New Xbox LIVE features, games on the way for Windows Phone

New Xbox LIVE features, games on the way for Windows Phone

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It’s a sweet day for mobile gamers. Today Microsoft previewed new Xbox LIVE titles and features coming to Windows Phone in the months ahead. The announcement came at the annual Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany.

We’ve already written about some of the changes on the way for the Games Hub in Mango, the next release of Windows Phone. But at Gamescom today members of the Xbox team outlined several other exciting capabilities coming this fall. Visit the Xbox press room for details. Meantime, here’s a quick recap:

  • Avatar Awardables: Like achievements—but wearable. Once unlocked, these items will automatically appear in your avatar closet and can be worn on your avatar’s sleeve as a badge of honor. “Chickens Can’t Fly,a forthcoming Xbox LIVE release, will be among the first titles to feature them.
  • Game Add-ons: In the Xbox LIVE title “Beards & Beaks," players can purchase extra mushrooms and other items from within the game using Microsoft Points. In the months ahead, keep your eyes out for more titles in Marketplace that let you buy in-game add-ons and downloadable content like extra weapons or levels.
  • Parental Controls: The next release of Windows Phone gives parents more control of what content their child can access on Windows Phone, including M-rated (Mature) games. The first M-rated Windows Phone title,Splinter Cell: Conviction,” is scheduled to arrive in the Marketplace later this fall.
  • Fast Async: A new Xbox LIVE service coming this fall that improves gameplay for multiplayer, turn-by-turn (or asynchronous) Windows Phone games.

Today the Xbox team also unveiled 14 great new Xbox LIVE titles coming to Windows Phone in the months ahead:

  • “Beards & Beaks: Cave Area” The turf war between gnomes and crows moves to the cave with 15 challenging new levels and where a new gnome ally and new enemies await.
  • “Bug Village” Build and nurture a colony of active ants and busy bees. Construct homes to attract playful bugs and direct them to the garden, where they can gather resources to expand your village. Small is beautiful in bug village.

Bug Village

  • “Burn the Rope” Burn as much rope as you can in this challenging puzzle game. The catch? Fire only burns upwards. So you’ll have to madly tilt and turn your phone to keep the flame alive.
  • “Chickens Can’t Fly” You’re a corporate scientist assigned to see what chickens are capable of, answering critical questions such as: Is there life after the butcher? Are chickens afraid of ghosts? Does frozen chicken get dizzy?

Chickens Can't Fly

  • “Collapse!” The blockbusting, color-matching excitement of “Collapse!” returns with award-winning gameplay, all-new customizable characters, and fantastic new foes.
  • “Gravity Guy” In a world where gravity laws were broken, a brave guy was held captive for defying the rules. Not happy, he decided to escape. Your job: guide him through a world of impossible mazes, flipping gravity at will.

Gravity Guy

  • “Fight Game Rivals” Become the king of kings among tournament fighters around the world. Enter different tournaments on distinct locations, earn credits and unlock devastating attacks and skills.
  • “Farm Frenzy 2” If you think the big city is crazy, wait until you get a load of country life. Manage a wild and wacky farm by growing grass, feeding chickens, collecting eggs and taking your produce to market.

Farm Frenzy 2

  • “IonballEX”  A modern twist on a classic Breakout-style game, all delivered in a unique steampunk style.
  • “Kinectimals Mobile” Play with, care for, and fall in love with your very own Kinectimal cub. The hit Xbox 360 game comes to Windows Phone.

Kinectimals Mobile

  • “Mush” This puzzle platformer (and Windows Phone exclusive) gives you control over how your character feels. Change their emotions by drawing smiles and sad faces, and by rotating or shaking the phone.
  • “Orbital” An addictive puzzle game that challenges you to destroy as many orbs as possible.


  • “TextTwist 2” From Game House, creators of “Bounce Out” and “Collapse!”, comes a more cerebral challenge: How many words can you form in two-and-a-half minutes with a handful of random letters? Figure out the combination with the most letters and move to the next level.
  • “Toy Soldiers Boot Camp” Wage war on a tiny scale with four fun and addictive shooting gallery mini-games from “Toy Soldiers: Cold War”.

So which games are you looking forward to playing most?

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  • Are there any plans to tie in the Xbox live messaging system and friends into the windows 7 messaging and people tiles?

  • Good news. but please let us buy games with MSP, not all of us can use credit cards so please MICROSOFT.

  • Benji W
    2 Posts

    Some of them looks nice, can´t wait. Kinectimals looks cute:) 6 months ago there were not that may great games for WP7, but now there are beginning to come some pretty interesting games out there. I like to play simple games, like angry birds, cut the robe and I found this new game called "Birds on a wire" the graphics and animations. Can´t wait for future games on the marketplace:).

  • Never mind.  I guess Microsoft hasn't quite figured out how to have the thing handle devices with maximum storage.  I just had my device way too full (though I still had 13GB available) for the backup to work past 48%.  I had to go in and delete all the music on my Focus to bring it down to 9GB used.  The backup worked fine and Beta 1 loaded fine.  Beta 2 is currently installing.  I'm sure I'll lose the unlocked status, though I see that some folks have figured out a convoluted way to get around that (I'm just not willing to go through all that).

  • @Strider_Auz, how did you solve the issue with the provision backup tanking part way through while trying to update to Beta 2 of Mango?  I get to 48% (+/- each time I've tried) then my Focus reboots.  The batch routine detects that my device disconnected.  Of course, the unit reboots in the provisioning mode (black screen with line-drawn images of device & computer).  I do a soft reset and the unit comes up normal.  I can't seem to get a complete backup to allow the routine to continue, and I'm just a tad concerned I may run into this same issue when the AT&T release comes out.  

    Focus 1.3, BTW.

  • frankete
    11 Posts

    Hi Michael! do you know something about wp7 Omnia 7 users in Spain with Telefonica, we are still in 7008 and dont have any reply from Telefonica, Microsoft , Samsung....

  • Are these games going to be "USA only" like Minesweeper & Sodoku???

  • @Entegy....isn't that funny?  The one platform that has, in fact, been hit several times now with malware has been ANDROID.  It is the least secure of the three platforms.  Anyway, I thought Scott Adams' blog was good.

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    @ ScubaDog2011 I think the name is part of it. People hear "Windows" and think two things 1)Oh no, this is like Windows on my computer where I get viruses. I don't want viruses on my phone.

    2)This is just another Windows Mobile. Yuck.

    So yeah, I think the name would turn off a good portion of people, even though it's just misconceptions.

  • Okay, so Scott Adams of Dilbert fame posted a blog entry on his comparison of WP7 Mango and and iPhone and Android EVO, declaring WP7 his favorite.  To be fair, he also included areas he felt were shortcomings.  One of those was the non-availability of "lesser-used" or "obscure" apps.  Another was the "hipster cred".  Huh.  Okay, I get the issue with obscure apps, because I'd contend that pretty much all the most popular apps are now represented and, I'd contend, even better ones are coming once Mango is deployed.  But the hipster cred?  Ya know, anything that claims to have "hipster status" started with just a few people.  So, not knowing any of the issues that most of us are complaining about, what would a potential new user be relying on to determine "hipster cred" for WP7?  Is it because it's called "Windows"?  Is that the initial turn off?  Clearly, Brandon Watson's approach to putting WP7 in the hands of certain people to try & review is paying off with some very positive results---while including mostly fair criticism.  But is it the name that's keeping the brakes on this?

  • IonBallEx is NOT available in Germany. Why is that?

    Is this going to happen more and more in the future? Is it on purpose? Or can u guys just not get the Marketplace to run probably?

    I'm starting to get really tired of being treated like a second class customer. So many features missing out of the box in Germany and now we only get every other App and Game.

  • Question for everyone here –especially the developers: Have any of you used and what do you think about the MS official app TouchDevelop?  

    Although I am an IT professional, I don’t really do any programming but I am very interested in learning to program for WP7.  I just downloaded this app and it seems to be useful for writing and testing small (and simple) apps for WP7 but I don’t think it gives you the capability of deploying a full-written app.

    It is my understanding that developers have to buy the tools and licensing from MS to fully develop and upload apps to the Marketplace.  Can any of you help me with the process?

  • westv555
    17 Posts

    Looking forward to seeing these games! The teaser video looks great

  • These games look pretty cool. Nice for gamers.

  • Sogeman
    51 Posts

    PS: if you should ever implement seperate prepaid cards for WP7 instead of using MSP, I'll jump ship...if I didin't already by then. If there aren't some major improvements with global availability, Gmail (I'm using the mobile site currently, it looks like crap, but is so much better than your implementation) and some other stuff, I'll go to Android.

  • Sogeman
    51 Posts

    @Strider_Auz Achievements are safe as long as you were online when you got it, but yes they need to save EVERYTHING to the cloud

    Not that I'll ever have an XBL game other than Flowerz. I'm not adding a CC to the account. There's a reason itunes is popular (regardless of iphone success). It's that you can buy prepaid cards and music...WORLDWIDE.

  • yueguy
    2 Posts

    Yes ah! Thank you for sharing! I recommend here!

  • Sheeds
    205 Posts

    Looks great Michael.

    Hoping that full game scores, achievement etc sync to the cloud is on the way - as it is a bitch to lose many of your scores etc when you have to do a hard-reset or update.

    :) Sheeds.

  • jawss
    3 Posts

    * oops only migration to these countries/regions: Russia, Poland, Brazil, Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic, South Africa, Colombia, and Chile*.

  • jawss
    3 Posts

    @silvercrux, there is a way to migrate accounts to the appropriate country i've tried the other migration which is from 1 live ID to another ( and it worked for me, all my games and purchases and achievements preserved so i imagine the changing country won't have any problems too.

    there is also paypal for some countries

  • Razor
    53 Posts

    Thom has it right, point 1 in particular. It's about time Microsoft made a killer app for WP7, game wise, and simply give it away. For more people that can demo it to their friends, the more interest in WP7 there will be.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    how many of them will be US only?

  • Neat - but we devs need the in ap purchase API released for us to use in our non-XBLA games for windows phone. This really sucks.

  • how do you play kinectianimals on a mobile?

  • cris178
    5 Posts

    what happened to all the other xbox exclusives like viva pinata or banjo kazooie instead you guys made kinectamals what gives?

  • i wish theyed have real world currency billing for aoe online as it costs too much for that amount of points

  • I am excited for Orbital, looks pretty fun

  • @martinschmidle -

    Whilst I am not disagreeing that MS should make it as easy as possible for people to buy content, they have to do so responsibly. Kids, for example, should not just be able to go blow as much cash as they like on any number of games, songs, etc.

    In the US, kids can go buy Visa/Amex gift cards and use those for online purchases if they wish. Parents can also give their kids a "reloadable" Visa Buxx card if they want.

    Along with the "add to my phone bill" feature that many carriers offer (e.g. AT&T here in the US), there are a fair few payment methods open to WinPhone users.

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    A critical feature I believe needs to be implemented is the ability to sync saved game data to the cloud. Being able to return to saved game states between phone hard resets, game re-installs or phone upgrades would be amazing. I've already been burned after encountering a bug and having to reset.

    Congrats on the rating system feature implementation though, will hopefully help provide even more game diversity in the Marketplace!

  • I'm looking forward to playing the FREE Games

  • nice to see more support for stuff like avatars better multiplayer api's & dlc but when are they going to replace the GL version of uno with the Carbonated Games/mgs version(with dlc)?

  • vincent_g
    19 Posts

    Great games line up there.. But I really hope that there is new encouraging exciting hardware line up too. And it should be released periodically, not on annual cycle, like now.. Please push your manufacturer hard, and if they don't want to give full support, please build your own.. Currently, I still hope that Nokia will be the savior..

  • w1ngnut
    25 Posts

    Great news, great titles, beautiful screenshots!

  • I agree with Silvercrux, offering credit cards *only* is one of the biggest failures of Microsoft so far. Why?

    Even kids can walk into electronic stores or, hell even grocery stores and buy iTunes cards! No credit cards needed. No bank account needed, nothing. Because of that the hurdle to PAY for something gets completely out of the way.

    Now I don't expect Microsoft to introduce something similar anytime soon, it's a rather big logistical effort. But adding PayPal would definitely help.

    Just think about it: More payment options -> more people paying -> more money for developers and Microsoft -> more growth -> more people paying -> more money for developers.... it's such a no brainer. Also, I remember telling people from the Windows Phone team about that issue 2 years ago...

  • Sogeman
    51 Posts

    So on the one hand, people without credit card can't buy apps/games and on the other hand, people without MSP can't buy DLC. Great work team. Let me buy games with MSP!

    And not paypal or any of that other crap. I don't want another account with money on it, I already have my Live id with enough points, let me use them.

  • This is great news. Looking forward to the games

  • which of the 4 bullet items listed at the top of this post will be available for non-XBox Live titles???

  • Thom
    31 Posts

    Great to have some expansion to the XBOX/WP7 platform.

    I'd like to suggest 2 improvements

    1) Give all WP7 uses a GOOD, visually superior, free game (or equivalent amount of points to let them choose). This would really help us show off our phones to our friends and demonstrate why XBOX Live is unique.

    2) Add a Gamertag field to the contacts (i.e. Windows Live Contacts)  that either a friend can expose or something we can add ourselves. This would make it a lot easier to add our friends to our Games hub.

  • This is great. But SAD for many of us. We can't buy apps, because Microsoft doesn't allow us to put in Indian Credit Cards (Master Card) into Zune which is a US Account. Now I can't change the Account because I would loose my addressbook and other data. We are screwed :(. Can you please add Paypal payment method in Zune Marketplace? This will end our problems completely.

  • Awesome new Michael , cant wait to share this with my readers on