Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

Summary: Microsoft execs talked up Windows Phone 7 at GigaOm's Mobilize conference and the theme is gamification: Redmond is betting the phone on Xbox Live integration. Will this strategy work?

SHARE:

Microsoft execs talked up Windows Phone 7 at GigaOm's Mobilize conference and the theme is gamification: Redmond is betting the phone on Xbox Live integration.

The big question: Does this focus take away from Microsoft's business bread and butter?

Matt Thompson, general manager of developer at platform evangelism at Microsoft, said the app store will be coming in weeks not months. And Microsoft demonstrated a game on a Windows Phone 7 device live. Thompson quipped that there should be a "round of applause because it worked."

Also see: Might Microsoft break its acquisition drought with a social gaming company?

The game plan for Windows Phone 7 is to make everything a game. Video games, social integrations, badges, virtual currency and other experiences all add up to the gamification theme that's everywhere in the Bay Area.  Will games be Microsoft's bread and butter? Thompson also said that Windows Phone 7's camera and pictures will allow you to put away your compact camera.

I gave a Samsung phone with Windows Phone 7 a quick spin and it seemed pretty slick. The tiles worked well and user interface worked well---but I needed more time. The rub: Games aren't going to bring me on board. And the number of apps matter, but I'm looking for business and news tools. So are many of our business tech savvy readers.

Microsoft's demonstrators keep saying that business is also a focus with Outlook integration, but corporate functions are often the passing mention. The conundrum for me---and I bet Microsoft going forward---is whether its gamification themes and messaging wind up pushing the Windows Mobile crowd further to Android, BlackBerry and iPhone devices.

Here's to hoping that Microsoft's app marketplace isn't all just fun and games.

More:

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

    WP7 is not all about gaming, that is just one part of an entire set of business and consumer features. Well, here is a Microsoft presentation video what details what integration will ship with WP7 this holiday and what will come in 2011. Blackberry and Symbian's (Nokia) decline has just started, it will only get worse and the iPhone (which has sales plateaus)and Android are in for stiff competition from WP7 as well on all fronts.

    Fast forward the video to 34:50minute of the video for WP7 enterprise roadmap; http://www.msteched.com/2010/NorthAmerica/WPH201

    Here is the summary from Windows Phone 7 Enterprise Roadmap video:

    At Launch (Fall 2010):
    Exchange Server
    SharePoint Server
    Windows Azure
    SQL Azure
    Microsoft Office
    Microsoft Online Services - Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)

    Later (2011+):
    System Center
    Office Communications Server
    Windows Server
    SQL Server

    This is the dream of IT managers, to be able to integrate mobile devices deep into the enterprise at different levels and especially at no additional cost because every user on a Windows network or cloud service needs nothing else to connect their mobile devices to their solutions. Blackberry only has BES for Exchange and requires expensive licenses and and BES training to implement while WP7 brings everything else with it at no extra cost or learning curve.
    I hope this enlightens you to know that WP7 is the least all about "gamification" but an all-rounder business, social, and entertainment OS.
    techiegz
    • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

      @techiegz@... Gee, that [i]sounds[/i] great, let's see what it looks like in real life.

      Don't forget while BES [i]"requires expensive licenses"[/i] it's also the best push-technology out there. Exchange ActiveSync isn't anywhere near it's league, and isn't a differentiator to the iPhone and Android, which have it as well. Does anyone know if Windows Phone 7 will support Direct Push or is that [b]another[/b] WinMo feature that WP7 doesn't support?
      matthew_maurice
      • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

        @matthew_maurice,
        The BES Express is free for up to 2000 phones and works even with a personal data plan. And it works very nice.
        dvm
    • Well said ...

      @techiegz@...
      P. Douglas
  • I'm sure it will not be all just fun and games.

    I'm sure you'll also have a fair assortment of fart apps to choose from (many of those apps are no fun, you can take my word for it.)<br><br>After all the fart apps get ported from the iPhone then Windows Phone 7 will be an irresistible proposition.

    Just make sure you buy them after the holiday season when the WP7 devices get thrown next to the kin in the bargains bin. You don't want to pay too much for a gadget that will soon be sold real cheap, now do you?
    OS Reload
    • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

      @OS Reload Now why would they port fart apps from the iPhone when there are already plenty of fart apps for WM that theoretically would be much easier to port?

      But sure, take a cheap pot shot at the fart apps in Apple's app store like there are NO other fart apps for any other mobile platform...
      athynz
  • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

    Yes games will set the WP7 apart from the rest. Xbox Live has quite the number of users and if they can get that on the phone they certainly will use it. But that is not all, games are just one of the many great features. The tiles, integration with other Microsoft products, and new innovative UI are just a few more factors that are going to make WP7 a must have phone. You had concerns about business tools, you need not worry. Since this is a Microsoft based phone the tools you long for will be easy to port over to it. Everything will be seamless between your phone and your business. I'm eagerly awaiting for this phone to get released.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

      @Loverock Davidson Oh yes, all the business execs are going to be sprinting to their phone carriers for the games...

      FLOP...my prediction stands...by February, make room in the Kin bin for Windows phone 7.
      cyberslammer
  • Games? No.

    The thing to me that sets it apart is the OS. WP7 isn't an iOS wanna be in the way it is designed. It is something new and fresh, sexy and exciting.
    Metro has changed the way we look at a traditional UI.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • I agree

      @Cylon Centurion 0005
      Grids of icons are not magical or revolutionary. Metro UI is.
      NonZealot
      • No it is not magical...

        ...or revolutionary.<br><br>It takes a man wearing a black turtleneck to make a UI magical (but not any man will do, mind you.)
        OS Reload
      • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

        @OS Reload

        In fact, it is. In the way that information is presented on screen, also in the way you interact with the device as well. Pick up a Zune HD sometime and start messing around with the UI and you'll see what I mean.

        Metro is indeed revolutionary.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

        @NonZealot That's why up until I upgraded my iPhone to iOS 4 I ran a GUI called iNav... no "grid of icons" there... Right now I'm waiting on the upcoming jailbreak for iOS 4.1 to rejailbreak and run iNav again.
        athynz
  • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

    I'm going to wait and see, thanks all the same. I've been using Windows Mobile 6 and 6.5 devices for several years now. I'm ready to retire the stylus, so this looks interesting. However, I've heard grandiose plans from Microsoft about other things that turned out to be utter failures (Vista - the Wow is Now! - anyone?). The Kin phones are a recent indication that half-baked is half-baked.

    It will be interesting to see the reception WP7 gets when we actually have a lot of real people using real devices.
    Den2010
  • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

    Why is Ballmer still heading Microsoft? It's obvious the man doesn't have a clue. They are so late to this party, I don't see the slightest chance of them pulling a rabbit out of their ass. Apple and Google aren't resting on their laurels either. Microsoft is locked into perpetual catch up. They are totally inept at innovating anything new and exciting, and they have an embarrassing clueless bafoon for a CEO.

    The only way I see Microsoft surviving is if they replace Monkey Boy with a real man who pocesses real corporate management skills and vision compatible with today's trends and technology. Ballmer snood have been ousted years ago. How could anyone in their right mind want to listen to anything this guy has to say or take anything he does seriously. Microsoft is doomed if they don't replace this idiot.
    gtdworak
    • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

      @gtdworak - and yet ... back in the real world ... in the 10 years Ballmer has presided over Microsoft, the company has grown from 30,000 to > 90,000 heads and turned in record revenues and profits every year except 2009.

      Sure, they dropped the ball with mobile and have taken longer than expected to turn it around, but I think you'll find that the one thing that Microsoft is VERY good at is long-term plays. Will WinPhone7 wipe out the iPhone? No. Of course not. But they'll keep on plugging with WinPhone8, 9, 10, etc., and will win hearts and minds just as they have with most of their other products.
      De-Void
      • RE: Will the gamification of Windows Phone 7 set it apart?

        @De-Void

        Uh, have you checked out Microsoft's stock chart? It has been flat as a pancake for the past 10 years. I wonder how satisfied their stock holders are. Ballmer should go.
        gtdworak