With the smartphone OS space at its most competitive ever, and Microsoft finding itself in the unfamiliar position of underdog in the sector, its no surprise that the software giant will be looking to utilise every tool at its disposal to give the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 a fighting chance.
It’s in this vein that it announced at Gamescom this year that it would be porting games and applications from Xbox Live onto the mobile platform, unveiling the first string of titles which will appear at launch.
It’s a clear signal that the software giant is putting games very high on the agenda of the new mobile OS – and it’s a move that makes a lot of sense.
In its current stage, Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft has a distinctly fewer number of developers putting together apps for it compared to Google’s Android or Apple’s OS X.
However one area (amongst others) where it has an advantage over the competition is in gaming. Apart from porting a large number of games, giving the platform access to a huge catalogue from launch, the firm will also be attempting to transfer over the social interaction elements of Xbox Live to handsets.
It’s not the first time Microsoft has tried to extend the reach of the Xbox’s multiplayer credentials to other platforms. A few years ago, it tried to bring together its Xbox Live and Windows gaming interests together by making the console compatible with PC gamers. The theory was gamers on both systems could play and communicate with each other. However, this never really got off the ground, and seems to have been more or less abandoned.
The firm’s plans with Windows Mobile 7 seem somewhat less ambitious, and much more manageable. It’s a smart move, and though games is just one area Windows Phone 7 will have to compete on, it’s a battle Microsoft could certainly win, even if the war goes the other way.
The first games to appear include Bejeweled LIVE (PopCap), Guitar Hero 5 (Glu Mobile), The Harvest (MGS), Max and the Magic Marker (PressPlay), and Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst (MGS).