Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone is the best and the worst gaming experience

Windows Game Hub - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

When Microsoft announced that its new mobile operating system Windows Phone would bring Xbox LIVE gaming on the go, the idea seemed like a dream born into reality. The prospect of bringing our gaming friends and the Xbox experience where ever we went sent a surge of excitement through myself.

Since the initial announcement, it has been two years. How far has Microsoft taken its mobile Xbox LIVE service, and has it delivered the promised experience for mobile gamers?

The Windows Phone Marketplace delivers a variety of rich gaming  experiences, from indie developer titles to content from major publications such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft’s Gameloft. Although the experience is rich, the biggest issue you will face is the lack of instant hit games. When a new adventure hits iOS or Android, Windows Phone is usually the last platform to experience it.

Don’t misunderstand the gaming experience offered on Windows Phone, though. As I stated before, the store does offer a rich experience of high quality Xbox LIVE games like Mirror’s Edge, Asphalt 5, Splinter Cell Conviction and more. You are out of luck if you are looking for Temple Run 2, Bag Piggies, or Crytek’s Fibble.

The solution for Microsoft may not be as simple as it appears, though: populating the Marketplace with more games will aide in a smoother transition to the platform for new users, but doesn’t create enough traction to pull a majority of consumers to Windows Phone.

When the concept of an Xbox LIVE mobile experience, more than just the average mill of games have to be delivered – an entirely new experience has to be created. The capacity to create such a unique experience isn’t even nearly being fulfilled. Where is Halo mobile and other such ventures that could serve as a launching point for a new era of mobile gaming?

Microsoft has delivered a variety of fun and interesting titles to its mobile platform, but it truly needs to invest more time in bringing the latest iOS and Android titles to the stage, while also taking advantage of the already great game network they posses. Until then, the Windows Phone game experience is sufficient but far from what it could be.


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Michael Archambault

Michael Archambault was an associate editor at Pocketables. He is a coder, a thinker, and a dreamer who lives on the "Microsoft side of life." His current gadget arsenal includes a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Windows 8, Nokia Lumia 900 with Windows Phone 7.8 OS, and a Microsoft Surface RT.

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One thought on “Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone is the best and the worst gaming experience

  • Avatar of William Devereux

    Yes, it is frustrating that hit games take a while to come to Windows Phone. But the same was originally true for Android. And even now, many hot apps still hit iOS long before Android for whatever reason.

    Day-and-date releases will come as the market share grows. In some cases, Microsoft (often with Nokia’s help) has managed to get a developer to simultaneously release a game on every platform (see Angry Birds Star Wars as an example). Unfortunately, the DLC for ABSW on Windows Phone lagged far behind the other platforms by a good month or two, and Windows 8 still hasn’t received the DLC.

    As for bringing high profile Xbox 360 games to Windows Phone, I think Microsoft is extremely hesitant to do something like this. And rightfully so! Mobile games are inherently different from a console game, so you can’t just release a Halo game on Windows Phone, for example, and call it a day. Toy Soldiers is a good example of where this goes wrong. It needs to feel like the source material, while having completely different gameplay more suited to the device.

    As a result, it would be very difficult to release a game like Halo or Gears of War on a mobile platform. Microsoft would be better served by creating entirely new experiences for mobile (with new IPs) or using SmartGlass to enable second-screen or asynchronous functionality.


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