Gaming: Lessons from the Apple Fall Music Event Pt. 2

Click here for Part 1


Games are by far the most popular apps on the IOS ecosystem, accounting the majority of paid applications on the platform. With that in mind, Steve jobs announced the official availability of of Game Center in the IOS 4.1 update. This will be a central hub for all things gaming.  It is a complete reaction to the upcoming Xbox live hub on Windows Phone 7 which is not only superior by the virtue of  Xbox Live being around and perfected for a few years, but also just look the graphic representation of the two hubs above, Xbox live wins hands down. The avatar customization on the Xbox gives the users an  deeper level of personalization that the IOS can only dream of.

During the Apple event, Mr. Jobs mentioned a statistic that Microsoft should take seriously. The iPod touch outsells the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP combined! I have been a strong advocate for a Zune HD 2 device here and here just to name a few. This is Microsoft’s chance to dominate the mobile gaming market if they can pull their act together and make it happen!

Other companies are also jockeying for positions with Sony rumored to be partnering up with Google to bring the PlayStation Network to their Android phones and the recent news of the departure of longtime Xbox live veteran Andre Vrignaud to Amazon. One rumor from blogger msftnerd, claims that Amazon is looking purchase the cloud based gaming platform Onlive which does make sense with his expertise after being on Xbox live for 8 years. I for one think Amazon’s strategy will mimic the Kindle with a platform agnostic platform.

No matter what happens, I think MS has an upper hand because of the ability not only to target the phone, but the Xbox console, PC, future tablets, slates and of course the Zune HD2. In a Pocket Gamer interview (a must read) Andreja Djokovic, CEO of Babaroga, a company involved with bringing games like Tiger Woods PGA tour 2009 to the Xbox, goes into detail to explain this advantage. Here are some choice quotes…

What opportunities does Windows Phone 7 have to offer?
Windows Phone 7 has many opportunities and advantages for us. Not only is it easy to develop for – with a very low ramp up time – but there is also the element of Live and Xbox 360 integration.The platform specifications read like something you would expect from a handheld gaming platform, and we’re excited for the chance to show what we can do with it.

Do you think Windows Phone 7’s emphasis on games will give it an advantage over other smartphones?
Absolutely. I think that this has the potential to put Windows Phone 7 ahead of the pack. With Windows Phone 7, the limiting factor in game design resides with the designer, and not the physical limitation of the platform. If you can dream it, you can do it…

I will not give it all away so please be sure to read the entire interview. It will give you a sense that truly what we have seen of WP7 so far is just the beginning!

I know that Microsoft maybe hesitant in bringing out a Zune HD2 sooner as this two great articles here and here try to explain but I think it will be a wasted opportunity if they don’t.  The advantages far outweigh any OEM concerns and it is in fact a plus for them because Zune HD2 users would naturally migrate to a WP7 device if and when they needed the 3G/4g capabilities offered by phones. When it comes to gaming Microsoft may just have what it takes and to quote Mac enthusiast John Gruber…

I’m also loath to write off Windows Phone 7. What if WP7 is a best-of-breed mobile gaming platform?


Game center image credit

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