If you were wondering when Microsoft was going to make good on its promise to tie Xbox with its new Windows Phone 7, your wondering can now cease.
At the gamescom 2010 conference today Microsoft will announce that it will be bringing more than 50 Xbox LIVE titles to Windows Phone 7 this year. Titles include Halo: Waypoint, Crackdown 2, Bejeweled LIVE, Guitar Hero 5, The Harvest, Brain Challenge, Age of Zombies, Asphalt 5, Assassins Creed, and a whole lot more, from publishers including Gameloft, Konami, Namco Bandai, PopCap, THQ, and more. The company has also managed to secure Windows Phone 7 versions of many popular indie titles, too, as you'll see in the list below.
As for what part of Xbox LIVE will be coming to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft plans to offer these unique mobile gaming experiences:
Avatars: Connect to your Xbox LIVE profile and Avatar, or create a new one if you don’t already have an Avatar or Xbox LIVE profile; take your 3-D Avatar and props with you on the phone with full closet access.
Friends: Bring your Xbox LIVE friends with you everywhere; compare Achievements, challenge rivals to your favorite game, and even see who’s online and what they’re doing on their consoles, PCs or phones.
Game access: Easily view and launch your full game library from a single location; find, try and buy new games either in the Marketplace or Games hub.
Achievements: Earn, view and track Achievements, view Xbox LIVE leaderboards and build your Gamerscore across Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 — every time you play an Xbox LIVE title.
Messaging: Communicate with all of your Xbox LIVE friends, any time you want, through Xbox LIVE messages.
Multiplayer: Invite, connect and play against friends on other Windows Phone 7 phones or the PC with turn-based (asynchronous) multiplayer gaming.
Spotlight: Access Xbox LIVE Spotlight feeds, including the latest game titles, breaking news from Xbox LIVE, game tips and tricks, and more.
It looks like Microsoft should have a decent roundup of launch titles. The company definitely needed a reason for customers to want a Windows Phone 7 device. Now they have great Exchange integration, the new Hub interface, and perfect syncing with their Windows machine. What's missing, though, is an app store with tons of apps. Now at least there will be more than 50 well-known games to choose from, and the ability to interact with your Xbox LIVE experience.
So, will users get excited about having Xbox on their phone? My guess is YES, especially those people that are addicted to their Xbox games. The question is more about whether or not there are enough differentiators for Microsoft to win over users of BlackBerry, iPhone or Android. Perhaps Microsoft should rename the phone to the Xbox phone, just for the holidays? I would bet that would definitely drive sales.
Do you think that there's enough coming in Windows Phone 7 to lure customers back to the Windows Mobile-ish platform?
By the way, if you're not convinced that there are a bunch of games coming, just take a look at the launch portfolio below: