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I recently covered a list of Windows Phone 7 Technical Preview articles on my Personal Blog, in which I described the MIX 2010 conference as the second chapter of the Windows Phone 7 story.

Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Windows Phone, demonstrated the Harvest, a 3D Xbox LIVE game on Windows Phone 7, that highly impressed in terms of performance and power.

Arne Hess, Windows Phone MVP and Editor in Chief of the::unwired published his “First-hand quality-time with Microsoft Windows Phone 7” about a week ago, in which he noticed that “the Xbox integration wasn’t not complete yet”.

When I had some hands-on time with the LG Panther prototype during the Windows Phone Get Together event, I had a similar experience.

“Today at Gamescom 2010, the largest trade fair and event highlight for interactive games and entertainment, Microsoft premiered the first wave of Xbox LIVE games launching on Windows Phone 7.”

Windows Phone 7 – The launch of a major gaming platform for Microsoft

The strategic importance of the deep Xbox LIVE integration with Windows Phone is emphasized by the following statement in the official press release by Matt Booty, general manager of mobile gaming for Microsoft Game Studios:

“Windows Phone 7 is the launch of a major gaming platform for Microsoft. […] Just like we’ve done with Xbox 360, our charter is to push the envelope and deliver definitive games that maximize the platform.”

In addition you should think about the by definition mobile characteristic of a phone (not connected to a gaming console at a particular place)

“We believe no matter where life takes you, the best in gaming and entertainment should follow,” said Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft.

Games Hub on Windows Phone 7

The picture above shows a screenshot of the Games Hub on Windows Phone 7, in which you can see that Xbox LIVE is deeply integrated.

  1. On the left you can see the library/collection of games, that is comperable with the experience of downloading apps or games into the collection on my Zune HD. You can buy games either in the Marketplace or in the Games Hub.
  2. The spotlight provides access to the Xbox LIVE spotlight feeds, with news items from Xbox LIVE.
  3. In the middle you can see the Xbox LIVE profile and your personal 3D avatar. Furthermore you see the Gamerscore (across Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7) and the view and track your achievements.
  4. Under the request heading on the right you see invitations and requests of asynchronous multiplayer games. For example the middle message is a notification that it is “my turn” in the multiplayer card game.

Launch portfolio Xbox LIVE games on Windows Phone 7

The list of launch titles of Xbox LIVE games on Windows Phone 7 -specially selected from the top names in mobile, pc and console game development-  is extensive (+/- 50 titles) and consists of a wide variety of high quality games, both familiar games from Xbox 360 as well as completely new games.

“3D Brick Breaker Revolution” (Digital Chocolate), “Age of Zombies” (Halfbrick), “Armor Valley” (Protégé Games),  “Asphalt 5” (Gameloft), Assassins Creed” (Gameloft),Bejeweled™ LIVE” (PopCap), “Bloons TD” (Digital Goldfish), “Brain Challenge” (Gameloft), “Bubble Town 2” (i-Play), “Butterfly” (Press Start Studio), “CarneyVale Showtime” (MGS), “Castlevania” (Konami), “Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst” (MGS), “De Blob Revolution” (THQ), “Deal or No Deal 2010” (i-Play), “Earthworm Jim” (Gameloft), “Fast & Furious 7” (i-Play), “Fight Game Rivals” (Rough Cookie), “Finger Physics” (Mobliss Inc.), “Flight Control” (Namco Bandai), “Flowerz” (Carbonated Games), “Frogger” (Konami), “Fruit Ninja” (Halfbrick), “Game Chest-Board” (MGS), “Game Chest-Card” (MGS), “Game Chest-Logic” (MGS), “Game Chest-Solitaire” (MGS), “GeoDefense” (Critical Thought), “Ghostscape” (Psionic), “Glow Artisan” (Powerhead Games), “Glyder 2” (Glu Mobile), “Guitar Hero 5” (Glu Mobile), Halo Waypoint” (MGS), “Hexic Rush” (Carbonated Games), “I Dig It” (InMotion), “iBlast Moki” (Godzilab), “ilomilo” (MGS), “Implode XL” (IUGO), “Iquarium” (Infinite Dreams), “Jet Car Stunts” (True Axis), “Let’s Golf 2” (Gameloft), “Little Wheel” (One click dog), “Loondon” (Flip N Tale), “Max and the Magic Marker” (PressPlay), “Mini Squadron” (Supermono Limited), “More Brain Exercise” (Namco Bandai), “O.M.G.” (Arkedo), “Puzzle Quest 2” (Namco Bandai),  “Real Soccer 2” (Gameloft), “The Revenants” (Chaotic Moon), “Rise of Glory” (Revo Solutions), “Rocket Riot” (Codeglue), “Splinter Cell Conviction” (Gameloft), “Star Wars: Battle for Hoth” (THQ), “Star Wars: Cantina” (THQ), target=”_blank”>The Harvest” (MGS), “The Oregon Trail” (Gameloft), “Tower Bloxx NY” (Digital Chocolate), target=”_blank”>Twin Blades” (Press Start Studio), “UNO” (Gameloft), “Women’s Murder Club: Death in Scarlet” (i-Play), “Zombie Attack!” (IUGO), “Zombies!!!!” (Babaroga);

New Xbox LIVE titles will be added to the Marketplace (and Gameshub) over time, probably on a weekly basis. While I’m not an expert in Xbox gaming I would like to highlight a few games.

  • The Harvest, is the game that impressed me during the MIX 2010 keynote with Joe Belfiore. It is a 3D game in which you need to fight off an alien invasion;

  • Halo Waypoint is a Xbox 360 game from the famous Halo series, that becomes available for Windows Phone 7;

  • Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst, follows a similar strategy across screens. The very cool thing here is that this tower defence game is integrated with Bing Maps, so you can defend your own city, your own house, or the Seattle Space Needle. It really reminded me of ‘ConquAR’, a Risk-inspired strategy game in Layar’s Augmented Reality browser for Android and iPhone.

Overall conclusions and wrap-up

The announcements of today  provide deeper insights in one of the unique features of Windows Phone 7:   the Xbox LIVE integration and gaming experience.

“Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone 7 […] directly connects you to a global community of more than 25 million active Xbox LIVE members.”

Windows Phone 7 not only connects end-users to the Xbox community, but also to the Zune community which is the other distinctive service deeply integrated with Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft is in a unique position of strategic advantage, since it owns both the Xbox LIVE- and the Windows Phone 7 end (which should result in the best integration possible). Mobile gaming is a hot topic, given the recent rumors of a competitor on Engadget “Sony Ericsson to introduce Android 3.0 gaming platform and PSP Go-like smartphone“.

Honestly I’m not an expert in Xbox 360 gaming, nor do I have the Xbox 360 gaming console. If you combine the deep Xbox LIVE integration, high quality games like the Harvest, and Microsoft Kinect on the console end, I’m definitely curious to get my hands-on the Xbox 360 console.

What do you think about gaming on a  Windows Phone? Until now I only played relative simple games like SPB Quads … but will make the jump to these awesome games on Windows Phone 7.