Casey McGee and Larry Lieberman of Microsoft
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Does Microsoft have the will to bring its Xbox gaming franchises to Windows Phone?

Although the year got off to a rocky start with an extended Xbox game release drought, the Xbox Windows Phone gaming situation has actually been looking up since February. Gameloft’s highly anticipated Windows Phone 8 titles finally started rolling out, and some weeks saw two Xbox games released instead of just one.

Don’t think we’re out of the thicket just yet. The Xbox Live certification process continues to cause games like Cut the Rope: Experiments to come out much later than on other platforms, and meaningful title updates come just as late or not at all – both Windows Phone Cut the Rope games are missing levels that iOS and Android already get to enjoy. Microsoft’s solution to this problem seems to be encouraging big games like Temple Run to release as indie titles in order to circumvent the Xbox Live certification process. Because why bother fixing a broken system?

The draconian certification process may be a major impediment to the quality and number of Xbox games on Windows Phone, but Microsoft’s unwillingness to release exclusive games and capitalize on their wealth of franchises is just as big a roadblock. Now enjoy the ultimate installment of our How to Save Xbox Games for Windows Phone series to find out which Microsoft games Windows Phone is missing and what Microsoft can do to turn it all around. And don't miss the video above in which Microsoft's Larry Lieberman, Senior Product Manager and Casey McGee, Senior Marketing Manager address many of our gaming concerns!

Windows 8 Xbox games with touch-screen support should also be released for Windows Phone 8.

WSOP: Full House Pro for XBLA
Full House Poker came to Windows Phone, but its sequel WSOP: Full House Pro will not.

You wouldn’t know it from the scant number of Windows 8 Xbox games that have made their way to Windows Phone, but it’s easier to port from Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 than just about any other platform. One of our Xbox Live developer friends explains:

“The bulk of a C++ game can be mostly ported directly to Windows Phone 8 from Windows 8.  What takes the extra time are the platform and API differences, primarily in the shell around the core game, and there are enough of these for a C++ developer to make them dedicate a few resources to just tackling those issues…

In Windows 8, everything is accessible via WinRT.  On Windows Phone 8, some phone features are only available via the .NET Framework, which is only accessible via C#.  How does a native C++ library call a managed code .NET API?  The developer has to code quite differently for this between both platforms.”

It’s not quite as simple as just flipping a switch, but when all you have to do to port a game is rework the UI and a few API calls, refusing to port from Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 is leaving money on the table (while also discreetly pointing a middle finger at the dedicated Windows Phone user base).

Let’s look at the Xbox Windows 8 games that would port easily to Windows Phone 8 and yet have no mobile versions announced. Most of these are already available on Windows 8, while some are still in the works:

  • 4 Elements II
  • Adera
  • Crash Course Go
  • Disney Fairies
  • Dragon’s Lair
  • Field & Stream Fishing
  • Gunpowder
  • The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running
  • Microsoft Mahjong
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  • Reckless Racing Ultimate
  • Royal Envoy 2
  • Taptiles
  • Team Crossword
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Ty the Tasmanian Tiger
  • A World of Keflings
  • WSOP: Full House Pro

A few of these titles might actually be in the works for Windows Phone – as we complained in a previous column, Microsoft has completely stopped announcing Xbox Windows Phone games in advance. But it’s a safe bet that mobile versions aren’t planned for most of these. In fact, we know for sure that at least one of the listed games was actually pitched for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but only the Windows 8 version got approved. Oh, Microsoft!

Considering that both platforms share touch screen interfaces and the majority of code is portable, there really is no excuse not to produce Windows Phone 8 ports of virtually every Xbox Windows 8 game.

Stop publishing Windows Phone-exclusive games on competing platforms.

Tentacles
Tentacles used to be a feather in Windows Phone's cap. Nowadays, not so much.

Part of showing solidarity is Microsoft releasing its own properties on its own platforms, such as the Windows 8 games I just mentioned. But another part is making sure those platforms actually have exclusive games that could attract new users. After all, Xbox Windows Phone isn’t exactly swimming in hot games, so why would Microsoft publish what few games it has on competing platforms?

Yet the Windows Phone maker has done just that, time and time again. Tentacles, Kinectimals, Fable Coin Golf, and Wordament all started life as Xbox Windows Phone exclusives. But someone within Microsoft – the company that owns Windows Phone and should want it to succeed at all costs – decided that making money from iOS users was more important than supporting their own platform. Did I mention that Tentacles and Fable Coin Golf don't even run on Windows Phone 8?

We covered this issue in greater detail back when Wordament launched on iOS with Xbox Live Achievements, so please refer to that article for a lengthier discussion. It all boils down to this: as a minority platform, Windows Phone requires exclusive games and apps in order to attract new users. Selling previously exclusive games on iOS brings in money short-term, but it hampers Windows Phone sales long-term.

Internal politics and competing divisions are probably the single greatest obstacle Microsoft faces going forward. Let’s hope they somehow pull it together and get everyone on the same page sooner rather than later.

Even more importantly, Microsoft needs to bring its major franchises to Windows Phone. Yesterday.

Forza Horizon for Xbox 360
Gameloft gave us Asphalt 7, so why can't Microsoft make a mobile Forza?

After two years, which of its existing console properties has Microsoft even published on Windows phone? Let’s see…

That boils down to exactly one top-tier franchise (Fable) still being sold, with the rest being either XBLA or Kinect adaptations. I’m not complaining that these games exist (other than Fusion: Sentient, Boot Camp, and the too buggy to live Project Sunburst). But shouldn’t there be more games on that list?

As a matter of fact, not long ago we listed more than 30 games that Microsoft owns the publishing rights to but has failed to adapt to Windows Phone. One of those – Minecraft, technically belongs to Mojang, but the two companies have an excellent relationship thanks to the bestselling Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. There is no reason that iOS should have an official Minecraft game while Windows Phone doesn’t.

Still, Microsoft owns several IPs that either sell or have sold gangbusters on Xbox 360 within the last few years: Halo, Gears of War, Fable, Forza, and Project Gotham Racing. (I list Fable because there’s much more life in the property than just Coin Golf.) Microsoft’s Zune media player had a Project Gotham Racing game, but Windows Phone doesn’t. Does the big MS not know how easily racing games port to smartphones? We should be playing PGR and Forza (either a sim or adaptation of Horizon) on our phones right now.

The real barometer of Microsoft’s Windows Phone support: Halo

N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

N.O.V.A. 3 (above) is close enough to Halo, but many users still want the real thing.

In the end, it all comes down to Halo: Microsoft’s system-selling first-person shooter series. There is a sort of Halo/Mountain Dew/7 Eleven adver-game in the works for Windows Phone, along with iOS and Android. Let’s hope that deplorable idea dies in the conceptual womb. But Xbox Windows Phone cries out for not one, but two real Halo games: a shooter and a strategy title.

First-person shooters are quite popular on smartphones, as Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4 and Halo clone N.O.V.A. 3 prove. And Windows Phone 8 has the hardware chops to run a faithful Halo port without skimping on too many graphical details. Microsoft doesn’t even need to assemble a large team to make this game happen. Just collaborate with Gameloft to adapt an existing Halo game or create a side story to the franchise. We know Gameloft has an excellent FPS engine for Windows Phone 8 and they’ve admitted they’d love to work with the Halo license. Heck, even just licensing Gameloft's engine would save a ton of effort.

Some people don’t take a shine to touch-screen controls in shooters though. That’s why a mobile adaptation of Halo Wars makes perfect sense. Halo Wars is a real-time strategy game developed by the now-closed Ensemble Studios, and the only non-FPS Halo game to date. It might not have sold as well as mainline Halo games on the Xbox 360, but smartphones are especially suited to strategy games – just look at Skulls of the Shogun and Galactic Reign. If Microsoft wanted to make a smaller-scale Halo game for Windows Phone rather than a graphically intensive shooter (or in addition to it), Halo Wars would be perfect. Downsize the graphics, adjust the control scheme, and you’re golden.

When I spoke on the telephone with a Windows Phone executive two years ago, he seemed to anticipate a mobile Halo game within the next year or so after our conversation. But that executive has since shifted off of the Windows Phone team. It’s no coincidence that PR efforts and new game announcements died off after that time.

Xbox Windows Phone doesn’t appear to have a leader who believes in gaming or the Xbox brand any more. We’ll know that has changed when Microsoft finally announces a true Halo game for Windows Phone. Until the company is willing to take that important step, we cannot believe they take gaming on this platform seriously.

Update!

Wow, Microsoft actually did release a Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 Halo game this year - Halo: Spartan Assault. It's a decent title (albeit much smaller in scale than N.O.V.A. 3) and we could take it as a vote of confidence in Xbox Windows Phone. But as 2013 rolls on, we see more and more weeks without mobile Xbox releases. Unless Microsoft starts putting time and money into securing new Xbox games for Windows Phone, I fear the titles will eventually stop coming.

Series conclusion

Halo Wars for Xbox 360
Halo Wars and Windows Phone 8 are a match made in heaven.

So ends the final long article in our long editorial series! Don’t forget to check out the previous installments:

  • Part 1: Xbox Live certification
  • Part 2: The importance of Xbox to Windows Phone, game engines
  • Part 3: Volume control, redownloading games, advertising
  • Part 4: Announcing games and a download code system
  • Part 5: Backing up save data, cloud storage, leaderboards, and messaging
  • Part 6: Third-party developers and games
  • Part 7: Porting Windows 8 games, Microsoft franchises, and Halo

If you enjoyed these articles, please comment, retweet, and tweet them to the good folks at Microsoft. The problems Xbox games face on Windows Phone won’t change until the right decision-makers realize their importance. Let’s do our best to make a difference together!

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Comments

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jmerrey says:

as I commented on the YouTube video: let me know when these guys actually answer a question

Paul Acevedo says:

That's marketing dudes for you.

carlosrdd says:

And this is why we can't have nice things.....

I couldn't have tolerated that myself. I would have shaken the guy or something for NOT answering the questions like that. I mean, what did I learn in those 9 minutes? Well, I now know that Microsoft looks at things and considers things and is always looking at a wide range of things.

Paul Acevedo says:

But imagine what a dark world it would be if Microsoft DIDN'T look at and consider things! :D

Yes, the interview presented some challenges. But I'm grateful to Microsoft and the two participants all the same.

John20212 says:

Its time to fire the top executies who are in charge of WP and get someone who actually listens to what customers want; same way they did it with kicking out Synofsky from the Windows division and now there is finally talk of customer demanded desktop features making a comeback in Blue.
Seriously Microsoft needs to wake up and get rid of these idiots that are holding it back.
 
 

FinancialP says:

Its actually more complicated then that. There are actually some great people at Microsoft. Problem is there is a board and a slew of investors that must be answered to, and all they do is count beans.

if Microsoft thinks it is not the best thing to do now to port xbox titles to wp, than why instagram and others would risk their time and money on it?..

eddieDOTexe says:

Couldn't have said it better myself. You'd think we'd at least have a Halo 1 port by now.

John20212 says:

Forget about Halo, same as Microsoft screwed the PC gamers it is now going to screw WP gamers. It's better to just accept this and move on.

Chill510 says:

They could do more for WP games. I think there's a Halo game (similar to star craft) that would do great on mobile.

Paul Acevedo says:

Gee, if only someone had written an article about that...

Oxygen22 says:

Well said. Microsoft has a big management problem. Steve Ballmer needs to get the hell out of there. He isn't able to turn around the company. I mean come on, they have all they need to to make WP a successful OS. They can't exploit their partnerships successfully.
 
They have not a clear strategy: they even bring some apps to iOS before bringing them to WP. And after they are complaining why Instagram isn't on their platform. Well to shorten my comment, they need to organise them and define clearly a strategy, an objective, and deadlines to reach them.

I'm sorry but "turn around the company''. You do realize that Microsoft is in good financial health right. It doesn't need turning around. Don't be hysterical.
However, it is clear that under Ballmers leadership, there is a focus on enterprise because it brings in the money. This is why Windows gets all the resources ahead of windows phone. At Apple, the reverse is the case because iOS is their bead and butter. Heck, there are rumors that Apple pulled resources from OSX to speed up iOS development.
Since Microsoft is unable to dedicate maximum resources to windows phone, I only hope that Blue successfully merges all the platforms WP, Xbox and Windows so Windows phone can finally get the attention it requires.  

Well, "turn it around," is more of a "save them from themselves." If the bad things about the Xbox rumors (specifically the always-online requirement) come to fruition, it could do some real damage to that market. Though I personally like Windows 8, it's not growing all THAT well, especially from a tablet market perspective. Windows Phone's growing, but people are clearly becoming frustrated with BS like this interview. The issue isn't that they're in trouble now, it's that they're looking like a company trying to set themselves up for a fall. That's not to say I expect them to fail or anything, just that they seem unwilling to use their resources to advance the brand and the products long-term.

hwangeruk says:

If "always on" puts another dent in software piracy, I am all for it.
 
MS just posted twice the profit Google did for last quarter.
 
I do agree they are frustratingly slow or remiss at some things. Windows Phone did not move the UI or experience on very much from 7. I appreciate that they re-wrote the internals (and agree it was probably the right thing to do) but they need to speed up now. Adding some of the features required should be at 6 month intervlas, not yearly release (not for basic features like profiles, or separate volume for music and incoming call - or custom SMS sounds etc)

Oxygen22 says:

First of all, hysterical is a strong word. Secondly, having a lot of cash or a good financial situation in a giving moment doesn't mean that MS is going to live happily ever after.

Apple too is financially sound, but the fact is they are going to be given a very good lesson by Samsung.

Yes of course the Blue is going to make everything shine, just like the wp8 was to be the savior.
Always hoping that the best thing is the next version, it's beginning to be the catch phrase of MS.

Gigantuouse says:

Paul, Xbox on WP is basically a second rate Game Center - without the dev support. Microsoft doesn't care. :(

Nice article Paul. By far the best writer on Windows Phone Central. Daniel give him more.

clmbngbkng says:

I thought Full House Poker was still only WP7 compatible, am I wrong?

Paul Acevedo says:

Thanks for catching that oversight. Fixed!

clmbngbkng says:

No problem, I hoped I was wrong because I miss that game.

jcagga says:

Isn't the guy on the right from the image the guy who was holding the prototype Asus device running mango?

DJCBS says:

I keep looking at these people in charge of Microsoft and Nokia etc...and I keep wondering if the companies wouldn't be better without them. With YOUNGER people in charge. 'cause the feeling I have, and I had it again with the guy in the dark suit, is that these people have no idea whatsoever about what the target of their phones demand. I'm pretty sure the guy in dark suit has no idea what gamers like or don't nor what gamers look for or don't. He has no connection with reality whatsoever. So, to have such a guy in charge of platforms like Xbox Live, is basically shooting themselves in the foot.

But apparently we still live in a World were age=status instead of competence=status.

Jamdot says:

It's just yes men. The guy in the suit couldn't give a crap about the product, hence the spiel answers he gives to every single question.

FavBrowser says:

Windows Phone is the most delusional team there is. I remember ~1 month ago Paul Thurrot talked about his conversation with WM guys and how iPhone got so successfully and why Microsoft wasn't the first to come to the market.

Their response? we view iPhone as a good product for us because ..... WAIT FOR IT... It justifies our thinking that multi touch devices are the future

Duffau says:

Well, you can't come up with everything in the market. As much as MS puts into research, they know how to recognize it when someone else in the market does something good. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Im glad WP in 2010 did an awesome job in fluidity and smooth navigation, unlike past phones. Unless I misunderstood your point.

poddie says:

Wait a minute... what do you mean Nokia? I'm no fan boy but they are fighting tooth and nail. MS gave up a long time ago, but don't drag Nokia into that.

DJCBS says:

I meant as a general assessment. Nokia is doing an amazing job they always did. However that doesn't exempt them from also being failing in some aspects. For example, Nokia should have realized already that they can't base the promotion of a smartphone only on its camera. Yes, Nokia has the best cameras in the smartphone market. Yes, Nokia phones seem to be indestructible. But the majority of smartphone buyers don't go for a phone because of the camera. Nokia should also bet on exclusive useful Apps (and I underline useful, 'cause Nokia also has plenty of useless Apps) and in pushing the OS of their phones further and further by forcing MS to correct basic mistakes that were absent in Symbian phones and improve from there.
And I actually am what you could call a Nokia fanboy. They were the reason I moved to WP and they'll be the reason I'll leave it, if they move to Android or something else.

But yes, we agree, in the bigger picture, Microsoft is the one to blame. Arrogance has played big parts in Microsofts downfall. And it seems that's not getting better judging by these kinds of interviews.

Duffau says:

You know, it's really easy to sit here and be an armchair analyst, then blame management for things you don't like. Don't get me wrong, im not saying there isn't a problem, but you can't just make assumptions and then go off of that for your argument. The people at MS, especially most of the higher ups, are deceptively smart and know what is going on with the industry. But there are many factors that we don't know about. Again, im not making excuses for anyone, but to say that management is not capable of doing what is necessary for WP is insulting. I have seen this company go from personally hated to powering all of my devices under many of these guys. I understand WP is a somewhat different animal based on the given situation, but if you have a complaint, simply make the complaint. Call out management of they go back on their word, but saying that they don't understand the market because they're old is unnecessary. Think of their board and investors who the company must account to that are only looking at the monetary aspects. Just my two cents. I think all of these things are on the way, just in due time. Do I think they're taking too long? Hell yes. But if MS gave up on WP, believe you me, we wouldn't be seeing any of the stuff we've seen in the past 6 months.

DJCBS says:

Well, I've been with Microsoft since the days the only thing on computers was DOS. So I think I can fairly judge the people in charge at the moment. It also helps that I have superior education (meaning I have a University and a Masters Degree.) So I don't base my judgements only on what I like or don't.
 
Actually, to be completely honest, Xbox Live is the last thing I could care about WP. Mainly because I prefer PS3 to Xbox and so I don't even use the gaming platform. But I can still see the potential in it. And I'm fairly aware of what's going on in gaming. That's why I think these people are miserably failing at their jobs. Now, I assumed that their lack of touch with reality was because of something called "generation gap", a thing that, wether we like it or not, plays always a role in company managements. That's why Apple thrived on MS's laziness/arrogance. Steve Jobs (whom I never really liked) had a much better understanding of the new generations than Bill Gates had or Balmer has. And yes, I know Jobs was not that much younger than Gates.
Now, the reason why Microsoft's management is making so many strategic mistakes may not be the age. In which case is lack of vision or share stupidity. I still like to think that what's missing here is the capacity of understanding the new generations. There's a reason why MS with WP keeps being the kid running after the bus.

As for Microsoft giving up on WP...that will depend on the amount of money they can do with it. But with the current lack of thrive to push the OS forward and correct/improve things faster, it's more likely that they will drop the idea sooner than later because consumers aren't willing to just wait for Microsoft to do things other companies already have available. Which will be a shame.

Duffau says:

 
I too have a master’s degree and an understanding of what a generation gap is. I also remember the days of DOS. All I’m saying is that it's a matter of perspective. What you see as laziness/arrogance, I see a concentration in enterprise for many many years. I believe that because they are relatively new to paying a good amount of attention to the consumer market, they need some time to adjust, not that they don't have the capability to adjust. I understand that it is taking longer than we want it to, but this game is far from over. Whether or not you agree, I believe that Gates is as much of a visionary as Jobs was. And Ballmer, while I love the guy, may not necessarily be the visionary his predecessor was. Regardless, he is excellent at keeping the board members and investors happy, while still bringing in tons of innovation and money. I don't think the people he has working for him have a lack of understanding of the younger generation, but things like this are a lot easier to say than do. I'm sure you've kept up with news on MS and how competitive each department within the company has been. With the departure of Sinofsky, things are supposed to change and I already think the company is headed in the right direction for the consumer market. Maybe there are certain people at MS that are stuck in the ways of old, but MS certainly doesn’t lack young blood either.
The point of the whole armchair analyst comment was that there are many things about MS internally that we don't know or understand. Do I know that I'm 100% correct? Of course not, but that’s exactly the point. We can point fingers all we want, and come up with all the reasons in the world, but we just don't know what is happening internally. That’s why I say, you can call them slow and say that you are not satisfied with the way things are, but to point out specific reasons about certain people at MS, unless you know them personally or internal MS info, I would say is somewhat unfair. It's all a matter of perspective.

Jamdot says:

Microsoft Official Question Deflectors, Larry Lieberman and Casey McGee.

Don't believe or want a Halo fps on my phone, a strategy game, like Kojima did for the PSP on the other hand would be great. Regarding the negativity towards on Xbox brand on the WP, count me out, I much more in pace with the article's tone than the comments remarks comparing it to the anarchic game center. It can only improve, but don't open the flood gates, keep in mind the nature of Xbox scene, mr. Microsoft.

abel920 says:

I have trust in them, Microsoft is always blind but somehow a miracle shows them the light.

rodneyej says:

I have faith to, but its time to make things happen not wait for success to fall in your lap.. Those days are over, and its a different world now.. As far as mobile goes MS is playing in Google, and Apples stupid backyard,,, for now! They have to be proactive to change this.

StormGroud says:

Not true, Microsoft has made many failures without fixing them. I have no doubt that this is the least of there concerns.

Shimoner01 says:

To what extent would it possible to use the camera shudder button (on Nokias anyway) as a trigger button in a fps?

Shimoner01 says:

... I feel like that might make FPSs on touchscreen phones more bearable, if not fun.

Agent-P says:

That's something I've never thought of before, but it is a good idea.
 
However my problem with FPS on a touch device is the movement. A virtual joystick doesn't work as well with me as a physical joystick does.

MajickmanW says:

I think it would work best if the left half of the screen was touch anywhere to move, the right half was touch anywhere to aim and the physical shudder for a trigger that would make fps for mobile devices near perfect (imho)

Paul Acevedo says:

Not a bad setup at all. They could also make firing automatic as long as a target is in the crosshairs, but some people would feel that dumbs down the gameplay too much (not me).

astroXP says:

What a bunch of excuses they gave! Yes, those were excuses and not directly answers.

Spacegho5t says:

If Microsoft was smart they would make an in house style MOGA controller that worked EXCLUSIVELY with windows phone. They could probably release actual halo games with that.

Spacegho5t says:

That gamepad is the one thing that Microsoft perfected this Gen and they should use it to their advantage.

TrustySnooze says:

Not a bad idea.

Duffau says:

No offence, but I think that would be a terrible idea. Moga might gain success because they're going for a larger market (WP+android), but ms remaking a controller exclusively for WP would face tons of problems. When big retailers find out that it only works on WP, who would carry it? Amazon? MS store? Now if they were to make their next xbox controller with Bluetooth (or even WiFi, shudder) and work on all WP out of the box, that would be a smash hit imo. Use the market you already have to help another market you own (like using halo to boost WP), I believe that's the way to success.

Paul Acevedo says:

Yeah, MOGA for now and possible support of the next Xbox controller later this year is the way to go.

ade333 says:

Two things that I feel "ripped off" about with WP/Nokia. #1Nokia Drive sucks but was pushed like it was a polished app. #2 MS advertised games that you could play on your phone, pause, and then continue on the XBox - how many games can you do that with.

Cornbean7077 says:

I believe only one at the moment, which is Skulls of the Shogun

Whodaboss says:

Are you referring to the Nokia Drive "BETA"?!!  That has been "BETA" since its release?  Please point to the news release that stated it was NOT a "BETA" app?  Furthermore, I don't believe MS or Nokia said you had to use their app.  I'm sure there are other apps you can download that can live up to your expectations.  I like the Nokia Drive "BETA" app.  I can download my state map on my phone and don't have to worry about using or losing connection for it to work. 

poddie says:

If you think Drive will look or function any different when it finally comes out of beta you are sadly mistaken. Have to agree with ade333 on this one... there are MANY missing features. I also feel misled about it.

WinFan1 says:

Then you don't seem to understand the difference between beta and complete.

Duffau says:

Sucks? A work in progress maybe because it's beta, but apple maps sucks. Nokia drive has been called the best GPS on any phone from what I recall. Resuming games from phone to Xbox would be cool, but how many games exist in the same state for both? Maybe in the next Xbox? "A man can dream though. A man can dream."

Paul Acevedo says:

Obviously more games would have to be released for both platforms in order for pass, play, resume to work. We mention the need for those games in this very article.

Wacft says:

Go Paul! Ask the tough questions. I have to admit I have started to feel somewhat cheated buying into WP. I have been really surprised how Verizon has been with phones but I can get past it. But I REALLY REALLY believed there would be tighter Xbox integration on WP.
 
And I never thought Zune would be Xbox Music... I mean I hate talking to people about there music apps of choice and then I have to say I subscribe to "Xbox Music". I mean Xbox means games for most people, Zune meant music, but Microsoft said they needed their naming convention less fragmented w/e....
 
My BIGGEST gripe is the fact the Xbox messaging is not integrated into the message hub... wtf?! WP is suppose to be easy to use and quick access. I get why it would it would be hard for Gtalk but they Own Xbox messaging.
 
Sorry for ranting and back to the point. They released Halo Waypoint which would show you real time map information to display your team location for Reach. This was awesome but I had no way to attach it to my controller so it was too cumbersome to ever use. And honestly for me that is where the gaming ingenuity for WP ended.

Rich White says:

I don't think the APIs are ready yet. There was quite a bit written on the audio situation in the Windows 8 sandbox--its lacking much of the desktop's API infrastructure under the hood, It's a goal but where is it on the roadmap? 8.1? 8.2? 8.3? Windows 9? We aren't going to see Metro DAW software until that happens.
 
Growing pains. Some of it is commitment and bad execution. Much of it I chalk up to a 3-year product cycle. Will RT and Phone 8.1 have the APIs to better support XBox 720? Or will the  AMD processor games simply be too big and powerful to port and Smart Glass be the selling point? Will we see some nice blu tooth game controllers to go along with that 1080P? 

rodneyej says:

Maybe this is what the "Blue" update is supposed to add. Maybe well see more games after the next major update hopefully.. IDK.. But, its just sad because we always have to say "its coming" when it should've already been here!

17carter says:

Looked like at the end the guy on the left shook his head yes to the halo question

Etios says:

lol no, he was just happy that they successfully deflected all the questions.

rodneyej says:

Lets help make this into the biggest gaming platform around! Lets pass these 7 articles along to MS over and over.. Together we can make a huge impact on WP developer support, awareness, and market share!!!! WPCentral, is there anything you guys can set up that would make it easy for us to spread these articles, and others that concern us, to Microsoft, and others, who continue to dismiss WP? Maybe a standalone app, similar to what Nokia has done with "2instawithlove??"... We need this!

theefman says:

Conclusion: Microsoft are totally useless in supporting WP. No surprise to anybody. Just a pity they have created such a good mobile OS which makes their neglect all the more maddening.

poddie says:

Unfortunately I must agree. LOVE the platform but MS (like Palm) seems to have no idea how to bring it over the finish line or make it successful. What's sad is MS actually has the necessary resources... a bit of money spent now would pay off for years to come. Instead they are content to just limp along and promise things will be better later. Make it happen NOW.

Sean Burns1 says:

Never been fussed as i never play games on a phone

Give the Xbox Windows Phone Game Departament to Nokia´s hands and all will be happy!!!!
 
Sorry Paul, bu now is the time to the editorial spin-off "How To Publish Your Windows Phone Games In Brazil And Make More Money". :)

Congratulations for the perfect editorial! WP Central is THE best!!

 

Shambels says:

Hell Just give Nokia the OS ;)

rodneyej says:

Off subject but, Is anyone else having this issue where you have to restart your phone in order to get audio playback to play at higher volumes again? If my phone sits for a while, or over night, audio playback is very muted, even on 30. I have to reboot it then audio plays at a higher level. I know im not the only one having this problem.... at&t Lumia 920!!!

ahmu86 says:

happening to me since last 2 days...i have Lumia 620 in India ...some songs play at 30 even if i decrease volume and some play at 10-12... restart and its fine again...

U use YouTube then try to play music it mutes it some times and lowers the volume it happens to me alot I have the 920

I think right now the titles that everyone expects and want from Microsoft will not come and I will be surprise to see Halo or Forza games on windows phone. I think until the next Xbox, windows blue, and windows phone blue comes out, the windows phone platform will continue to lag behind iOS and Android. That said when the next Xbox comes out along with blue updates for the computer and phone comes out and if Microsoft got their shit together with similar kernel and code, then hopefully we will see the dominant Xbox games service we're use to on the console come to windows and windows phone. I hear that the new Xbox will share the same core and stuff with windows phone and windows. Can you imagine these game developers creating a game for the Xbox and easily porting those games to the computer and the phone! Then Microsoft will have no excuse

rodneyej says:

What you're saying would be awesome. I hope you're right, and this all comes to fruition.. It just makes me sick because WP has so much potential to even SURPASS ANDROID and they won't seize the opportunity!!

I don't know about Android cause my experience with it is is extremely limited, but to me personally I feel that the windows phone has surpassed the iPhone in all regards except for the maturity of apps.  Obviously the iPhone is going to have the more stable and most updated apps and the games, but I can't imagine going back to an OS that doesn't give me all the information I need on the front screen or even on the lockscreen.  I suppose for me its more important to have a functional smartphone as opposed to gaming, but for some I guess its important to have tons and tons of apps to choose from and have
 

rodneyej says:

I want WP to excel in every area, something no platform has done yet!.. Quality, style, performance, functionality, support, fun, innovation, compatibility, options, intuitiveness, choice, value, availability, apps and games,, everything must be top notch, no less!! We have to push for this!

jlynnm350z says:

You forgot the kitchen sink

Paul Acevedo says:

Windows Phone hasn't surpassed iOS or Android in say... the ability to adjust game/app volume without also turning down the phone's ringer. Or being able to back up save data (or your entire phone's storage) to a computer. Two big important functions where Windows Phone lags behind. And there are others.

well first of all you can change the game volume separate from the phone ringer volume and its usually in the game settings.  Secondly WP backs up a lot a lot of stuff such as much stuff as iOS does.  All it doesn't do is automatically reinstalls all your apps which is the only addition that iOS has over WP.  iOS doesn't arrange your apps the way you have it nor does it save your app settings either.
iOS simply has a minimilist hardware and simple OS with a wealth of apps to support it.  Every time you need to do something you have to go into an app to do it.  WP on the other hand offers a wealth of functionality built in already.  This is the reason why Apple no longers offers an 8GB iPhone.  Apple realized that the majority of people would run out of space too quickly and their phones wouldn't be able to do much of anything with that limited amount of space.  This is why I feel WP is better than iOS

Paul Acevedo says:

You can't count on being able to incrementally adjust every game's volume because many games don't offer that option. Check out this article for a better explanation and to learn why it's a problem.

I'm not fully knowledgeable about iOS, but I've been told that users can somehow backup a game's data (perhaps as part of a full system backup). Maybe other readers can chime in as to that possibility.

Here's what you can do on iPhone. When I had my iPhone 4S, I had about 95 apps and games with their own saved data etc etc + a whole lot of other settings. When I got the iPhone 5, all I had to do was spend 1 minute backing up my iPhone 4S on my Mac using iTunes (yes, ONE minute, it was all automatic), and then plug in my iPhone 5 and it took 10 minutes to restore EVERYTHING. It was like I never left my iPhone 4S

Paul Acevedo says:

Thanks man; I thought as much. Take that, Megaforce!

I stand corrected since before iOS didn't do that. But this still doesn't change my opinion that the iPhone is still the most boring ass POS out there right now. The only thing that I loved about it before was the 3.5 inch form factor but now with Jobs gone that's has also gone out the window

Paul Acevedo says:

Oh, I too love Windows Phone far more than iOS. The point of these articles is just to get Microsoft to step up, improve these longstanding issues that affect gaming on WP, and close the gap between WP and other platforms. Because iOS and Android are far ahead of WP from a gaming standpoint, and WP won't catch up via complacency.

I thank you guys for such a strong list of articles. As a blogger, I really appreciate this dedication to starting something and bringing it a cool conclusion.

I for one am happy with the existing crop of games and apps. 5 months ago I would have to come up with fake stories to convince people to get phone 8. But now, the combined selection of games and apps, have made it easy to even lure my friends away from the okay iOS and the dreadful Android.

Sure, do I want Halo and other games? Why not? But when you have other publishers giving alternatives which are awesome, I am just straight happy.

rodneyej says:

But, can you imagine what these original titles would bring? Why won't they just make it easy on themselves and port over the games?? There has to be a good reason unless they're crazy... Maybe MS lied about the shared core!! Lol!... Either way, people want the real deal...

montrossity says:

The guy on the right is either clueless about the WP platform or he's blatantly lying...

Does windowe blue resolve this thing, unifying api by using the same kernel for all platform? So then, porting app is just a leisure time for developers??

WinFan1 says:

That's the rumor.

So much potential, such bad execution!

phatboy66 says:

Amazing article! People please share this everywhere!

JD Miles says:

I got the feeling that if you strip searched those two guys you might not even find a Windows Phone 8 on either of them !!!

jlynnm350z says:

Microsoft will never make Xbox games on Windows phones what it should be, could be, is capable of. That alone would sway alot of people to switch to Windows phones. For some reason Microsoft doesn't, won't, and will never let Xbox gaming grow into something very special for gamers. I mean, it's a no brainer. You would think. But that's not the case. How can Microsoft justify doing very little to Xbox gaming on their phones when I'm sure they hear the public crying out for something, anything. Throw me a damn bone Microsoft.

jlynnm350z says:

...I'm talking in way of porting over some MS trademark games: Halo, Forza. . . Ya feel me?

saulgould13 says:

Very interesting and valid points..

I quit watching it the whole Xbox WP is a joke the games all suck and what's the point in an avatar on the phone if it isn't more part of the phone then just a small game portion of it...well I just will stick with phone as a phone (Nokia Lumia 920) and console as a gaming(Xbox)(PlayStation)

jorge386 says:

Microsoft needs to get there head out of there ass. Make most games available on all 3 Xbox, WP8, and W8. Also other apps. They keep this up they will never catch up! They also need to have more online games and get the big games rolling out quick

danish319 says:

Wpcentral should emails them the list of comments on this article...need a shake up. I hope these guys are not the decision makers coz their attitude is like whaterver..

Situation has not been looking up. Most everything is a rerelease someone else got to play a year or more ago. And then the first great exclusive we got sucked on new hardware.

I'm sorry but those guys have the kind of thinking that is holding back windows phone right now. They keep comparing themselves to the worst saying others have the same issues or it's the developer's fault. They need to compare to the best and excede that. Honestly the cloud save game thing should be no issue. iOS uses icloud which you get for free when you sign up for an apple id, on windows phone you get skydrive in the same fashion. Games on iOS seemlessly do cloud saves through icloud, so why can't Windows Phone and Windows 8 do that through Skydrive....
 
Microsoft has a great design and a lot of amazing ideas but people like these 'book keepers' are whats holding back the company. trade them out for some people who dont make excuses they should be saying 'how do we do it not this & make it seemless' not saying 'why we cant'. I was an iPhone user and recently switched to a Lumia 920 and couldn't be happier with the hardware and a lot of the software but I feel like Nokia is the main reason thats a great device and maybe they should be given more control over the software, at least they're excited about the things they are doing.

Thank you Big Supes. I really do enjoy the platform and expecially the hardware. But when i see guys that work for the company talking like that, me a die hard user thinks 'maybe it's not gonna work out' and even for a seconed think about switching back or maybe to android. If that even crosses my mind many other people will drop the platform this is when publicity can go bad. Apple has built faith in its product through excitement and google to a lesser extent as well microsoft has so much potential with integration and creating an exciting multiplatform system the others cant they just need to have the same marketing mentality of their greatest rivals

TechAbstract says:

Port Halo to WP would be great marketing for Windows Phone itself.

rodneyej says:

Very much so! Why won't they do it?

Thanks for your insights and ideas Paul! I still hope Microsoft pulls it together and deliver. When they announced WP8 they promised grass and green forests. As a user going from a Symbian N8 phone I do love the Lumia 920, but... I'm still disappointed at the same things pointed out in the article here. Games that should be clearly WP exclusives aren't even updated or thought of!
I'm still only going to stick to WP as it's the only phone that's good enough after the Symbian system went away. Just wish Microsoft deliver soon, for their own sake.

MCD#WP says:

Jesus christ, guy in black suit is one hell of a PR machine.
 
Is he even human?

Dethzilla says:

It would be dumb to have a windows exclusive game. If you do then others will just build a clone of the game like most of the apps on windows phone. Its important that they monetize on every platform. Gaming on mobile devices isn't like an console... You'll never have true exclusives... Just lazy or uninterested developers.

Paul Acevedo says:

Umm, why would you or anyone else care if a game was cloned or not? There is literally no logic to that line of thought.

Based on your argument, I can only assume you're a big iOS or Android supporter. But those platforms already have their exclusives; Windows Phone is the platform that needs help catching up.

rodneyej says:

Yeah, I can't say I agree with that...

The problem with Microsoft is that divisions within the company are mini-companies with no cohesion what so ever. The Xbox team has its own goals, the Windows Phone team does its own thing, then you have Outlook, Bing, Windows 8, etc. etc. This is a very typical setup of a company that's still living in the 90s. This needs to change.

binthham says:

Exactly! Well said.

cybermoose89 says:

This was like listening to politicians dodging every question with an indirect flipping answer ! Lol

Peterukk says:

This is just bull. The biggest obstacle for WP is Microsoft themselves! This battle is already lost unless they miracelously pull their heads out of their asses. 
Who high up at MS could we forward our concerns to? The great thing about Elop is that you can always email the man himself. I doubt Ballmer is available...
These marketing guys are a JOKE. They didnt answer a single question!!!

HaibaneReki says:

actually, Steve Ballmer IS available and reportedly answers to emails, I think it was steve.b@miscrosoft.com ;)

sumton says:

time will tell how much effort microsoft going to put on the OS

rockstarzzz says:

How I miss Tentacles on my 920! Had no idea they have iOS version but not a WP8 version. Im sad and shocked. Money makes the world go round after all :(

cybermoose89 says:

I was a tad suprised tentacles was not on wp8 its the only game far as i know that's not on my 920

Jazmac says:

So am I. It is on 7.5 but never made to WP8.

TrustySnooze says:

I've always thought it would be cool to have a mobile, touch enabled Halo Wars.

Sean Burns1 says:

They never answer questions like politicians never do as well.

cybermoose89 says:

No i mean the fact they dodged questions like a politician not that they answer just like one don't take what i say out of context lol XD

bguy_1986 says:

I would much rather know about do they have the will to fix xbox music!??!?!?!?!?!  Huge pain in my butt still....

tupolev141 says:

I would be a pretty bad journalist. I have no patience for this lol

Madmik303 says:

I don't think that enough time has passed yet to be expecting big game titles. I know we will get them, it just depends on our patients and not our complaining.
Just to add, I have the 8x and feel that its a travesty how little HTC are doing for the platform unlike Nokia.
How i wish that i had brought the L920, we haven't had any love from HTC.

Paul Acevedo says:

How many more years should we wait? What is the reason for a company not releasing its big franchises on its own platform, and what message does that send to other game developers/publishers and consumers?

Tomasz S. says:

Tentacles, the former WP7 exclusive, is STILL not WP8 compatible? Oh my gods... The mishandling and missed opportunities...

Also, the lack of Microsoft Solitaire on WP is absurd.

jlynnm350z says:

HTC has that reputation even with their Android phones. It's amazing they sell any phones at all. People, including myself should do a little research i did no research i just got lucky because i liked how the 920 looked better.

Sean Burns1 says:

Nokia should buy Microsoft

Tjalsma says:

If they are marketing guys shouldn't they be marketing something? WP is a stellar platform continuously held back by people such as those in this video.

As Paul has mentioned before, Halo Wars on WP seems like a no brainer. If you can't bring your own IP to your own platform, then there are serious issues with management and resources.

I don't mean to just complain, and I'd probably have that "always look on the bright side of life" attitude that a lot of new adapters, since WP8 has come out, have but I've been on the platform since the release of the original Focus and it's just....frustrating. The addition of this political video is just...borderline disturbing.

Paul Acevedo says:

To be fair, we discussed a lot of other subjects but this video only contains questions relevant to this editorial series. The interviewees had lots of great stuff to say on other subjects, which we'll share soon.

bono5112 says:

Paul, are you sure they were MS employees? Sound like politicians to me

Such a great series of articles Paul, very good job.

1101x10 says:

Larry Lieberman does quite a few training kind of videos where he interviews devs. Despite the criticism here I believe he is genuinely enthusiastic and supportive of Windows Phone. He hasn't done himself any favors in this interview though and looks very uncomfortable "answering" the questions.

Typical "suit" answers.  Halo should have been priority #1 with WP8.  Hell, have they even updated the Waypoint app to feature your Halo 4 stats yet instead of those from Reach?  Just turned it on...nope.  Still Reach.  WTF?!  Why does it default to an old game instead of the "latest & greatest?" 
I look at the great looking FPS being made for WP8 and want to punch myself in the face wondering why Halo and Gears haven't made some sort of appearance.  Racing games work pretty good, where is our Forza and PGR games?
GuaranF'nT that if Microsoft had 343 make a Halo WP8 game and advertised it on TV instead of a bunch of "look, you can post a FB pic faster on WP8 than Galaxy S3" crap, people WOULD want a WP8.  But hey, who am I?  Just somebody in-touch with what customers actually want instead of a stiff in a corporate office.

link5a says:

Thanks for the series, Paul!

Fndlumia says:

Calm down it still makes calls yeah?

Sam Sabri says:

You're in the wrong place if you came here and wanted us to be happy that our Windows Phone 'still make calls'.

ebradley says:

Speaking only to the written article, Ballmer needs to step up and be the CEO and say do this or find another job.

weetigo says:

Great series.  That's pretty much my take: "where's Halo?"..  It's about time Microsoft showed some faith in its own platform..

omar macias says:

Good job for microsoft but like all of us said yes their bringing new games but we need to pay for them is like android and ios they have top games and most of them their free thats what microsoft should do because if they dont they wont even become famous on mobile platform

Paul Acevedo says:

I don't think giving games away is the solution at all. I mean, free games here and there like Wordament, sure. But people who aren't poor are perfectly happy to pay for the games they want. And the kind of games that many of us want to see on WP aren't cheap to make.

williewillus says:

Just let Nokia run the WP division...

Chef316 says:

Still hard for me to believe that people game that avidly on their phones. The screen is so small, range of controls are skimped due to no controller...etc. Never thought games would be a pivotal point of sale for so many people...
...of course...all this coming from a guy who is a professional chef, working over 60 hours a week, and really only using his phone as a phone, a messaging device, a means a viewing Facebook and posting vids and pics, and checking my work and personal email with the email integration...not a power user like you all are

Andr3sfc says:

This. I recently tried Modern Combat 4, and the controls are a big pain in the *ss. Can't understand how people can really enjoy a complex game on a phone. If I want to play a FPS, off to Battlefield 3 I go. For me, mobile games are just for pastime, not a full involvement experience. But NEVERTHELESS, it's ridiculous that Microsoft can't provide a franchise hit like Halo to its own mobile platform.

Justin5267 says:

When you listed what games Microsoft has published of their IP's you forgot Ms. Splosion Man, Microsoft owns Twisted Pixel.

Paul Acevedo says:

Thanks. Will update later. Although the lack of WP8 support is disturbing!

Gemini Ace says:

This! I bought a windows phone 7 for the Xbox live integration and the games. Its a disgrace that Halo, Forza, or even a decent Fable title haven't seen the light of day on the platform.

I think MS is not releasing new games or apps right now for a reason which is their Winning Card or what they believe it will be. it is the windows blue update which is expected to come in june along with new wp phones and I think they will carry quad core and 1080 screen. and by transfering some xbox games to ios, this will make ios users think that xbox of wp has more interesting games and this will be confirmed at June where:
1-windos blue update will be released
2-a lot of xbox games will be available to wp
3-most familiar apps will come to wp(instgram)
This anticipation is what holding me back from selling my lumia920 for s4 but if this did not happen then MS is nothing but a loser and dumb company

Paul Acevedo says:

I know a lot of people except miracles from Blue, but there is no reason to think it will impact the release of titles on Windows Phone. Code is already highly portable between Windows Phone and Windows 8. The thing holding Xbox Windows Phone games back is Microsoft's willingness to fund and release new titles, not hardware or coding troubles.

Fndlumia says:

Sam I was joking, came to the wrong place, get over yourself. I have supported Microsoft since Nokia jumped on board and really like the platform, I don't nit pick and dwell on any shortcomings as it is still being developed and btw I paid for wpcentral to support u guys so don't tell me I've come to the wrong place because u are having a cry

Jazmac says:

Tough questions?  I have a easy question. What tough questions did they answer exactly? I heard a lot of "we want, we understand, its possible, certainly doable and we can't say."
I didn't really learn anything but here is what I gleaned from this. 
Microsoft's divisions seem to be very fragile and a very unforgiving place to work.  No one wants to take ownership of anything that happens. No one dare step outside the box for fear of being ridiculed by management and possibly let go. It seems to be a my way or the highway kind of gig and the "my way" part is what we as supporters get to see.
I'm not sure if this is Balmer's management style, the people below him that report to Balmer or how its always been at Microsoft under Bill Gates but it is one rigid structure. 
Only thing these two guys were missing was that Gestapo guy from Indiana Jones, their hands tied behind their backs and a bright ass spot light. lol. I mean these cats couldn't say squat about anything. 
I said it before, mobile is about being bold and taking bold steps. This feels tepid to me. Really tepid.

CarlosNunez says:

I agree that Microsoft should develop a game based in the Halo universe for WP, not an FPS, but a different game. I can't believe they haven't done it yet.

WinEXMan says:

Halo on a phone, at least update the halo waypoint app

Nakazul says:

Thank you for being our voice Paul. I like the controlled clear message and all I could wish was that Paul ran Xbox Live for Windows Phone. And I believe the article asked the right question. Are MSFT serious, and to stretch the question a bit, can they?

The structure of how MSFT is built hinders them to see the real picture. WP8 was a great train to boost gaming with Halo/Forza games to give WP some more oomph. That train has left the station, and they were pushing the train by hand. The WP team seems to be a couple of guys in a cellar garage in the eyes of MSFT corporation. The history keeps repeating itself. MSFT invents something, often something good, and fails to deliver. Several years later [insert a company name] makes a big success on it.

I hate the clear "but" sign on MSFT products:
• Windows 8 is a great and stabil OS....but the "metro" servicesisnt all there..
• Windows Phone 8 is a great upgrade. Its a great improvement over its predecessor....but there are services and software problems right out the gate.

I believe MSFT must loose their Office product department to someone else. That way they HAVE to make their great ideas into great products. Some people hate Google for throwing services out there. Well MSFT just needs to finish their projects. I get so angry sometimes when I think of the wasted/wasting opportunities MSFT keeps coming up with. Make up your mind and do it right. End of MSFT skepticism..... I love you Microsoft :D (you seriously have to be mental to love this company) Free Prozac, on the house :D

Forget Games for a moment ... Is Microsoft even talking about Office on the Windows Phone ? I mean its giving away mobile licenses for Office with every Windows Phone and there is no large scale communication regarding same !!!
Is there any mobile phone that "theoretically" does Exchange Email integration as well as Windows Phone ???  And still you have iPhone ruling the BYOD in the enterprise whereas Exchange is by the far the no. 1 corporate email platform !!!
Games / Office / Music / Camera - whats missing ???

tendoboy1984 says:

Even Sony and Nintendo have the common sense to bring their big games to their handheld systems.

The 3DS has:
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario 3D Land
Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Fire Emblem
Mario Kart
Luigi's Mansion 2
Smash Bros. (coming soon)
Zelda: A Link to the Past sequel

The PSP has:
2 God of War games
LittleBigPlanet
Gran Turismo
MidiEvil Resurrection
Twisted Metal
Hot Shots Golf

The PS Vita has:
Uncharted
Resistance
Killzone
LittleBigPlanet
WipeOut
PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale

Games sell hardware, and big games sell A LOT of hardware. Microsoft should know this, since Halo is one of their biggest franchises.

tylerh1701 says:

My biggest frustration is hearing that MS is encouraging developers to bypass the Xbox Live certification process rather than trying to fix their certification process.  

StormGroud says:

Why don't they just bring minecraft to windows phone and be done with it. Even though the controls would be horrible.

Murgatroyd7 says:

Great article, but I wish that Microsoft representatives answering questions actually resulted in us learning something!