When Window Phone 7 was first unveiled last month, Microsoft promised integration with its Xbox Live service, but was light on details. Today, this company announced a development tool for creating games for Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360, and Windows.
The next version of Microsoft’s smartphone operating system will be focused on consumers, and games will be an important part of this. And as this upcoming OS won’t offer support for current Windows Mobile apps, game developers are going to basically start from scratch.
A New Tool
XNA Game Studio has been widely used to create Xbox games. Version 4.0 will add hardware-accelerated 3D API’s for Windows Phone 7.
This will allow developers to create smartphone apps that pull down a user’s Xbox Gamertag and 2D Avatar, as well as unlock achievements. It will make it much easier for programmers to create cross-platform games that tie together, directly or indirectly.
For example, Microsoft recently demonstrated a simple game that the user could play on the Xbox, shut down their console, start up their Windows phone, and resume playing just where they left off. Another possibility is releasing mini games for smartphones that interact in some way with full console games.
An Important Caveat
Windows Phone 7 will have much more in common with the Xbox than Windows Mobile 6.5 does, but that doesn’t mean that Xbox games will automatically run on smartphones.
Developers will still have to port their apps from one platform to the other; Microsoft is just trying to make this easier.
More about Windows Phone 7
Despite its name, Microsoft’s next smartphone operating system has little in common with its predecessors. It will have a completely different user interface and, as mentioned earlier, won’t run applications written for the earlier versions nor will any current models be upgradeable.
Its focus has moved to consumers, and its UI emphasizes social networking, pictures, games, etc. It has also been redesigned to be controlled with a fingertip.
Just about the only significant similarity between old and new is that both include Microsoft Office Mobile and support for synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange.