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Cellphones Handhelds Windows Games

Windows Phone 7 Gaming and Xbox Live 99

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-trying dept.
Engadget is running a preview of Microsoft's attempt to bring Xbox Live to upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices. Launch titles will include Guitar Hero, Castlevania, and Halo: Waypoint, and many of the features from the console version of Xbox Live will make the transition intact. Quoting: "Live on WP7 will allow for full avatar integration (we're talking fully rendered, interactive avatars) along with customization (clothes, accessories, and more). The company has even crafted an avatar-centric version of familiar phone utilities like flashlight apps and levels, adding some whimsy to what would normally be pretty staid affairs. Additionally, messaging, friend lists / status, achievements, and leaderboards (with friend comparisons) are all here as well, making for a pretty complete mobile Xbox Live experience. And also just like the console, every game will have a try-before-you buy demo to check out before spending your hard-earned cash."
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Windows Phone 7 Gaming and Xbox Live

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  • Profit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danieljury3 (1809634) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @07:01AM (#33273906)
    So they've taken avatars which serve hardly any purpose, created large numbers of useless items for these useless avatars, charges money for these useless items and then integrated them into applications and platforms where they will continue to serve no purpose. In summery they are going to succeed in charging money for what is effectively nothing. Not surprising from any company these days.
    • by janoc (699997)
      It feels more like - "Well, we know it doesn't work so well as a phone, but LOOK! YOU CAN BLING OUT YOUR AVATAR!!!! OMG!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by odies (1869886)

      Eh, nowhere in the article it says it will cost something. Live is free on Windows too (though not so used besides a few titles).

      Live is also a lot more than just some stupid avatars. Matchmaking, online games, friends, achievements and so on work great and the same way in every game. If something is good with Windows Mobile 7, it must be the inclusion of Live gaming.

      • Re:Profit (Score:4, Informative)

        by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:17AM (#33274246)
        The confusion is that MS tends to use the same name for different things. Windows Live is free. Xbox Live is both free and subscription based. The article is talking about Xbox Live [wikipedia.org]. Xbox Live Silver is free but does not include multi-player gaming among other features like Netflix. Xbox Live Gold is subscription based and includes said features. Most likely using some of the features only included in Xbox Live Gold. If you have an account you can access it through the phone; however, additional costs will be required for things like customizing your avatar.
        • by anss123 (985305)
          Windows Live is free on the PC. I got "Xbox" Live Silver and I played some PC Bioshock 2 MP at no charge. I also bought an Bioshock 2 addon with a credit card - though I don't recall if I bought it through Steam of directly on Windows Live.
      • by Spatial (1235392)

        Live is free on Windows too (though not so used besides a few titles).

        Thank god.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Something has value if people are willing to pay for it. People are obviously buying into it. Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure if you created something that others considered dumb you wouldn't care and still market it if it was making you a few million dollars a year...

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      So they've taken avatars which serve hardly any purpose, created large numbers of useless items for these useless avatars, charges money for these useless items and then integrated them into applications and platforms where they will continue to serve no purpose.

      And hooked it all up to XBOX Live, which sucks utterly. Am I the only one who shudders whenever I see that "Live" overlay pop up on any game?

      • by flitty (981864)
        Only because you're seeing that popup on PC games, where it's not needed or wanted. On consoles, which generally lag behind PC gaming for multiplayer gaming, Live is probably the best integrated and well thought out systems. The only complaint I see about XBL nowadays is that it's $50.
        • by Tom9729 (1134127)

          If you shop around, Live is actually more like $30.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            I had no idea that Microsoft actually charges money for XBox Live. Now I really hate it. Basically, they've got you paying money for DRM.

            • by Tom9729 (1134127)

              Xbox Live is a multiplayer game service. You do not need Live or an internet connection if you don't want to play online.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My cash isn't hard earned - I earn it the easy way, by selling my services to high class business women who are 'lonely' on their trips. Still, I'm not going to spend it on this Windows Mobile 7 shit, I've got an iPhone (and it's address book is fucking stacked to the gills with hot, rich women).

    • by cybrthng (22291)

      Avatars cost nothing and there are tons of free items available. Avatars also give you some visible identify throughout many games, the dashboard and the xboxlive framework and being able to customize it - even if for a small fee to personalize your gaming experience isn't a bad thing. In fact, i'd go so far as to say you're just jealous ;)

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      So they've taken avatars which serve hardly any purpose,

      They do seem to have one purpose, they will cause your girlfriend to ask you who that little gay guy on the screen is. The avatar even has a fruity little hair flip. (I have gay friends, but I don't suck them off or anything. Imagine the tone of my post accordingly.)

  • Gaming on WP7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by janoc (699997) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @07:11AM (#33273950)
    Umm, why not make the WP7 actually useful for being used on a phone [infoworld.com] first? It's cool to have a mobile gaming console in the pocket, but then I would probably buy a PSP and not Windows smartphone ...
    • Umm, why not make the WP7 actually useful for being used on a phone first? It's cool to have a mobile gaming console in the pocket, but then I would probably buy a PSP and not Windows smartphone ...

      I assume because this is a project of the XNA/XBox/gaming guys and not the phone / windows mobile guys.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrXym (126579)
      To be fair to Windows Mobile 7, a lot of the other commentators came away generally positive although they noted omissions such as video in HTML, lack of YouTube client, no copy & paste & no 3rd party multitasking.

      My own view is that Microsoft recognized how mouldy Windows Mobile 6.5 had become, especially the UI and decided to bisect the OS with a rump Windows CE acting as the kernel and a new .NET front end. All well and good but they'd have to toss a lot of functionality out in the process. So

      • by Xest (935314)

        I'd imagine Microsoft are also factoring in the point that 3rd party developers will often fill in missing features such as a YouTube client with apps in no time at all until a 1st party solution is in place anyway.

        As an aside, why do you say there's no doubt that Android is poor for gaming? The hardware is generally more than upto it, it has a full OpenGL ES implementation and you have the NDK if you really want raw performance. I suppose it's not as easy as developing for XNA of course that's true, but ot

        • by DrXym (126579)
          As an aside, why do you say there's no doubt that Android is poor for gaming? The hardware is generally more than upto it, it has a full OpenGL ES implementation and you have the NDK if you really want raw performance.

          I say its poor because it is poor. There are a dozen high end Android handsets and more by the day. Games might work fine with one handset and be completely bugged on another. This happened recently with a bunch of Gameloft titles that worked on the Motorola Droid but crapped out on the HTC

          • by Xest (935314)

            "I say its poor because it is poor. There are a dozen high end Android handsets and more by the day. Games might work fine with one handset and be completely bugged on another. This happened recently with a bunch of Gameloft titles that worked on the Motorola Droid but crapped out on the HTC Desire and other phones. The reason was the underlying chipset - PowerVR vs Snapdragon as well as other differences between the platforms."

            That's fair enough, I wasn't aware of such issues, however this really goes back

            • by nschubach (922175)

              I'd like a unified gaming system that works across all platforms, however I think that's probably too much to hope for, and probably too tricky to implement in reality due to the percent chance of getting the relevant companies working together on such a thing being pretty close to zero.

              A third party could do it I think. Look what Steam is doing with Win/Mac (and soon Linux?) Someone should get Valve on that. Steam Droid. Achievements, friends, VOIP...

  • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @07:13AM (#33273962)

    For those who don't know, Halo Waypoint is basically just a front end for the Halo series of games that lets you view all your achievements for the series and one or two bits of Halo news. It's not a game in itself, so calling it a "title" is probably giving it a bit too much credit, because it's largely dull and pointless.

    Yes, the title of this post was meant in a sarcastic tone

    On a different note though, I think XBox Live integration actually has the potential to be a killer feature for Windows 7- if Windows 7 phones are going to succede on anything it'll probably be this. It effectively means it's a gamer oriented phone and if it links into XBox live then there's a potential to harness the 27 million (or however many XBox Live has now) achievements whores and allow them to continue their achievement addiction even when they're not at their XBox.

    I think Microsoft actually has a good vision in terms of XBox Live everywhere by linking XBox Live with Windows Games and mobile games, especially as it all integrates with MSN messenger and partially with Facebook too. Of course, the real test will be in the execution- having the right vision is only the start of it, pulling it off through Microsoft's layers upon layers of bureaucracy will be the real challenge.

  • WP7 Connect Program (Score:5, Interesting)

    by giuseppemag (1100721) <giuseppemag.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @07:33AM (#33274058)

    I have received a WP7 prototype device, being an XNA professional developer.

    I have to admit I have always considered games on phones *much* beneath any interest from a self respecting developer.

    The experience of developing for this platform though has completely changed my mind: it is powerful (I mean REALLY powerful, the kind of 3D scenes one does not expect to see on the phone) the dev tools are very good, the compatibility between Windows, XBox 360 and WP7 is exactly as compatibility should be. The standard phone functions work out of the box (the facebook/gmail contacts integration is pretty neat) and in general the experience feels pleasantly iPhonesque.

    After seeing and testing the actual device I have quadrupled my company's development efforts for WP7: it might be a force to be reckoned with.

    Maybe nobody cares, but here (http://cid-24c55844373f9e74.office.live.com/browse.aspx/.Public) are two videos of two of my games in action; the sudoku is unimpressive, but the 3D space battle is a completely different matter :)

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      If MS can find the out sourcing talent to write stable closed code, find some cheap hardware and get the input working, they can really do something interesting.
      The real trick is Apple is so locked down and closed that MS can offer a real hardware base to code for.
      Apple has never understood the charm of 3d and having good fast code that works.
      If MS can stop your cute new MS device from calling the outside world for $ then this could be good.
      But been MS I am sure they will be "NSA friendly", lazy, "have
      • That is a definite possibility; until now, I am pretty satisfied with the non-gaming bits. The phone does tend to "work as expected", which is very important for a consumer device. My feeling is that it will be a decent phone, a good application platform (Silverlight is a Good Thing when you are a developer on a tight budget) and an excellent gaming platform (XNA is very mature). Kind of like a well-made crossover between an iPhone and a PSP, which both have excellent features, but with Android-esque user/
      • There is another important thing I believe. Independent game devs have very few options: the PC is very crowded, and getting your title on Steam or some other DD platform is hard and even then you have lots of competition. Consoles are very closed (XBLA publishes very few titles, and XBLIG does not sell as it could). WP7 might be a good platform for indie game devs, in that the dev tools are simple (huge C++ codebases of professional devs are useless), 3d capabilities are respectable but limited enough tha
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Wizard Drongo (712526)

          Yes, but iPhone is the big elephant in the room Microsoft are trying not to talk about.
          I know for fact they've been offering "inducements" to major iPhone game-devs to come and make a similar game or an outright port for WP7, and just paying them upfront.

          Microsoft can do that, because they want the games and don't mind taking the financial hit. But in the long-term, it's not a good strategy.
          iPhone is very similar to the WP7 (naturally; MS are trying very hard to copy it after all), but in addition to an ea

          • I agree. But, those 500,000 apps are a bit the point, aren't they? On one hand you have lots of users and lots of devs competing for attention on a well-established platform. On the other hand, you have a giant that will probably invest millions in marketing to capture users that (at least in the beginning) a few developers will have plenty of to share. The way I see it, entering the WP7 Marketplace arena now is a gamble: it could be a gold mine or it could be a splash in a sewer. Who knows?
            • Well, if you've been lucky enough for Microsoft to approach you and offer these "inducements" I've heard about, jump on with both feet. You're being paid up front to develop and support a game; you don't have to worry about sales, you get paid by M$.

              On the other hand, if it's plonking down cash so you can get a hardware-device, maybe a separate dev machine, books for the coding API's etc. all on the basis that this phone *might* sell well, and that your app *might* be high enough up the store-rank for peop

              • You are entirely right, but it also depends on how much you need to invest. Last year I taught at a University in Italy in a Videogame Development Master Degree. The topic of my lessons was XNA (no WP7, since there was not even a rumor yet). When this WP7 thing came out I contacted a few of my ex-students and offered them a few weeks of development assited by me for a few indie games (sudoku is one, there's also solitary and stuff like that). The cost is very little given that these guys (and the other peop
              • by Xest (935314)

                "Well, if you've been lucky enough for Microsoft to approach you and offer these "inducements" I've heard about"

                You keep mentioning this but do you have any evidence of it or are you simply making it up? If you don't have any evidence for it then your point is useless "I've heard about" is not evidence, it's someone spreading rumours.

          • So where's the inducement to go WP7 instead of iPhone?

            It's (relatively) easy to develop a game that can run on a Windows box, on an XBox, and on a WP7 phone -- which provides a potential user base which dwarfs the iPhone.

            Granted, these are going to be simpler games than they could be if a developer restricts themselves to something that will run smoothly on a phone, but there's still some money to be made there.

            • by oakgrove (845019)

              It's (relatively) easy to develop a game that can run on a Windows box, on an XBox, and on a WP7

              And to think people say that writing apps for Android is difficult due to hardware and OS fragmentation.

              • To be fair, my understanding of XNA is that it's not exactly a 'write once, run anywhere' kind of model, but more that if you wanted to put out a game for both Windows and XBox and used XNA, you could reuse 99% of the code if you leaned on the XNA library as much as possible.

                (I am not an XNA dev; I may be mistaken.)

                • I'm afraid that is not correct. The very same XNA code can be recompiled (that is the only additional step: you do not run the same binary but rather the same source) for each platform. After you have done that, the code simply keeps working. Graphics, input, audio, etc. keep working.

                  There are a few considerations though. Input devices that make no sense on a platform keep returning no input. Most devs will use #define and #if to comment out those pieces of code that would uselessly poll input devices that

          • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:52AM (#33275170)

            "On the other hand, there are coming close to 500,000 released apps for the iPhone, a literally staggering amount of apps. Probably more apps than exist for Windows, although that's just speculation."

            Did you really just say that?

            Importantly, this is a negative, it means people have to find your app amongst those half a million others dependent entirely on Apple's interface with little ability yourself to control how much visibility it gets on that marketplace.

            "But if you hit it big, you're in there. No such thing exists on WP7 yet since it's not even shipped. So where's the inducement to go WP7 instead of iPhone? Aside from Microsoft bribing you with a large wad of upfront?"

            The fact that if you develop for XNA then you've written a game that can run on XBox 360, Windows, Windows Phone 7. In other words, writing for Windows phone 7 is simple because it uses the same tools and codebase as for Microsoft's other platforms. This means you can target hundreds of millions of devices out there with one codebase. In contrast with the iPhone, it's sold around 50 - 60 mill units to date, however many of those are replacements for previous generations so the actual market size is probably more in the 30mill - 40mill range. That's a much smaller market.

            Or to cut a long story short, even if Windows Phone 7 doesn't take off, developing for XNA alone means you automatically are developing for a market that dwarfs that of every other mobile operating system out there.

            Of course, there's also the point that there are countless XBLIG and .NET apps that already exist which can be moved directly to, or with minor porting to Windows 7 Phone from the outset. That is, the cost for existing XNA developers to produce for this additional platform is next to nothing, but the potential market is large.

            • by mgblst (80109)

              Ok, nice massage of the numbers.

              You are right, WP7 has a big advantage in that you can target Windows and Xbox, but still this market is smaller than the iPhone.

              And don't forget to include all the touch devices, and iPads as well, with those dodgy iphone numbers you pulled out of your arse.

              On top of that, Apple users are more likely to actually buy stuff, which hasn't proved the same for android users, and with WP7 we will have to wait and see.

              • by Xest (935314)

                What are you on about, you seriously believe the combined iPad/iPhone/iPod touch market is bigger and spends more money than the Windows/Xbox market? Seriously?

                Well, sorry to break your dream with reality, but here you go:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IPhone_sales_per_quarter_simple.svg [wikipedia.org]

                As you can see, it totals a little over 51 million units. Do you really believe though, that the 6 million iPhone and 12 million iPhone 3G are still all active and none have been replaced with newer models? It's not unrea

          • Microsoft can do that, because they want the games and don't mind taking the financial hit. But in the long-term, it's not a good strategy.

            Indeed, it's not a good strategy in the long term - i.e. if you keep doing it after some time. It is a reasonable strategy to get a foothold in the existing well-established market, though, from which to grow further.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by thegarbz (1787294)

      After seeing and testing the actual device I have quadrupled my company's development efforts for WP7: it might be a force to be reckoned with.

      I agree every company should quadruple their development efforts for WP7. It'll be a huge force to be reckoned with. Check out the maths below:

      4 x 0 = 0

      • by cybrthng (22291)

        Launch titles for WP7 devices will be a "gold rush" For their developers... You would be dumb not to join that market if your business is related to mobile software. Reality is there are already 200k of these phones in distribution and its not even "public" yet.. Employees/Developers/Partners are getting (or already have) their phones right now.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          Um, If 200,000 of those phones are owned by developers/partners/employees it's hardly going to be paramount to success. You may as well say there are 200,000 phones sitting in a warehouse because that's about as much as they'll actually get used for phones.

          That's just Microsoft artificially inflating the distribution numbers to make people (like you) think that people are actually using the phones as something other than a testing platform.

          In order to find out the true usage numbers, we now have to subtrac

          • by cybrthng (22291)

            These phones will never be counted in usage numbers.. you will get those from carriers and partners as they sell the phone. However, i'm not sure what you're point is. Are you trying to insinuate that the phone is already a failure even though the initial developer base is larger than iphone 1s initial launch and availability base? You do realize there are 5-6 hardware vendors launching phones and there are already several global telco's that will be launching this as well - not just at&t. It won't t

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nschubach (922175)

              I'm not talking about the iPhone. There are literally millions of Android development phones out there though. Every single one of them. There's less of a development cost. If you want to claim that development will skyrocket because of how many dev phones are out there all you have to do is look at how Android is doing.

              There are just as many (if not more) hardware firms kicking out Android based devices (phones, tablets, remote controls, etc.) and several global telco's with Android as well... What's y

              • by cybrthng (22291)

                Development for WP7 is free. MS is also very competitive on marketplace pricing & royalties.

                I may also add, that Google only officially supports android on mobile devices. None of those tablets/pads/pda type devices are allowed to run Google apps or Google Marketplace.

                • by nschubach (922175)

                  It doesn't matter. Android doesn't need the Google Marketplace. It can install any APK files. There are even alternatives to the marketplace with dedicated ranking, sorting, tracking, etc. One example is http://slideme.org/ [slideme.org]

                • by nschubach (922175)

                  Also, Android development is free as well. If you want your app on the Google Marketplace, there's a small fee though.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      The one thing I took from these videos is the annoying 1-2 second lag between pressing something on the screen and the phone actually doing something.

      Also, I've seen games with better visuals on Android and the iPhone...

      • Those are not finished games, the menus are custom (no Silverlight libraries: it's all XNA) and there is no loading screen; hence the lag. Also, pardon me but "better visuals" means crap. It's all about polygon count, framerate, textures resolution, shaders.
      • by spongman (182339)

        1-2 second lag

        that's nothing you should see my iPhone 3G after installing iOS4.

        something like this:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdk2cJpSXLg [youtube.com]

    • I've played with a Windows Phone 7 quite a bit as well. I was impressed with the hardware (though it was an Asus test device) and the speed with which the OS facilitated things. The big problem was that the UI was awful. At the time I put the phone through its paces I was an iPhone 3G owner looking for a change. I was hoping WP7 might offer a more wholistic experience than Android with a manufacturer shell. I was wrong.

      The 'home' screen was bland. Finding apps was not intuitive. Using media was nice

      • That is an interesting POV. I do not know if at the time of the Asus prototypes (quite a while back, I believe) the facebook integration was as good. WP7 will be very strong in three areas: social networking (Facebook contacts are integrated in one's contacts seamlessly, and you can add a tile for any Friend you want), mail (managing multiple gmail accounts is really a breeze, with a tile per account: I was impressed by the ease, since I am handicapped with smartphones) and semi-hardcore gaming (hardware +
    • by Atrox666 (957601)

      Does Microsoft let you publish your own apps or do they lock the phones down and play god like Apple? I'm not interested in spending one second developing on a platform that censors my code. This is why I won't develop for iPhone or BREW. I'm sticking with Android but will develop for WP7 if and only if it's open. I've had a number of windows mobile devices.

      • There is a degree of censorship far lower than Apple's. The only apps that are exluded are those that would not be appropriate in the hands of a kid or illegal. Explicit sex, ultra-violence, copyrighted materials are forbidden. The rest is ok. I do believe that the Windows philosophy (do what you want as long as it's on our platform) will be kept essentially intact on WP7.
        • by Atrox666 (957601)

          I do not develop for children's toys, I'm an Android developer. What I distribute is between me and my customers.

          • Personally that is exactly the reason why I fear Apple far more than MS...

            Android is pretty neat, both technologically and philosophically. But Apple platforms, whew, they give me the shivers: a model that is too closed up feels like it is a real danger.
    • by mgblst (80109)

      Can tell you are a windows developer, by the fantastic names of those folders. Microsoft all the way for you, isn't it? Despite the many incredibly powerful phones out there already.

      I feel sorry for you, I look forward to the phone, but I have been trapped in a Microsoft shop before. Very sad.

      • Deconstructive psychology based on folder names? Are you high?

        Look, I am not trapped in a MS shop. I *am* a MS shop. I know this may not be the smartest thing to say here on /., but it's true. Do I care about MS? Nope. Do I care about Apple? Nope. Do I care about Linux? Same as above. I *just work* in technology. I have a wife and kids to support and some knowledge that I can sell as a consultant or in the form of products. I already know a lot about MS graphics stack (I learned to program with DirectX
  • Just what we need games cut down for a cell phone that are also on the Xbox and pc.

    They tryed that with Deus ex 2 and it sucked now think how bad it will be on the cell phone and that may even make xbox gamers feel like they are playing a cut down game for a weaker system.

    • You're looking at it the wrong way.

      Don't think about the kind of games that come on a DVD; think about the kinds of small games you can buy/download on XBox Live.

      Something like Puzzle Fighter isn't going to struggle to be converted to a phone, and since (presumably) the XBox version was written in XNA, it's an easy port.

  • I remember when laptops came out. First there were the "luggables" like the Compaq. Then the big, heavy clamshells with 5" drives.

    In 1995 I bought a Gateway Liberty, at the time the smallest, lightest laptop on the market. It was about the size of a hardback book and weighed 6 lbs. It was a marvel of miniaturization.

    Then laptops got feature-itis, and got huge. ISTR a laptop with a 19" or 20" screen.

    Then someone had a great idea: let's build a small, simple laptop and call it a "netbook"! What a concep

    • by mgblst (80109)

      You are a moron and a fool.

      Yes, they produced huge laptops, but they never stopped making small laptops. You could always get laptops with 13" screens, from a variety of manufacturers. Good ones from IBM, Toshiba, and shit ones from Sony, HP, Dell even.

      The only advantage netbooks bought was that they were too small for adults, and cheap.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cptdondo (59460)

        You have obviously never used the TRS Model 100.

        One day laptops may again aspire to 6 weeks runtime (yes, that's 6 weeks!) on a single set of AA batteries.

        That was perfection in its day.

        One day we'll have little hand held thingies that just.. make.. phone calls.

  • Is it like Games For Windows Live? if disconnects your xbox so that your PC can get in the account? therefore stopping you from playing both systems at the same time

    I'd love seeing someone being dropped out of a game because he used his cellphone!

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