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After four weeks with no new Xbox games for Windows Phone, we may have the actual cause

Last week, Windows Phone received no new Xbox game for the third week in a row. Our detailed editorial posited several theories to explain the prolonged release drought, and many readers chimed in with their own theories. This week marks the fourth consecutive dry week, and the sixth within the last two months. Microsoft has informed us there won’t be a new Xbox game or Deal of the Week once more.

Why another dry week, you ask? An Xbox game developer has come forward with information supporting one of our theories… And no, it isn’t the best news.

Recap

Shao-Lin's Road and Time Pilot MIA

First, a quick summary of the four possible reasons why new Xbox Windows Phone releases have been scarcer than a fully-clothed Rihanna sighting:

  1. Microsoft has decided not to allow Windows Phone 8-incompatible Xbox games to be released
  2. Microsoft is backing away from Xbox games on Windows Phone
  3. Third-party development is drying up
  4. Microsoft has totally forgotten about several games they could release right now (Time Pilot, Shao-Lin’s Road, and Loondon)

These causes are not mutually exclusive, and in fact it’s likely that at least three of them ring true.

The answer

Fable Coin Golf
Fable Coin Golf was the last major Microsoft franchise game released for Windows Phone, but doesn't work with WP8

Next, allow me to explain that our source (who must remain anonymous) has worked on several titles for a developer with a close relationship to Microsoft. This developer has successfully proposed Xbox-branded games for Windows Phone and then gone on to create them. Said dev’s experience might not represent the experience of other third-party developers, but given the facts we know, it seems very likely.

So, what does this developer feel is the root of the Xbox Windows Phone release drought? Possibility Number Two is the winner. Basically, the extent of Xbox-specific development is decided upon by Microsoft’s Business Development division. Unfortunately for gamers, that division is currently reevaluating its support of Xbox-branded games on Windows Phone. With their support in a limbo state, new Microsoft-published and/or funded games can’t be approved.

The above refers specifically to games that would have Microsoft’s name attached to them. It’s not likely that Business Development’s lack of support would cause all third-party developed and published games to be denied. However, like I explained last week: third party support will not continue to any great extent without specific will and funding from Microsoft.

Amazing Spider-Man
Gameloft's lineup of Windows Phone 8 games seems to have been planned before the hiatus.

Windows Phone remains a minority platform compared to iOS and Android. For relatively large developers who already make plenty of profits on competing smartphones, the profits from a Windows Phone game (combined with the cumbersome Xbox Live certification process) probably seem negligible. And even a small team might just decide that making a new iOS game will bring in more revenue than porting one of its existing titles. Much as I love Windows Phone (believe me, I do), these are the market realities for our up-and-coming mobile OS.

What attracts third-party devs then? Put simply, Microsoft must reach out and convince them to bring their games to Windows Phone. This often involves at least partially funding the game’s development, and possibly greenlighting projects for more established platforms like Xbox 360. That’s what has gotten us a great many of the Xbox Windows Phone games so far, and it’s necessary for the foreseeable future. But with Business Development apparently putting a hold on Xbox-specific Windows Phone spending, those development deals aren’t happening.

This news also means we’re that much farther away from getting games from major Microsoft-owned franchises created for Windows Phone. XBLA games that would be easy to port like A World of Keflings and especially the numerous Windows 8 tablet games that could be ported with very little effort: nobody is approving them and so they won’t happen.

Advantage: Nokia

The one silver lining we know of at present is Nokia's continued release of Xbox-branded games for their Lumia Phones. During the drought that many Windows Phone users have faced, Nokia released both Picnic Wars and iBomber Defense. Simultaneously, they've been steadily updating their existing exclusives, with the most recent update making eight out of the 10 existing exclusives fully Windows Phone 8 compatible. That means that the Xbox Windows Phone lineup looks 8-10 games better for Lumia owners. And these aren't just throwaway titles, either. All of Nokia's exclusives come from respected publishers Electronic Arts and Chillingo, and we've reviewed most of them favorably so far. Big-name franchises like Madden, FIFA, and Dead Space are still on the way - we'll have news straight from Nokia's mouth in the weeks ahead!

It's fair to say that while Microsoft might have dropped the ball with Xbox game support for its own mobile OS, Nokia doesn't mind picking up the slack. Nokia can't actually sustain the platform on their own; as far as we know, they only have 10 more exclusive Xbox games on the way this year. To thrive, Windows Phone needs somewhere in the neighborhood of 52 new releases: an average of one per week... And of course, many of those must be popular and/or completely exclusive titles that will appeal to avid gamers. Besides, Windows Phone doesn't consist solely of Nokia phones, so these exclusives haven't benefitted non-Lumia owners just yet.  That said, the Nokia Electronic Arts games are widely believed to be timed exclusives, so HTC and Samsung owners could just end up gaining new games to play before too long.

Other side of the story

Skulls of the Shogun
Skulls of the Shogun for Windows Phone

Naturally we asked Microsoft for comment on the release drought, but they haven’t come forward with an official explanation just yet. Although I have absolute faith in my source, I would be highly surprised to see an actual confirmation of this story from Microsoft themselves. The explanation carries such negative connotations that they wouldn’t gain much by openly stating it. They also love their secrecy. Still, we’ll continue to press for official word as long as we can.

Finally, while six weeks in the last two months without a new Xbox Windows Phone release looks about as good as modern day Val Kilmer and Laurence Fishburne wearing Speedos, Windows Phone isn’t the only Microsoft platform undergoing a release drought. Xbox Live Arcade actually hasn’t had a release for two weeks in a row – a fairly unprecedented span of time. That dry spell ends with next week’s XBLA release of The Cave, but Windows Phone probably won’t see a new Xbox game until Skulls of the Shogun arrives on January 30th.

In the meantime, let Microsoft know that you want more Xbox Windows Phone games, including major franchises! You can make your voice heard by voting for this suggestion at User Voice, commenting in this Xbox forums thread, and by tweeting @Xbox, @XboxSupport, @WindowsPhone, and any other public faces at Microsoft.

Header image courtesy of Wolfe's Lair.

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After four weeks with no new Xbox games for Windows Phone, we may have the actual cause

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I'm actually thinking about removing the Xbox tile off my home screen. I'm tired of people asking me what it does, and having to respond, "nothing".

Nothing? The tile its self lets you communicate with friends on live, view and edit your avatar, view friends activity etc. That's what I would be saying the tile does..

I'm being sarcastic. The whole situation is sour though. Besides the Xbox, everything in their modern era, Microsoft has put half a foot in. If they are bailing this easy on Xbox Windows games, I'm done. I have loved my Surface and Windows Phone but the lack of direction is getting ridiculous. They spend more time pushing stuff out on other ecosystems than I can tell you, while we sit and wonder why we didn't just stay on the other side of the fence.
This is like the poor neighborhood kid who's a-hole father throws the ball with the rest of the neighborhood and tells you he will get around to playing with you later.

Is that a serious thing people want to do?  View friends activity and edit their avatar?  Possibly the only thing I can think of that is worse than nothing.  

Honestly though, I think most of us at this site, have faith in their products than all of their lead positions combined x10000.

I see his point. "nothing" is obviously not the factual response, albeit a sarcastic one. It describes his feeling along with many others. In all honesty the reason I moved to wp was due to live titles on the phone. That being said if there are few live games that only leaves the slick OS for me. I love the OS, but I can be just as happy elsewhere and have games. MS is failing at the support and how the divisions within compete with each other does not bode well for our beloved OS. If this does not look up, improve, just the elegant OS only takes me so far. The last thing i want to do is leave wp, but this is a deal breaker for me. I am staying positive and there is time before I decide on my next device.

Yeah ur right....Its true games are not everything but for me at least, i bought Nokia 920 and happy with its Chipset, CPU and GPU and i was so interseted in testing the games i play on my iPhone 4 ( since iphone4 isnt strong for the new games) but sadly im not finding good games to really test them and i was hoping for MS to relase Halo in WP or something like that! i just hope MS+Nokia make efferts in making good games and apps for the OS 

You summed it up in better words. Thank you. But for crying out loud. Everything was headed in a positive direction. Then first they killed the best thing working for them... Zune. Why? Because 11 year olds made fun of its name. Even though almost everyone that used it and gave it an HONEST effort, would tell you it ran circles around iTunes. So now as a result of the train wreck known as Xbox Music and Video, I have to look for third party apps to save this mess. Thank God for Music Info. I am now left holding onto the promise of what eXPlay could become in the next update to completely fix the media portion of this all. But I then am still looking at the mess left by Xbox Games on the mobile side of it all.

I understood what you meant as I felt the same way. :)  I still remember the early WP commercials a couple years ago and the Xbox Live games advertised.  I was swayed the moment I watched the commercial.  I fell in love with the OS afterwards.  Like you mentioned the Zune fiasco and the Live titles have made me a tad bitter, a scorned lover.  :) 

If they are backing away from game deveolopment for WP8, I wonder if it has anything to do with needing more resources allocated to the work being done ahead of the rumored release of the next Xbox. 

They should really be focusing on gaming. MS has such a lead in gaming, they should make WP8 the phone every X-Box owner wants. Spend some of that money from those stupid commercials and pay your developers to get quality games on X-Box. 

Exactly.  With the Millions of Xbox 360's in households already why wouldn't they target the audience and fanbase they already own?!  It appears logical.  "Great Science!"

Working on cross-platform games and integration for Windows Phone and the Xbox 360 and iits successor are part of that, though. The Xbox is THE premiere gaming console in America, and Xbox LIVE is the premiere online gaming service for consoles as well. They need to leverage that for Windows Phone gaming to truly thrive. I'm guessing the funding would be a drop in the bucket if they had all of the XBLA indie developers port their games to Windows Phone on Microsoft's dime. That would pump HUNDREDS of games into the platform by the end of the years, I'd bet.
 
There are just too many OBVIOUS ways for Microsoft to make Windows Phone gaming dominate the smartphone news for this year, but they're choosing to do so by doing nothing and making all of the news bad news. All they have to say is "we're working on a plan" to at least SOMEWHAT quell to doubters, but their chosen silence might be the worst thing of all--the only time you choose to be silent during bad news is when reality is worse, and that's possibly the case here.
 
I love Microsoft's products, don't get me wrong. I have had an Xbox, Xbox 360 (3 of them, actually), a Zune 30, a Zune HD 32, a Windows 7 PC upgraded to Windows 8, and have a Lumia 920. I've convinced MANY people to join me on Xbox, Xbox LIVE, and with the Zune. My sister got a Lumia 822 because of me. I have the purchase history of a fanboy, basically, and it's because they've provided me with many quality products that I enjoy, not because I believe in the benevolence of Redmond or something.
 
However, this news is so bad that I cannot even begin to figure out if it affects me. I've found plenty of games to pass the time with my phone already (more than I found on Android in 2 years), but the very thought that Microsoft is letting political garbage within its company threaten the platform this quickly is just pathetic.

The whole xbl arcade indie developers coming over to WP is really not as easy as you would think. For anyone who has tried to obtain XBL status on Windows Phone would know how nearly impossible it actually is. I know a stack of other developers with great games and you essentially have no chance of ever getting live status.

yup. Microsoft are baffling at times. The obvious is just that, obvious. I'd love to get in there and kick some butt.
WP8, custom tones for email/sms please. Notification centre please. Proper Skype integration, Xbox live messaging always on please. More sophistiation in profiles please. An LED please.
Super slick syncing of media across all devices via Skydrive please.
Surface, a more functional email client please. A metro verion of Office, and drop desktop please. Metro Skydrive for RT with selectable folder sync please.
Outlook.com sort the calendar out.
So so many "obvious" things to do, but they keep missing. They've done ok of late, but never quite fnisih anything properly. Frustraing company to deal with.
 
 

Obviously MSFT doesn't put much efforts into development of windows phone any way. After nearly 2 months of release, they didn't even update their weather app......

It's more the "Microsoft game" all employees must be playing. This sometimes has the described effect.

I agree.  Seems like a typical one division pitted against another division.  I was hoping with Sinofsky out, that this kind of petty in-fighting would have come to an end but apparently not yet.

Considering the platform has been out 3-4 months (WP8, not 7) it's safe to say I don't think it's worth jumping on a doom and gloom bandwagon just yet. With WP8 sales being higher than most expected, and marketplace revenue increasing they're sure to see support in the future - albeit possibly cautious. Not to mention I have an incredibly strong hunch that we'll see some kind of tie between downloadable W8 games and NextXbox games being incredibly easy to port - I'm thinking the XBLA style games. Which will probably carry over to WP8.

yeah its always the next thing that will make this all worth while...tell you what if thats the case they lost me. feel sorry for nokia, at least they are trying

Sorry but I don't know what you expect from a third place operating system released 3 months ago. These things take time. I constantly see WP8 ads on tele, and plastered over billboards etc. They're supporting this thing heavily unlike WP7. It just makes logical sense when they're pushing W8 too. The NextXbox will follow similar branding and Microsoft will have an aim to push the ecosystem as a whole. Maybe it's just working in marketing that gives me this perspective, but it doesn't take a genius to see they're not giving up. Doom and gloom is pointless.

That's a matter of opinion, that they're supporting the platform. They might be pouring money into advertising, but that's a "lipstick on a pig," matter right now. They should be pouring money into having XBLA developers port games ASAP, and quality ones at that. Get Mojang working on a Minecraft port. Have SEGA porting all of its Sonic-based stuff. Get Hexic, Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, Geometry Wars, Trials, and the like over to the WP platform.

Yes, Windows Phone 8 has only been out 3 months. However, Windows Phone 7 has been out for more than 2 years. You can say "this time, it's different" all you want, but it has to be proven for it to be true. They should see things like a lack of developer support as the obvious causes for Windows Phone 7's shortcomings, so even if THIS version of WP is only 3 months old, they have 2 years and 3 months of results to see what caused WP7 to fail.

I love the platform, but the "it's new" excuse doesn't work just because the kernel's differen.t They should have seen the app issues from 2010-2012 with WP7 and adjusted by giving devs the tools to make WP8 games much earlier so the platform could tout loads of new games, and they should have had loads of money ready to throw at those devs to get them moving.

Mojang refused Microsoft's offer to help bring Minecraft to Win 8, so I don't even see a remote possibility the game will be coming to WP. (From Mojang's comments, I'm not sure they even understand the difference between Windows 8 and RT.)

Relax guys. MS is in this for the long run. Games will come. I am assuming they are restructuring the Xbox backend so all games have some sort of cloud functionality.

I personally believe they are working on "bundles" for buying the game or app and getting copy on Xbox, WP and Windows 8. This is a must that, if not coming in the next 6 months, might make me go fully Apple from being fully Microsoft at this point.

Exactly what snarky said and Skulls of the Shogan is hardly a cheap game. Universal games on iOS I believe are slightly more expensive than just a stand alone iPhone version but still relatively cheap. In this case however, if you want the same privilege of playing the game on your phone and tablet, you're paying out over $20.

That was my thought as well. Also, Engadget just reported ms allowing account porting between countries. Seems more likely that they are holding off releases to allow for testing of the larger system.

They look to be supporting Windows 8 for PC and tablets....but where is WP?  They have a contact link on the site for questions or suggestions.  I had one.

Microsoft supporting Android and iOs but not Windows Phone? They continue to dig their own grave and ensure the failure of the Windows Phone platform.

Surprising news, considering they just released their first Xbox Live game on a different platform (Wordament on iOS). Would suck if that platform will have more XBL games coming up than us.

With all the rumours surrounding a new Xbox, I'm hardly surprised that Xbox Arcade may dry up a little. I don't know how long it takes to develop a game, but anyone planning one now must be aware things may change mid year.

But they have still yet to release games that they announced last E3 such and Pinball FX2 and Ms. 'Splosionman.

So much potential being wasted by MS. Hopefully if Skulls does well on WP, they may put a greater effort in.

Screw you Microsoft. If you can't figure out that you need to be on one front with each of your product and serivce offerings, then you're going down the drain. This is one knot, and while it may be the smallest it is a sure sign of how each of your business divisions prefers to think - and it ain't about the company, or some of its main stakeholders (i.e. the consumer). It starts with Windows Phone, then it's Outlook.com, and then Windows itself, and soon enough Office and pretty much what's left after - i.e. Xbox. It's a slippery slope. Either your highest management starts issuing some pink slips, or I am going to take your own cue and leave a Microsoft platform whenever possible...because that's exactly what you're doing.

 

Ha! No offense but that made me chuckle. I'd happily take an iPhone or an Android over a Blackberry if WP didn't exist to quench my smartphone thirst.

I thought that until I watched the Blackberry 10 video this week. It actually looks pretty nice. More feature rich and sophisticated that WP8 already - which is saddening.

It makes absolutely zero sense that MS would be ending support of XBOX branded games on WP. It completely goes against their 3-screen idea. Taking XBOX games off of WP is the complete opposite of what MS should do and what I believe they will do. Its actually quite unbelievable that any of you would, well, believe that. Their ecosystem is second-to-none right now. Why would the eff that up?

You're assuming all three screens are as important as each other in Microsofts view, but actually the pc and xbox take up about 95% of what microsoft care about I'm afraid, just like its competitors microsoft will go where the users go and right now the windows phone sales are microscopic compared to these other two.

Microsoft also appears to be punting all three screens. Windows 8 sales are suspect at this point, Windows RT is obviously a dud, and Windows Phone 8 is showing some hopeful signs, but not setting the world alight. 

Eh? Surface has sold millions, how can you call it a dud? RT is really good, I use it everyday.
Windows 8 has sold 60 million copies. Yes I know people will say thats to OEMs, but MS don't care, thats money in the bank and still a massive number.
I don't think you are reading the numbers right. Outside of angry Android user land I've seen lots of people interesting in Windows 8, if nothing else because its the new Windows. Its part of people refresh lifecycle of their old tired desktop/laptop. Actually people like Windows and familiarity is important to many consumers. I've seen Chris Pirillos video outside an Apple shop, and people said they would buy the Microsoft tablet if it had Excel on it. See how the world works?
I know even me, as a progressive techie have taken a while adjusting to using Metro apps. But I use the touch mail, touch calendar and touch people more and more and the desktop less. If MS make Metro Office and get file manage with the cloud right I can drop Desktop mode all together. Its really fluid to use once you get to grips with it. Anyway... food for though.

I love MS products but RT is a dud and is on its way to the graveyard. The lack of x86 compatibility really hurts the Surface, the desktop is rather useless, and the Windows Store just doesn't have the apps-yet. The Surface should have had an x86 processor, but MSFT decided to waste their time dicking around with ARM. Surface 2, with something like an Intel Atom/or an AMD processor (unlikely) would allow them to sell the device for what it was really intended to do, be your one stop solution for mobile computing.

I agree. Also consider that Microsoft was quoted as promising the top 47 of 50 most popular apps for WP8. Considering sales for handsets are decent, if going by Nokia, why would they renege on that promise? I believe Microsoft is in the game for the long haul. Nokia wouldn't have bet the farm on WP8 if they suspected Microsoft would shoot an arrow in the knee of their own games division. Nokia has several games, including Dead Space that are yet to be released. Better believe they will be Xbox enabled... Cutting Xbox game support is seen as a weakness and concedes defeat to android and IOS. Why consider cutting Xbox games 3 months out? Intuitively it shouldn't make sense to anyone on these forums considering Xbox integration is a key feature for the platform. What I consider far more likely is that Microsoft is changing the requirements, certifications and head ache of making a game Xbox enabled. Why would any developer want to put in the extra work if it costs more money than its worth? If the process of getting a game on the marketplace with achievements and Xbox enabled was streamlined and hassle free we would have more developers signing up. Microsoft doesn't need to bribe developers to make games for the platform if its easy to do. Think Steam and green light. Perhaps that's the direction games on WP8 are headed.

Hopefully this is just a leadup to the next xbox and hopefully truly unifying the games on them (assuming the next xbox runs a variant of windows 8).
You can really tell xbox is really not behind windows 8 or windows phone 8.  No major franchises on either platform and its their biggest potential strength to get both platforms off the ground.  

these stories are making me sad.... msft photosynth and skype are either nonexistent or bad beta's. nokia drive is a beta. three months in and the company that makes the platform cant put out a complete app. smartglass is cool but is hobbled with its need to reconnect every freaking time i use the app, and half the smartglass content wont work on my new wp8 device.  Also No halo; forza; or any real games for that matter. Lets not mention kinect integration( as was promised two years ago). I guess msft has given up on its own platform. Geezi wish i stuck with android, i left at gingerbread bc it sucked, but its gotten way better imo. I am all in the msft ecosystem and i regret it so much. oh well too late to change now i guess. but to msft i say you suck and i hope you lose the ecosystem wars, which it looks like your doing. keep up the bad work msft.

Not to late to change, lol all you need for an android ecosystem is a phone and a $200 tablet like most people do haha. Most people in an Droid eco have a phone, tablet and windows 7 desktop. Not much different if you ask me.

Because a few too many executives at Microsoft are unable to envision a CV where they're part of a unified front leading a wave in the mobile, PC and living room. As I said earlier, whoever's God damn retarded idea it was to screw Windows Phone, I want them out of the company, with immediate effect. This is absolutely NOT the way to fight in a war going mobile, but clearly Microsoft has a few too many anchors holding it back.

Be Smart, MSFT
If you miss this chance to enter back to the mobile market, you will never success again.

Considering the amount of time/effort XBL games seem to take for the WP platform, I'm quite fine without new titles coming. I'd rather have the devs give us titles that don't necessarily have to go through an insane certification process even if I don't get Xbox achievements that way. I seem to recall that Farm Frenzy released a second game, but didn't go through XBL for it because of the pain involved.
That said, I don't think MS is likely to kill the experience altogether. It's a pretty decent part of the WP experience.

i'd expect very little until xbox720 is announced. We all expect that to run on the Win8 kernel and run WinRT to some degree making code-sharing pretty much automatic, especially if 720 supports the tablet/touch as leaked docs suggest.
 
Noone is going to port/fund an XBLA/XNA game in 2013 with WP8 shipping (and doing well), wp7.x dead and xbox720 being announced in weeks.

This. XBLA new releases is pretty barren too if people haven't noticed. Expect to see things amp up closer to the 720. I believe porting between the 3 platforms will be made fairly simple too.

As I put it this summer, Wait for Mango, wait for Tango, wait for the Lumia 900, wait for Rolling Thunder to kick in, wait for WP8, wait for hell to freeze over. 
 
Now it's, wait for XBox 720. Sheesh. 

good for you. In the meantime Windows Phone 8 customers - FINALLY NEW CUSTOMERS 4X at least - have many, many great games to catch up and buy and play. It costs $$$$ to release and properly market/push a new game. So post WP8 launch would be an obvious LULL in games. XBOX720 is just a small piece.
Also the whiners fail to recognize Angry Birds Space shipped week #1 on WP8 and is out on WP7 now. XBLA would have delayed that months.
All in all the gaming support in WP is more than adequate and VERY VERY GOOD. If you want the best/newest games then get an cheap android tablet.
MS does stupid stuff daily but this is a sensible and expected strategy.

cool, thanks. please read my other post about people blindly jsutifying their purchase by defending their platform choice. 

noone in their right mind bought WP7 or WP8 for xbox games or music. Maybe in late 2013 or 2014 but not now.

Launch is actually the time to release a sizable number of games (at least 10 but 20 is better). The fact that they only had two games at launch is worrying. If you really think 6 weeks of no Xbox WP releases is very very good, I imagine that a game a week would just blow your mind. ;)

I'm fairly sure this is just a result of the "Microsoft game" all employees need to play if they want to stay an employee. The rules are that you perform at all costs. If this means to work against other teams in Microsoft so be it.

I think a new Xbox platform might also be the cause. They will probably release a new Xbox console this year which means gaming support for this cycle will dry up.
 
But sadly I think Xbox is going to start hitting iOS with games instead of WP7 soon.

I agree with Jagowar. The whole point behind the next xbox is to have gaming support across xbox, windows 8 and windows phone for a better gaming experience. I can't imagine them stopping this. The dry spell must be to do with actually trying to figure out the best way to go about their grand vision. When the new xbox comes out, I'm expecting to see floods of actual xbox games being ported.

Not stopping. Read carefully how we word it "...that division is currently reevaluating its support of Xbox-branded games on Windows Phone"

revaluate could mean a few things. Hmm. End support of live titles altogether or open it up for all OS's. The one I would like to read is to change certification process so it is easier to get the Xbox brand on titles.

I don't believe this. Me thinks they are doing some updates on the back end that will allow more WP functionality. Only in today's news I read that MSFT removed international barriers to XBox Live account migration (Engadget).

This is ridiculous they are just shooting themselves In the foot right now by not releasing more games. Tons of people are picking up a Windows phone for the first time with 8 and they will wonder why they bought an 8 when they could've just used a 7 for free. Get your shit together Microsoft.

Really Microsoft? Xbox is probably your strongest brand, windows phone needs to have great games to really sway people over. Bring all the Gameloft games immediately and work on games like halo and gears of war, not only will it make me very happy but it will also bring more people to the platform. 

Title says "actual cause". Article contains only guesses by one developer and the author.
 
I thought Wpcentral is better than this.

You should read a little closer. The title says 'maybe,' and the information from the developer isn't a guess - it's factual information that they have been told. If you think not reporting information like this would make us better, you must not like knowing what's going on behind the scenes.

No you should write a little better. You quoted four "possible" reasons. They are not "actual" are they?
 
Reason #2 doesn't make sense at all in the way it is stated.That statement is missing key context, the kind of writing I was hoping to avoid in wpcentral. Sorry, this article is poorly written.

Again, you're taking a small prt of the article out of context. The 4 possible reasons are from last week's article, and I reiterated them in this one. In the next section I went on to explain the single, concrete reason we know of right now.

If you want to compare your writing pedigree to mine, I'd love to see it. Keep practicing at that reading now. :P

MS can easily retain the Xbox Phone certification for in-house titles, be it casual or premium (e.g. true Halo and Forza games). MS can even jazz such games up with solid multi-player, special features, etc. Everyone else, including tier-1 3rd party developers such as Gameloft could make due without it, and it is going to be to their benefit, i.e. streamlined and straightforward. But for some reason they have people in charge who are absolutely blind and lack creative foresight, God, they fully deserve chastising in front of peers.
 
I just can't believe it. Here we have Microsoft sitting on gold, enough to strongly do away with the chicken-egg scenario of apps and users on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT, yet nothing. It's the way their each of their business divisions seem to think they can decide the fate of each platform, I'm sorry, they shouldn't have that right. That right belongs to a strategic thinker, someone in Microsoft who is above each of these divisions and capable of ensuring that each stream is on the same page towards a common goal. Hello, CEO?
 
I'm genuinely sorry for fuming, but look, I spent hundreds of dollars investing in this platform and willing to spend much more to invest in the Microsoft eco-system. I love what's happening (in general), and can see the amazing potential in each product line, be it Surface, Windows Phone, Xbox - you name it. All I ask is for that potential to be pursued honestly, and not attacked by cheap miscalculations (putting it lightly here) on the part of individuals or small groups.
 
Honestly, I wonder if Steve Jobs would have tolerated such behaviour. If your company has in its hand a key element for tomorrow's industry, it's incredibly unlikely you'd let other parts of the body stab one another - it just hurts the body.
 
 

The interesting question is, can MSFT ever be united again? The company was once close to completely engulf the computer market. Google is walking freely out there so far while there is a wall around and inside MSFT. Would be interesting to hear what reporters could dig out of that possibility. Ballmer is doing a great John at the max of what MSFT can do. This last thing is what I believe, bit don't know for any fact at all.

I agree, the CEO isn't leading the company in a unified direction, and this has been going on for years now.

I love Windows phone but this is getting stupid. Where is Temple Run that was said was coming. Hell IOS is getting temple run 2 before we even get the first. This isnt about just Xbox branded games.

Nokia keeps getting the exclusive games.. Not everyone has a Nokia Windows phone. Like my self.. Stop the exclusives and let all Windows Phone owners het their hands on new games..

The story just stated that Microsoft isnt paying for Xbox live games for WP, so Nokia alone should finance Xbox live games for all of WP?

Of course! Of course!!!!! It would have to be the worst of the possibilities...sometimes Microsoft's decisions astound me...like they want to fail.

There's no one Microsoft, there's like 6 of them, each out of their own tail. No strategic foresight, or rather, a clear lack of will to enforce strategic vision.

But WP and Xbox are part of the same division! Now If that division consist of teams that don't support each other - well that is just horrid. And in that case it's not the CEO who's to be blamed here, but the head of Entertainment and Devices Division.

I think all the Xbox titles are being released by Nokia. Within the last month I believe 3 Xbox titles were released by Nokia. Picnic Wars and SPY Mouse are two i can think of off the top of my head. I'm not 100% of their release date, but I'm pretty sure its within the last 4 weeks.

I was just about to comment the same thing. I think we just need to be patient here. MS aren't stupid enough to let the gaming aspect if wp go as its what drives consumers to ios and android platforms. Most people i know with those devices are mainly stoked about the gr8 games on the platform rather than the other apps. I think MS is working to provide a unified gaming ecosystem and the next xbox is the final piece, so multiplayer can be across Win8, Xbx and WP. Imagine an mmorpg across the Xbox platform. I personally am not worried. Hi, i was a palm pre owner, i have the patience of a saint.

I voted at User Voice and commented on this Xbox forums thread. Hope it helps!
I'm more than a little annoyed with this news. Hopefully it's just a hickup and MS getts their head back in the game soon! 

Their market strategy is bizarre sometimes. You have all these incredible products and brands ( Xbox, Windows, Surface, internet Explorer, Windows Phone, Bing...) and it seems like the effort and advertising is coming from completely different sources. Someone needs to unify these assets and just destroy the competition. Because really, there isn't any competition, other than Microsoft competing with itself. They need a single focus. Bring back Bill Gates.

I'm a bit miffed overall with how Xbox live WP games have been handled. I hated my android and decided to give WP a chance due mostly to it having Xbox live support. In the 1.5 years I've had my WP handset, I've been willing to toss my $$ to over 30 Xbox titles...now they are saying they don't want my money? Its not enough for me to migrate to another handset, but it is a big letdown for sure.

Committee style management...
"Please wait we are deciding..."
I am starting to think that a Stalinist style purge is the cure for MS WP operations...

Xperia ZL? I'm sure many will be saying, "why not?" You at least get Google's services, you're probably next in line for that new iOS app, and you're getting great hardware with decent OEM (Sony) support and exclusives. I might go for it as my next phone, unless of course, BlackBerry 10 impresses and surges through..

Exactly, they lack firm strategic vision and enforcement. Separate divisions aren't always a bad thing when you have many different products and services. You need to be quick and efficient, and allowing a division to pursue projects on their own without having to go all the way to the top is great. It starts to suck when one division can't account for the success of the general company, either by assuming that the company's interest rests on their division's interests (as opposed to the other way around), or petty competition.
 
It isn't an issue of Gates, no, it's the fact that their highest echelons are not tying their different products and services into a cohesive front. I'm sure there are a gazillion reasons for this, but each one of them is a nail in Microsoft's coffin (or bullet hole in its body, depending on how you see it).

Interesting read, thanks Paul.  Definitely not surprising to hear.  
 
Unfortunately I'm not quite as optomistic as a lot of the commenters.  

This is what happens when you have a corporate structure where each sub-unit in the organization is almost completely independent of the other. no cohesion no working together no nothing. This is what killed Sony. This is why we're seeing the 'Bing Team' with friendly relations with Facebook but the 'Windows Phone' team has no relation what so ever (no facebook apps). This is why Skype for iPhone and Android are superb in functionality while it laughable on WP8. If these people start working together where each can benefit from the other I don't think we'd be seeing this happen with WP8.
 
I mean what's could possibly be more idiotic than Microsoft not supporting its own platform?

I don't know...one divsion in Microsoft working to kill a fellow MSFT, and at the same time, build up iOS/Android?

 

Because they're each working for their own benefit. The short term benefit is obviously developing for iOS and Android. They're doing that and ignoring their own platform.

I did forget that Skulls of the Shogun is coming in the next week or two (forgot the date already sorry). I'm assuming that will be the next Live branded release...

I understand that you guys trust your source but getting rid of Xbox branded games would be a fu**ing insane move, it would destroy all the branding work they've done recently.

I want to make mention of another possible reason why there is a bit of a drought on WP8 for Xbox Live titles. Let's not forget that there has been a new gen Xbox in the works, it could possibly be that they are working on getting new games on that will release the same time, and/or they are just waiting to get enough games to publish at the same time to flourish the count of titles in the marketplace. Who really knows? But this would be a few other good explanations.

Even if we accept that the Xbox division is distinct and accountable only to itself for these kinds of decisions, and further accept the profit sense of withholding support for Xbox Live development on WP8, this move makes absolutely no strategic sense. The future of Xbox as Microsoft's consumer entertainment ecosystem will depend heavily on marketing the brand as such.
 
Right now, Xbox means gaming. Microsoft wants it to mean gaming, music, movies, etc...a one stop shop for all personal multimedia entertainment. But the value of Xbox as an entertainment consumption brand must must extend beyond expensive games played on an expensive unitasking piece of hardware with an expensive subscription service.
 
Its future lies with cross-platform availability, digital ubiquity. It is for that reason that Xbox NEEDS Windows Phone (and Windows 8/RT) as much as each needs Xbox. You aren't going to see Apple or Google marketting the availability of Xbox games, music, or videos on iOS or Android.

I have mixed feelings about this. As a developer working on a game, i think that the Xbox "status" in Windows Phone games has the psychological side effect for the average consumer to disregard the non Xbox games. I understand that Xbox achievements are important to a lot of people. But if you think that a lot of indie developers can't get the Xbox status easily, it may actually detract them from developing for the platform, because their games won't get the same attention in the Store. In Apple Store and Android Play, as far as i know, every game gets the same "status", it seems fair to the developers. 

I can tell you as a casual gamer, the biggest difference for me is that xbox branded multiplayer games will show notification in the games hub and the non-xbox ones, it seems, do not have that capability. Certainly no fault of the developer, but that's the gigantic difference for me, being able to go to one screen to see all my pending turns.

I said it before. I'll say it again. I blame the sad state of Microsoft Studio on MS VP Phil Spencer @peeethree.

Just thinking out loud here, but when games start rolling out on a good pace (if they ever will) the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X will be outdated? Well for what its worth. I'm giving my Lumia 920 a 2 year life cycle (stuck in WP beta for at least 3 years of a total of 4 years) But after that, MSFT had there fun out of me.

I gotta say this is pretty sad considering the sucess of 360 number 1 console for 24 months straight. They have to realize that thier quality control of titles and update rollouts has been a huge fiasco with the windows phone experience which resulted in neither in the 2+ years since inception. Meanwhile you see apps being released quickly on ios and andriod. It is a shame beacuse it is by far the best os but held back by support mostly due to microsoft. No HBOGO, no TWC app, games taking months to get ported... kinda sad final fantasy was such a big deal being relased in 2012...

Patience is not a virtue, it is for people willing to settle for too little too late.  MS better get its act together fast, the nice OS is nothing without content.  
 
I'm growing very tired of people making excuses for them and criticizing everyone disappointed with the lack of content or missing features that you can find on Android or iOS.  WP8 phones were comparably priced and ought to offer comparable content, especially when it comes to MS branded content.  The WP8 phone app for their own OS is useless garbage, but they update the Apple version first.  Why?  Get your act together clowns.     

Not surprised at all since MS still hasn't even made their Smartglass app for Halo4 compatible with WP8...which is pretty embarrassing since it works great for android.

IT is additional little things like this that show me MS does not play nicely within their own divisions.  Just silly.

If this is true, how could they possibly draw back support of their own platform RIGHT when sales finally pick up?  I just don't understand where they are coming from.

I think the most likely reason is they are fixing the WP7 games that didnt work on WP8, if you look they have actually been releasing them, Feed Me Oil is now on WP8!

I don't play a lot of games on my 920 however, MS should be doing all it can to support this.  They are the ones who kept touting how many XBOX titles would work on our phones.  It doesn't look good for them to give up.
 
It looks even worse to see how not unified they really are.  I thought this was the new Microsoft, united on a singular front.  3 screens, wasn't that the promise?  Everything just works?  Not really.  I'm a huge supporter of the new systems, however nothing works quite like it should.  I know they make money selling their apps to other platforms but I think they need to take a long hard look at who matters.
 
Photosynth for example, everyone on all other platforms can use it but I cant on my brand new phone?  That makes it seem that we don't matter.  WE ARE YOUR ECOSYSTEM!  We are the ones who matter, not the other fanboys.  Stop playing both sides of the fence MS.
 
Does Apple release products for other systems?  Very rarely.  Google is also stopping.  Nothing pisses me off more than to hear about something I think will be great for us and then seeing it on an iPhone first.  GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT.  Right now you are showing us that we are not it. 

You girls crack me up in these comments. Stop crying and evangelize the platform, you crybabies! There's enough people on The Verge telling WP doom and gloom. You people have the damn devices in your hand, and spent time crying, instead of writing XYZ game dev/publishers, and ask them why the hell YOUR money's no good!? I was very frugal, buying apps on iOS, but I've spent a TON, making WP app purchases, because that's what makes devs want to write for a platform! Gold! Apple doesn't sell a 20% of the world's PC's, but they make money on EVERY one of them sold! That's why their still making them! Make the developers feel that way about WP! If Rovio could have sold 250k downloads, of Angry Birds, on WP, at $4 instead of 1 mil dl's, for a dollar, on iPhone, to make that same $1 million, then they'd write more games, for WP... Oh, wait! That's what happened! So stop crying about games they haven't released, and go buy some that are available, whiners! Then, they will have no choice but to follow the money... Straight to your Windows Phone! Soapbox rant. Done. I'm out.

The customer is always at fault.
Ignore the elephant in the room, settle for second best and say thank you for being ignored. 
How does that prostelytizing go?
(potential customer) "Hey, what are you guys doing?"
(ios user) "playing this cool new game I got on my iphone"
(android user) "same here, it was just released for android"
(WP8 user) "I'm changing the shoes on my avatar, checking those other guys' scores and waiting for the games released on android and iphone 2 years ago, you should really get a WP8 phone"
Yeah, no.  MS needs to get their act together and support the expensive platform they sold us.  

I dont understand the mentality. Had the phone since release for 2 years plus now, bought apps, games, phones to support the OS yet we are still expected to go out with our begging bowls and plead for devs to support the OS. How about the multi billion dollar company that created the OS, why arent they doing the evengalizing, pleading and even developing WP versions of their own popular IP? No, its the consumers fault for buying WP in the first place, now its our job to sell an OS that lacks features and apps to others.
 
Sorry, if MS cant be bothered to support their OS I'm not sure how you can expect regular consumers, who earn far, far less than the people in charge of WP to be bothered either.

you see when someone buys something over something else they become invested in it, not only financially but also mentally. They have to justify the purchase to themselves so they don't feel stupid.... " its a better platform, you guys just dont get it" has become a mantra of wp fans, myself included. Commenters like the one above come from a place of infererioty, kinda like mac guys in the 90's. howver we msft's actions make it clear that they are placing their bets all overand give no preferential treatment to their OWN platform. was gonna get an iphone 5 but my new nexus 7 is actually really good, so goodbye joebelfiore and hello s4

Well put, it has to be the only OS that comes with an evangelization and community service requirement.  One of the reasons I bought WP8 was so I didn't have to join a cult to use it.  
I love the interface and my hardware, but I'm missing key apps (e.g., the mass transit system I use has only android and ios, a real pandor app, instragram, google maps), the game situation is busted, MS's own properties are better developed for android and ios and remain beta for its own phone and certain features are simply missing (e.g., unique text notifications, independent volume control).  
I knew it was a nascent platform with growing pains expected but I expected MS to support its own system, and it is absurd when the commentators here blame me or you for the shortcomings or pointing them out.

Being in the software business, there is one more possible explanation...
The end of the year is vacation time and New years. Our deployment schedules take this into account. It will be interesting to see if the titles start rolling again soon.

Many teams at MS are undergoing re-org right now. Xbox games aren't the only things in a hold pattern.

That's just a webpage for a bunch of Windows 8 (not Windows Phone 8) games that are already released. It has no positve bearing on this story.

I am wondering if Microsoft is trying to work out a win win situation for both mobile game developers and cross platform gaming? I think Microsoft could win big time if they allow several big name developers a way to run a store through their system to sell games!

  1. Microsoft has decided not to allow Windows Phone 8-incompatible Xbox games to be released
  2. Microsoft is backing away from Xbox games on Windows Phone
  3. Third-party development is drying up
  4. Microsoft has totally forgotten about several games they could release right now (Time Pilot,Shao-Lin’s Road, and Loondon)

 
How about -
 
5. Nokia has a timed exclusive on XBL games for WP8 to drive Lumia sales?

There's no reason to believe that. Not that there are any Nokia-exclusive WP8 games (they're all made for WP7 first), but that would actually hurt the overall Windows Phone 8 ecosystem.

If I had to guess, I would say they're trying to figure out a way to publish games that work on Windows RT/8 as well. Microsoft has gone from having one struggling franchise to two (or three depending on how you look at it) with Windows 8/RT added to the mix. It wouldn't shock me if some serious planning is necessary to decide how to address that. Thankfully, any work that goes toward Windows RT should be trivially portable to Windows Phone 8.

Its funny, people seem to want to ignore this fact, that virtually no Windows 8/RT Xbox games have been ported to WP yet are still claiming this as almost a forgone conclusion. With all the talk from MS about code compatibility one would have expected to see at least something like the Solitaire collection but its now clear that MS cant be bothered.

I too would like to see this as well! I mean to have current store games work then add in a way for the cross platform mobile, tablet, desktop and Xbox would be an enormous win! I also would liked to see Microsoft work with Valve/ Steam allow them what they wanted or at least meet in the middle somewhere!

Why did Disney release where's my water and Perry if there is hardly any revenue to be made?

Just to cover all bases. They didn't do it because they think it will be a big platform. They're rich enough to drop a few games or apps and then forget about them.

I am really depressed with the selection and quality of games offered in the MSFT store. By this time I thought there would be at least a few decent titles. I know the obvious reaction is be patient, but I for one am tired of waiting for app and game selection to improve. I have been on the windows phone wagon since the release of the HTC trophy and now I have an 8x.

Well at least we'll have those 12 games from GameLoft. Although, some if not all, will probably only be for WP8 and not WP7.

Yet another reason to never buy another Windows Phone. It's to the point that I wish Microsoft would just drop the whole thing and offer us refunds or something.

As I told another commenter, that is just a list of Xbox-branded games for Windows 8. It's nothing new as those games have been out for weeks or months already. We already knew Windows 8 had Xbox games. It really has no bearing on the lack of Xbox games for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone is known by two main things: live tiles and Xbox. The first doesn't work alright. The second is vanishing.
 
I really would like to see the Xbox team running the Windows Phone division...

understand from s developer stand point of view 
most of the games on iphone and android does well witout xboxlive games
and developers do not whant to compete against microsoft so thay stay away
well you see it on the windows phone when you browse for games,, microsoft only selects xboxlive games
you have to drill down for a long time just to find any games, but thay are there and good games
just never have any chanche of being played clourse of this
microsoft cood not delever the quality , take temple run when are we gonna see this never
so microsoft killed both the tablet and phone with xboxlive games
all people nows it cost a fee to play xbox live games , and that is what the consumer nows
that is why they stay away from windows phone
allso it is not fair the current system thay are running right now
Michael
 

I love how it's "EASY TO BELIEVE" that Microsoft is giving up on its own fucking platform. That's just unreal. They're unloyal to their own products... And I switched... Why?

indeed, Microsoft is the only company I know that fucks itself up like this, its unbelievable, but its not like this is the first time they did this, I am still pissed off that they own Skype yet they have a shit app on WP7.5 that can't even run in the background, while having supperior apps for Android and iphone -> THE COMPETITION.
 

The only games I have ever bought on my Windows Phone were Xbox live games, If the were not Xbox live and I was not motivated by the gamerscore and achivements I would not buy 80% of the games I currently have, I am not a big WP gamer and for the few moment I am bored away from my PC I am perfecty happy with just one game a year for my needs or try out some of the free non-xbox games.
By dropping Xbox-live games on WP Microsoft is just shooting itself in the foot.
 

Honestly, things like this and other seemingly tiny things add up to big problems....stuck with 7.5 on an Arrive waiting for my contract to expire (god I hope some carrier in the US gets the Ativ S), I don't know what to do. If you have a windows phone it's probably best to supplement it with another os' tablet. The games and apps just aren't here and if Microsoft isn't 100% invested, I can't convince myself I should be anymore. I've concluded if you enjoy WP its not because of the apps anyway, it's mostly all the baked in stuff, at least for me, the majority of it is. Hell I want to play word press and star command and use instagram and hero academy and ruzzle and battleheart and so many more titles. I get the new kernel and app chicken and egg situation, that just means they need to be that much more on their game..... I wish it didn't matter what phone i used but dammit I feel like I understood from the beginning what they are trying to do....its just frustrating.....oh well
tl;dr wp8 + iPad mini here I come...

Whilst I like WP8, im getting increasingly tired by Microsofts decisions, and also by its lack of comment on those decisions, surely they must know all this creates bad press, if it a move,to,unify things or alike, they should just say "we are doing this because .....". I think I'm nearly done with WP now.

Haha, oh Jesus. And so it begins. MS is notorious for this kind of stuff if projected targets are not met within very short periods of time. They feel they are reliable metrics and cut their losses. If that's the case, it might only be the first part of Winphone 8 to just fade away.  Looks like they might has missed a critic metric very early on.

I'm taking this article with a huge grain of salt. After all, it uses phrases like "we may have the actual cause". This person is "anonymous". This "anonymous" person is not a developer, but rather, "has worked on several titles for a developer".
 
And yet, this seems to have caused Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt within the user base. There is no way in hell Microsoft will back away from their bread and butter Xbox Live games. I'm pretty sure there are just logistical problems that are being worked on. Also, there are plenty of great games being released. They do not have to have Achievements to be enjoyable. If anything, this "drought" in XBL games has made me discover some of the fine jewels out in the Marketplace.
 
 

You know what really causes FUD? Four weeks without a new Xbox WP release. It's not our job to ease people's fears when the cause is something that they should be concerned about.

The developer is accurate, and we've proven our credibility time and again over the years. We chose the wording to describe the source carefully because we don't want to throw our source under the bus. You can choose to believe what you want, but that won't change the fact that there is an ongoing problem with Xbox games for WP.

Yeah, but the guy has a point. Companies are known to withdraw when preparing for something big. Microsoft in particular has been missing from a variety of notorious video game conventions, is supposedly working on some crazy new Kinect tech that is presumably for the new Xbox, and for reasons nobody can understand, is still hush-hush about the release date of the Surface Pro.

Usually, when companies go quiet about something they're putting huge support behind, it's because they're either trying to keep competitors off their back for a big upcoming release or announcement, or are preparing something that involves legal issues with 3rd parties.

"Reevaluating" can mean anything from adjusting the requirements needed to become an "Xbox" title to, as others have suggested, reorganizing how the releases will be done due to upcoming attempts to centralize *everything*. With that in mind, the above article just doesn't accomplish anything other than needlessly churning up unrest among fans.

You make a good case! However, it's absolutely not normal for a gaming platform that usually gets a weekly release to stop releasing games for more than a month, all without word from the platform holder. If Microsoft was concerned about the public's reaction, they would've made some kind of announcement asking for gamers to be patient. Just stopping releases with no word looks bad.

The 'anonymous source' is just a little hard to swallow when WPCentral itself has posted many articles where it flames the living bajeezus out of other blogs and news sources for quoting 'an anonymous source' and 'a source close to the company'.
 
I'd like to believe it, but WPCentral has warned us so many times not to believe articles like this!

The biggest roadblock for me recommending Windows Phone to people is Microsoft and its own apparent lack of faith in their platform :/

windows phone is dead....and unfortunately, that will mean nokia too
 
if MS isn't willing to put anything behind the one selling point that windows phone had, then why would people even buy one...similar looking handsets can be found on other OS's, far greater selection of games and apps on other formats...
 
the only reason i went for windows phone was for the XBL games on the go....without that, there is nothing keeping me, and other windows phone users i know using the format, when we get better things elsewhere
 
now i hate google as a company, ans apple are even worse to me, but if microsoft continue to disregard their platform, what choice will we have but to ditch this unsupported platform and go for one that at least holds the faith of it's developer, even if they lack any kind of innovation...what good is an innovative phone & OS design if theres fuck all on it
 
had my HD7 for 2 years, and just as things were starting to look up for the WP platform, MS go and do something as stupid as this....feared the worst for a few weeks, now i see this as confirmation that MS have ditched it because it wasn't an instant success

I went to the links and posted comments asking for more LIVE titles and to include forza and halo. Thanks and I hope others voice their opinions on those forums as well.

I wish they would give us an option to do away with the "Xbox " list alltogether and just call it "Games" on my phone.
I don't have an xbox, dont have 'friends' I want to share scores with online, and couldn't care less for editing my avatar. I just want to have fun playing games.
Its kinda embarrasing when someone asks me why there are TWO list of games and I have no intelligent answer for them...

Well if true, add that as another reason I will be leaving WP later this year.  I've been with WP since the begining and have been patiently waiting for improvments with the OS but each new update/release of the OS it feels like they keep dropping the ball. When I saw WP8 I couldn't find a single reason to upgrade from wp7.
 
 

I agree fully.  I too supported from the beginning, I was working in a position where I even got to get phones free from MS to help spread the word.  WP8 came out and I saw no reason to move, and internally they had no promos, no hype, no free phones, nothing.  Was kinda sad.  After more time I moved on to Android and have already left.  My wife is now using my old WP device for now.
 
I can get a WP device for free again, but I have not, too many apps that I love and use daily on my Android that are not on WP.  In fact, every single app that I use daily is not on WP outside of basic email and text messaging!
 
IF the new BB 10 is a success I think WP is truly in trouble. 

Paul. I fired off a few tweets (@q21701) to the various ms accounts. I got a few responses back and I am trying to open a dialogue via twitter.

Xbox for Windows Phone isn't going anywhere. Microsoft's Business Development division will continue supporting Xbox for Windows Phone. There is absolutely no reason for Microsoft to move away from a decision that influenced millions of people to jump on board and invest in Windows Phone. Whoever thinks or 'feels' otherwise should seriously reconsider.
Xbox is evolving and Microsoft hasn't been shy in showing the world what they've been cooking in their labs in regards to taking gaming and entertainment further to the next level, and if you believe that Windows Phone won't be taking part of it to help bring Xbox in more households then you need to wake up and remember how much profit Microsoft's Xbox division is bringing to the company.
'Games for Windows' was once powering Windows PC as the base platform to deliver games. So what's happening/happened to 'Games for Windows'? It's being rebranded under Xbox. 'Zune' was once powering music and video delivery to users. What happened to 'Zune'? It's being rebranded under Xbox. It's quite obvious that Microsoft's strategy is to combine all entertainment platforms on all their current (and future) products under Xbox (and they already announced that). Windows Phone is certainly in that strategy.
Of course, a task of this magnitude takes a lot of time to implement and get it right. During that time, false speculations will arise based on Microsoft's silence (which I agree that their silence isn't in their advantage). But in the end, Microsoft is fully backing Windows Phone and it is certainly out of the question for them to make it less of a product than what it is now.

Perhaps they have a bigger fish to fry? Like sorting out the country region issue first before concentrating releasing the games to the world?
People in the US should be more grateful if you can see the fraction of apps in my region store compare to yours.

All I want is a Dodonpachi Maximum port for WP8 from WP7...and possibly a Japanese Mahjong app.

IMO, Xbox as a platform will die sooner or later. Xbox is currently undergoing rebranding as a SERVICE for gaming and multimedia, not for DEVICES. Never wondered, why the MSFT-tablet is called Surface rather than a perfectly fitting Xslate or something? Instead, X Phone will be produced by Motorola.
I'm also quite sure, the next-gen console will use W8 or an offshot. And here indeed the gaming-development needs to be concentrated. Add to this consistent developer stories between W8 and WP8, with the platform being successively integrated from TV over desktop down to phone, things start to look very smooth from a strategy POV. Problem is, W8 as an ecosystem is just not there. And as game companies will want to support W7, installed on half a billion computers, as well, there is a laggy adoption of the W8-development stack. Once this dilemma is mastered in a year or so, I think we will see a whole flood of titles coming from W8 to WP8.
The problem is, MSFT once again fails to give their developer community an understanding and hence a solid statement from which they can derive planning assumptions. This was already the case by hesitating to make a simple statement like 'C# will be a first class citizen on W8'. Personally, I would fire the whole marketing gang @MSFT, they are the worst communicators in the whole industry.
Last but not least, porting iOS or Android games (and indeed apps in general) to W8/WP8 should be backed by better tooling. This would give instant momentum to the whole story.