will likely adopt the platform quickly. If Microsoft wants to overtake Apple when it comes to mobile gaming, it needs to think outside the box. Implementing ideas such as companion games is a step in the right direction to regain a foothold in the market. Hopefully, it won’t turn out the way the Sony PocketStation did when they tried to add a mobile element to console gaming.
Links: Windows Phone 7