Fresh from E3: Xbox LIVE enhancements and new games for Windows Phone

I know all of the gamers out there have been eagerly following all of the news coming out of the E3 expo in Los Angeles [games and voice]. Of course, I am partial to Xbox news especially when it comes to new stuff for Windows Phone. With that, I am stoked to announce some new Xbox LIVE functionality coming in the release of Windows Phone code-named Mango, in addition to some awesome new game titles.

First off, soon you’ll find an update to the Xbox LIVE Extras app, this is the new Avatar Marketplace! Now, you have more options to customize your Avatar with a wide range of props and clothing right on your phone.

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Coming later this year in Mango is more native support of Xbox LIVE features in the Games Hub like:

· See your played games and unlocked/locked Achievements

· Compare Achievements with other Xbox LIVE members

· Search your list of friends to see who is online and what they are doing

· See your Xbox LIVE messages and Send/Accept/Reject friend requests

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But what would the kickoff of E3 be without some new games to announce? This new line-up of Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone will be available later this year; four of which will be available exclusive to Windows Phone! Here’s a snapshot of the games we will be previewing this week:

“Beards & Beaks” (Windows Phone exclusive!): Developed by the award-winning team at Microsoft Game Studios, “Beards & Beaks” is an all-out turf war between gnomes and crows that knows no bounds. A race of treasure heisting, a ballet of gnome flicking, and a natural disaster of very unbecoming behavior, this game is unlike any other!

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“Hasta La Muerte” (Windows Phone exclusive!): In this unique 2D world, you are the emissary of death responsible for freeing souls of those whose time has come. Encounter trials, bosses and enemies in more than 30 worlds with the aid of “soulpets” in this thrilling quest.

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Tentacles” (Windows Phone exclusive!): From Press Play, the creators of “Max & the Magic Marker,” this beautifully crafted game features Lemmy, a creepy yet adorable creature who navigates through 40 levels of madness attaching his tentacles to the environments with the tap of your finger. Enjoy groundbreaking, intuitive gameplay as you guide this eyeball-eating creature through boss fights and challenges and outrun Dr. Phluff’s acid attacks.

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“Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne)” (Windows Phone exclusive!): This is not a typo. It’s an epic 3-pack of musically charged shooters from Ska Studios which includes: “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES 1N IT!!!1,” “Time Viking,” and “ENDL3SS ZOMB1ES!!!1” – including original music and the ability to upload a friends (or foes) face onto your zombie enemies from your photo library!

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“Let’s Golf”: Gameloft presents a fun new way to golf with eight fun 3D characters with super powers, customized golfers, 108 holes across 6 locations, an in-depth Career mode, and new challenges like Shoot Out.

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“Splinter Cell”: In this game from Gameloft, play as Sam Fisher, a highly skilled Special Forces operative and fight a corrupted secret agency to get your daughter back. Follow a trail of intrigue that leads from Iraq to a high-security building in Washington. Run, jump, fight, and shoot using a handgun, shotgun, AK47 and bazooka, or maintain stealth by improvising with nearby objects.

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“Top Gun”: Defend the skies in the most authentic first person jet shooter game on Windows Phone, courtesy of Paramount. Become one of the few to survive the Highway to the Danger Zone! Shoot down enemy jets, dodge incoming air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, navigate dangerous environments and obliterate the enemy’s air power.

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Some great new titles coming soon to Windows Phone! I’ll be honest, I am looking forward to donning my black skin suit and night vision goggles for some Splinter Cell action on the bus. In the coming weeks, look for a deeper drill down into the Games Hub to see what’s new and hear from some of the folks behind the scenes responsible for creating it. In the meantime, happy E3 week!