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More mobile Xbox games delisted as Windows Phone struggles to find its way

Xbox games for Windows Phone have fallen on hard times. New releases are all but non-existent on Windows Phone, and Windows 8 releases have dwindled to a smattering of casual games that Microsoft likely commissioned long ago. This has caused a measure of discomfort to some gamers who joined the mobile Windows platforms for Xbox Live games. I felt pretty bad about it for a while (a year ago).

As if the lack of new mobile Xbox releases and PR from Microsoft wasn't bad enough, the existing lineup of Xbox Windows Phone and Windows 8 games is starting to disappear. Last month we brought the news of Zombies!!! disappearing from the Windows 8 store, only to reappear as a non-Xbox game. Many more games have been delisted within the last few weeks as well, including Carcassonne, The Harvest, and Rocket Riot. Read on for a full list and some insights into why mobile Xbox games are dropping like flies.

Zombies!!! Windows 8

Recently delisted Xbox Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT games

  • Carcassonne from Exozet (Windows Phone 7 and 8)
  • Crash Course Go from Wanako/Behavior Interactive (Windows 8, Xbox 360)
  • Disney The Little Mermaid: Undersea Treasures! From Disney (Windows 8)
  • Gunpowder (Windows 8) from Rogue Rocket
  • The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running from Other Ocean (Windows 8)
  • The Harvest from Luma Arcade (Windows 8 and Steam versions. The Windows Phone version remains at least temporarily, but is restricted to Windows Phone 7 devices.)
  • Rocket Riot from Codeglue (Windows Phone and Windows 8)
  • Royal Envoy 2 from Playrix (Windows 8)
  • Team Crossword from ? (Windows 8)
  • Zombies!!! from Babaroga (Windows 8. Windows Phone version delisted and republished without Xbox features last year.)

All of these games were published by Microsoft, as independent developers were seldom allowed to self-publish Xbox games on pre-Xbox One platforms. Some were created as work-for-hire projects for Microsoft, while others were created on the developer's own volition.

We've also heard there is a significant chance of Doodle God (Windows Phone) and Hydro Thunder Hurricane (Windows 8) being delisted in the near future. Doodle God would be no great loss since its sequels like Doodle Creatures are readily available on Windows Phone and Windows 8 anyway.

Rocket Riot for Windows Phone

Trimming the Xbox portfolio

We've seen mass delistings of mobile Xbox games in the past, most notably when Microsoft pulled nearly all of the Windows Phone 7 games with in-app purchases in September of last year. Is this latest disappearance of 10 Windows Phone and Windows 8 games a result of technical issues and unwillingness on Microsoft's part to update the titles afflicted by those issues as well?

I reached out to the developers of the affected games (except for Team Crossword since I never downloaded it and don't know who made it for Microsoft), and most were kind enough to respond.

The reason for this new mass delisting is ownership. Although Microsoft published all of the affected games and controlled some aspects of their fates (such as pricing and updates), most of the titles still belong to their individual developers. That's the sort of publishing agreement that developers generally want, but Microsoft seems to be shifting away from those deals. Recently, Ryse 2 for Xbox One was reportedly cancelled due to developer Crytek's unwillingness to relinquish ownership of the Ryse IP.

"Microsoft publishing decided to trim out any titles that they do not own, and that do not fit their current portfolio," one of the affected developers explains. The game received notice of the delisting about six weeks in advance, the notification coming by call or email. Most of the developers were given the option to republish their games without Xbox features. Exceptions include Gunpowder and Gunstringer: Dead Man Running; those games are still owned by Microsoft and will not return unless the big MS has a change of heart.

The Harvest HD for Windows 8 and Steam

Effects on developers and consumers

Developer reactions to the delistings have largely been those of disappointment:

"We were disappointed to see [our game] pulled from Windows Store as well. It's really a bummer … On the distribution front, the Windows marketplace experience was definitely a struggle."

"While we are disappointed by the decision we don't feel like any wrong was done to us. We see it as Microsoft is going through a number of internal changes and this is what happens."

"This means that anyone who purchased before will not get any further updates nor fixes, and if they switch devices, and there will be no way to get the app back. They will have to buy it again if they want it. This was not our choice… I am very done with MS publishing. Very bitter taste."

One developer took Microsoft's side:

"Microsoft is trying to stimulate developers to do more updates on their games. Letting developers publish themselves is the best way to do this."

In fact, all of the game makers who have chosen to republish are excited about the prospect of being able to update their games at will. The end result will be better versions of those games than would have existed under the mobile Xbox banner. The games that will definitely return without Xbox features include Zombies!!! (already back on both platforms), Rocket Riot, and Carcassonne. The Harvest will likely return to Windows later this year, though it's unclear whether that would mean Windows 7, Windows 8, or both.

The delistings carry some obvious downsides though:

  • A few Achievement hunters will refuse to play the new versions, as with the vast majority of mobile Windows games, because non-Xbox games don't feed their Achievement addictions.
  • A handful of the affected games simply won't return to our platforms in any form.

Just as the delistings are a matter of ownership to Microsoft, they also impact consumer ownership. As a quoted developer pointed out, players who purchased the Xbox Windows Phone versions of the delisted titles will lose access to those titles if they uninstall them or change devices. Windows 8 games can be redownloaded even if delisted, it seems. Affected players can seek refunds directly through Microsoft support. I've had some success in procuring refunds for delisted games the past.

Carcassonne

The special case of Carcassonne

The delisting experience was largely out of the developers' hands, with the exception of Exozet, makers of Carcassonne for Windows Phone. Carcassonne was the first Xbox Windows Phone game to offer real-time multiplayer, although the feature proved impractical and problematic in practice (see our review). Microsoft never cared for the real-time concept in mobile Xbox games, so developers like Exozet and Gameloft couldn't rely on established frameworks and tools in order to implement their multiplayer modes.

Exozet would have loved to improve the multiplayer via title update. They also planned to adapt the physical board game's expansions and offer them as downloadable content, as evidenced by the "Coming soon" message in the game menus. But Microsoft would not allow the developer to update the game or publish new content for it – a common complaint among mobile developers whose games Microsoft published. Check out our developer interview to learn what Carcassonne's future could have been like.

In this case, Exozet was not content to cede the future of their game to the apathetic publisher's hands. They asked Microsoft to delist the game so that they could publish a new version and retain full control over its content, features, and updates. The new version will offer an identical experience to Exozet's Carcassonne games for Windows 8 and RT (released a few months ago) and Android.

Carcassonne

Those versions of the game are built with the Unity Engine, as the new Windows Phone game will be. Windows 8 and Android players can already buy the expansions such as "Inns and Cathedrals" that were denied to them on Windows Phone.

Neither tablet version has online multiplayer just yet, but that feature will be coming soon. In fact, cross-platform online multiplayer will be coming to Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Android! Just another feature we would never have gotten from the Xbox Windows Phone game.

Although Exozet has expressed displeasure at being unable to update the phone version of Carcassonne in the past, the experience has not diminished the studio's enthusiasm for Windows platforms.

"We love working with Microsoft and we love developing for Windows platforms and therefore we are actually glad we could do this now," the developer explains.

The new Windows Phone version of Carcassonne should arrive later this month or in August. To see what it will be like right now, check out the impressive Windows 8 version.

  • Carcassonne – Windows 8 and RT – 55 MB – $3.99 – Store Link
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More mobile Xbox games delisted as Windows Phone struggles to find its way

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I sympathize with people in India having a hard time being able to pay for apps due to payment system issues. But no, that is not going to happen. The games will come back as premium games. Some will even have new in-app purchases, like Carcassonne. The developers want to profit from their work, including the work to deliver new updates to these titles.

Microsoft is becoming so incredibly stupid. Maybe they should just give up Windows and start making Android laptops, tablets, and phones. Because that seems like what they are trying to do. It's becoming increasingly difficult to be a Microsoft fan.

No more updates to a host of Microsoft products including Windows 7 from Jan 2015! (only security updates for Windows 7 from then on.)

That is more then fair. 

Security updates are just fine. 

MS should focus on the latest mainstream updates for the OS's. 

Windows 7 actual End Of Life is 2020. Pretty damn good if you ask me. 

The hell?! I don't even understand why harvest was taken off. For a brief period it was available again and it was very obvious everything but the opening video worked perfectly on WP8

Here I was hoping all the games would come back as true universal apps when this tech is actually released... Not just little images that say the app is in both stores. With the combining of windows rt and windows phone coming with threshold, the future for many apps are uncertain.

Just one day after “Gaming Day” Microsoft comes and stabs their users in the back. This furthers confirms Microsoft strange case of split personality. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde.

 

One half of Microsoft is trying so hard, pouring money, time and resources on Windows Phone, trying to make it great. But the other half doesn’t give a dang about Windows Phone at all and treat it like its bastard child. Heck, they should name the next version of Windows Phone, Windows Phone Snow. This half kills good resources like good quality Xbox games and gives top priority to rival platforms apps (Skype, Office, OneNote, Remote Desktop, etc) while neglecting their own apps.

 

It looks to me that Microsoft has so much potential and they have the power, they have the resources but they lack a passion and the direction. I don’t like Google and its ways, but I have to admit that they do have that, passion and direction.

 

To tell you the truth, I’m getting really tired of this condition. My phone contract ends by March next year and I’m really considering other options. I love Windows Phone, but it seems clear to me that one half of Microsoft doesn’t.

Here's hoping Nadella fires the lazy, pompous and frankly disinterested half of MSFT and lights a fire under the passionate half.

Oh wait... This is MSFT not Apple or Google. *sadface*

This is what happens with a new CEO. Why would anyone spend time, money, and sweat to develop new games and apps for Windows Phone or Windows 8. The apps are so damn horrible on Windows 8 what a joke. Lookout Xbox, their coming for you next. Chop, Chop!

Yeah that's what I'm seeing now, very soon they'll be ripping off Xbox although they've denied that rumor. I think there are lots of instability issues at Microsoft....a Confused company I see now.

Windows Phone Xbox is dying. It started from our Games hub. So long WP, gone are those days where we got sweet Xbox games every week. Sad

By 2055 people will be implanted with a mobile phone chip about the size of a pen head (also NSA tracking device). We want have screens because are eyes will be wearing special contacts that will show what we need to see or what they want us to see. Did anyone see the Matrix? Oh ya, and Homeland Security will be the only phone company.

That sounds stupid a major selling point was Xbox on ur phone, that's like saying apps will come once people do, but people wont come without apps

well said... MS gives up to easy if things don't work out in the beginning... if they had kept developing the xbox stuff on the winphone, they would have a draw to it, then get more market share. This just reduces the reasons for people to switch to it. ugh.

Was wondering whether to publish my game as an Xbox game or a regular one, but I'm not really seeing the benefit of going Xbox. Plus its expensive.

As far as we know, Microsoft isn't accepting new submissions for mobile Xbox games anyway. And yeah, I can give you so many quotes from experienced devs who say it's not worth the hassle at all.

One of the main reasons I liked this phone was Xbox integration, but its not a deal breaker for me since I don't play Xbox too often anymore.

As someone posted in the forums, WP is suffering death by a thousand cuts. What a waste of a great OS. And really should make people think twice before buying anything from the WP store.

I think everyone will agree that the other MS divisions should leave the Winphone/xbox divsions alone, they had been doing fine without all this intervention. MS departments seem to do great if they are left to their own decisions. XBox and Winphone had been doing great.

Geez! I paid good money for both Crash Course Go! and Hydro Thunder Hurricane... if "ownership" is an issue it is because morally you shouldn't take access away from those who've already paid for it. (PS Don't tell me I can keep it installed. What about if I need to refresh my PC?)

After reading this article that's exactly what I did... AND IT WORKED! I got refunds for all WP8 and W8 delisted games and any In-App-Purchases I had made on those games, totaling more than $125.

They refunded them to the payment method I used on a per app basis, a little bit of credit card refunds and a little bit of MS account refunds

I'm so contacting Microsoft for a refund for Carcassone. And I'm getting closer and closer to switching to Android. They've successfully dismantled the feature that made me even give WP a chance back in the day when it was announced. All other OS features that I'm depending on is available on other platforms (Xbox Music, OneDrive, Outlook etc etc).

But why buy a high-end WP to use non native apps/games? I'd rather switch to iOS due to them actually committing to their OS.

Actually I do mind small screens, but why not just jailbreak the iPad mini and get phone and messages on it? So sick of how MS has been brutally killing the whole WP lately. (Android apps, XBL, Office lacking features, XBM lost features, got rid of the usefulness of the Me tile and other stuff). All things that made me stay on WP is slowly disappearing... Which make me sad, cause WP7/8.0 Was good. 8.1 brought some good changes, but a few more bad ones.

If it runs Android apps it will only be the ones published in the Nokia X store, meaning basically nothing. Don't ever expect to have Play Store access, it will never happen.

Yeah but their ones there wont have viruses and malware.....

Industry testing and nokias show 9% infected in main channel..

75% of droid apps will run unmodified... so whats the issue?

too many people have a bug up their B###. hell the devs may actually make some more money on WP as its revenues as almost the same as playstore.

I agreed, I'm not sure if I would buy a Lumia again or change it to the rumored iPhone with larger screen. I've been a huge fan of Windows Phone since WP7, but I don't really see something that really makes me stay on the platform, by the way we already have all the Microsoft's apps -and sometimes even better- on other platforms.

I hope Microsoft face this reality and they start to give some more love to Windows Phone, I really want the plataform success!.

They wont. It has been 4 years since WP was released and they did almost no groundbreaking changes to any of their apps. Games, Mail, Music, People, Messaging, etc. All of those Apps either stayed the same or got worse. I hope they'll face it and start to make changes but at the same time I know they wont do anything.

Ok I just cancelled my Lumia 930 order from Expansy's, after being away from WP for a year and a half I was going to come back, but after reading this thread it just feels like a sinking ship now. Talks about Microsoft switching to a services company and dropping hardware may be a bit down the road but they haven't given me much reason for hope in the future and makes me feel wary to invest.

Xbox on Windows Phone was one of the main reasons I bought into the platform, along with xbox music and office, and those main features are disappearing or becoming non exclusive enough that it's not a reason to adopt the platform.

Yeah, its starting to get useless. Really starting to consider going full Linux + android or OSX + iOS...

I don't understand the cries over the games hub. Is it just because games are listed in the apps list now?

It's a piece of shit. Slow, constantly updating..., you can't uninstall games from it, when you open a game it still has "new" tag in the applist. The avatar is blurry. I really don't know what they're doing. Belfiore has to go. And he should take Myerson with him. These two guys are going to kill WP. Nadella has to stop them before it's too late.

I feel like it's the other way around. Belfiore has been since they announced Windows Phone 7 Series in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress back in 2010! Myerson was (I think) either the Windows or Xbox team. It is Nadella who's the new player here, he was doing Azure!

I agree with astroXP, but Nadella shouldn't go, he should get a huge firmly grip of the whole situation and clear this up.

The official hub seems XBL-centric.
It's making less and less sense to have our that way. + The apps exist now to make custom "hubs" or folders that are probably easier to use.
Things change.

seems faster.... Lol... On all seriousness the games hub is faster than when 8.1 fist came out. Not being able to uninstall in a pain.

I don't give a monkeys about XBL. A good game is a good game without silly bragging rights, but MS have fucked up royally on the Games hub front. It's slow and clunky, jittery and laggy, constantly updating. The little avatar man doesn't do the funny stuff he used to do and the games are all in the apps list. It's a confusing mess.

Microsoft were bragging about how big changes were coming to xbox live etc, i just didn't think they meant ruining wp xbox live even more!!!

HTC M8 is a beautiful phone... But what hardware gives me a decent camera, up to date specs, wireless charging, NFC and the ability to use 128GB SD cards? Choices are limited for those of us who want it all... And personally, I'm done paying for compromise. Some say be patient... I feel I've BEEN patient. Wait time is over now. I want what I want and nothing less is acceptable.

Although Xbox for Windows Phone is dying/dead, the Windows Phone platform itself is doing better than ever. More and more game developers come over - they just can't use Xbox features any more.

Yeah, it's a shame that for some of us it feels like the whole OS is dead now.. Xbox was one of the main selling points for me, but now I can't use it because the games hub won't sign in and I can't earn Achievements. Other thing is Xbox Music, which is improving (while Xbox Games isn't), but still quite a bit behind. While those are minor for some, for others it might be huge.. Then there's also the fact that even MS is making Android phones now and that's quite ironic...

I'm very pissed about XL going out of WP and that makes me consider Android, and if I could get a high-end MS android I could switch to that...

Thats exactly the problem with xbox games: Updates. I cant believe that Devs are not allowed to update their own games in most cases. Xbox Live for Mobile has to go. seriously it hast to be replaced with something like Xbox Indie or something like that. I hope that Xbox framework
they are working on comes sooner then later.

They can make it work, just as they did for the Xbox indie games one but for some reason there are people within Microsoft's Xbox division who have a burning hatred for Windows Phone and the company is so lacking in leadership no one will do anything about it till apple or google take the lead and show them the way, yet again.

and how exactly do xbox indie games differ from non-xbox games on windows phone? Both don't have XB achievments, both are prettymuch independend from MS.

I think I heard that Microsoft has come to understand what a tremendous obstacle they created with their Xbox Live process on the phone that simply was NOT working and this might be the actual result. Maybe its for the best, they completely moth balled their mobile OS and redid the entire thing for WP7 and onward. So they should rethink and revise their games strategy for the good of developers and their customers. Like GladOS would say, "Killing products and giving good service shouldn't be mutually exclusive. The rocket really is the way to go..."

None on the list really interested me so I can say i wont miss them.
This is like the tactics Nintendo used in the 80s with the famicom disk system

Laaaaame. I bought into WP7 because of Xbox live integration. Now its gone and well....im not sure how I feel about that.

Paul, achievements are a big part of Xbox gaming. Just because we're talking about a phone doesnt make them less so. Werent achievements one of the highlights of the Master Chief collection when Microsoft announced it at E3? Wasnt their success the reason Sony copied them with their Trophies? Just because Microsoft screwed up Xbox on WP doesnt mean we should dismiss a big part of why millions of gamers enjoy the Xbox platform.

Exactly! People like Paul just don't get it, yes there is achievement junkies out there but many people download and buy games for that extra benefit of being able to gain rewards that actually mean something in the form of Xbox live integration! I think Microsoft is destroying a perfectly viable market and something that made Windows Phone stand out from the rest!

It's funny you say that because I completely understand wanting to earn Achievements and Xbox Live being a motivating factor for purchasing a WP or Windows 8 device. I've been with Windows Phone since the beginning and covered all the gaming ups and downs along the way. I'm also the one who continues to discuss Achievements in his reviews here - the rest of the staff doesn't do that.

The difference is that while I like Achievements, they're not more important than the games themselves to me. I play games to play games. If I can get Achievements too then I am happy. I do not need those Achievements in order to enjoy a game.

Exactly! Do whatever it takes to get the games and apps rolling in, which increases market share, which increases dev support.

Once Windows Phone is on the radar (at this point, nobody I know has one or has even really seen one besides mine) features like Xbox Live integration will become a higher priority. Right now, the priority is to remove obstacles that prevent devs from bringing their apps/games to WP. Xbox Live is one of those obstacles.

No, Microsoft's incompetent leadership, particualrly in the Windows Phone division, is the obstacle. Xbox Live on WP easily could be fixed. ID(at)Xbox could easily be brought over. But instead, Microsoft would rather alienate developers and customers. From the article: "This was not our choice… I am very done with MS publishing. Very bitter taste." Those are damning words that get around the developer community. Customers who bought into Windows Phone, who supported it by buying apps, who now don't have access to some of those apps again, should be furious. They were cheated. Everyone here absolutely should demand refund for every single delisted app and game on Windows Phone. I've gotten back $30 in the past week. If everyone did that and called out Microsoft on Twitter about it in the process, only then will the company wake up.

As for achievement-obsessed gamers, I don't understand the animosity towards them. Think about it from their perspective: gaming is fun, but gaming with achievements is even more fun, and Windows Phone launched with the promise of Xbox gaming on the go. There is a reason Sony and Valve and a dozen other companies filched the idea from Microsoft: it completely revolutionized gaming by making it truly social. Of course we enjoy gaming, but gaming with achievements makes it infinitely better, allowing us to compete with friends in one giant competition called "gaming", comparing Gamerscores across all platforms, comparing achievements and high scores within games. Playing games without the social integration that achievements and Xbox Live bring is like hitting a hole-in-one when nobody is looking. It's lonely because there is nobody to share it with.

Now, think about these achievement hunters who likely switched over from much more gaming-rich platforms (iOS and Android) to Windows Phone, signing 2-year contracts, convincing their friends and family to do the same, etc. And during htat 2-year contract, what happens? Xbox releases slow down from once a week to once every two months while, in the meantime, dozens of existing Xbox games are delisted. They have a right to be royally pissed off and don't deserve at all any animosity from judgmental others who don't have the same interests. They deserve empathy.

I for one will not give up until Microsoft, via an official announcement, tells me to. I'll continue to call them out on their mistreatment of developers and customers and remind them via #SaveXboxWP on Twitter and Uservoice that they're behavior is unacceptable. And I urge anyone else who cares about consumer rights to do the same, starting here.

 

I'll just clarify that I don't have any thing against those who enjoy achievements. I guess for me, my indifference to them probably comes from not being that social of a gamer. Granted, I enjoy local multiplayer. But that's as far as the social aspect for gaming goes with me. I have friends on Xbox Live. But I'm mostly a solitary gamer.

I also think alot of games have achievements set up that are way too artificial and take you out of enjoying the game and just worrying about unlocking a particular achievement. I remember allowing myself to get caught up in doing menial things that really end up making a game more tedious than fun.

Yea, I agree that Microsoft kind of has its head up its ass and they need to be fixing the stuff that people want. There is nothing wrong with being an achievement hunter and I can understand their frustration if that is what they bought into. 

My point, especially when talking about social gaming, was that Xbox Live achievements do absolutely nothing for me personally. All my friends and family that I would game with are on other platforms, which don't have Xbox Live achievments yet, and I don't have all the games they are playing.

To truly be a "social gamer" the games and achievements need to be cross platform, otherwise I'm alienating myself by using a WP. Even then, if Xbox Live goes to all platforms, what will keep the achievement hunters on WP if they don't have all the games that others are playing?

As much as I would hate to see WP fail, that is the point of capitalism. If they aren't willing to give the users what they want, the users will find another platform to go to and new users won't be coming.

Read the reply from "coip" below! I think I now know why you couldn't care less wether games have achievements or not Paul... It's because you probably suck at games and wouldn't get that many achievements anyways.. LOL! Just joking buddy! :)

While this is all well and good, and I agree with you on the sentiment of playing games for enjoyment above all else: we can't dismiss that the WP lost its biggest selling point with regards to games. People already had bountiful choices of games on both iOS and Android. We were not wanting for access, functionality, choice, or value in mobile gaming before WP came along. So for people who truly just want to play these games as a larf and to pass time enjoyably in small doses: they had that ability before. Windows Phone didn't add it to their lives nor did it need to.

What it did add, of course, is the ability to earn Xbox achievements. Keeping them tied in with the same overarching (and optional) metagame people had been enjoying for years on 360 - now extending to Xbox One, etc. Whether or not people take part in that themselves, it's a nice feature to have. And it gave the gaming aspect of WP a feeling of purpose and uniqueness (in a market that didn't seemingly need another mobile gaming device otherwise.) It's a shame it didn't work out so well, but that's mostly due to stoicism and archaic practices on MS's part that they could easily move past (and have, in the case of Xbox One.)

I can tell you've grown a slight distaste for achievements, mind you, and I can relate to this myself (from your referencing them as an "addiction" in the article.) Keep in mind that most gaming today, including the kind that doesn't involve achievements or trophies, is still based around addiction gameplay (increasing stats and so on which are absolutely meaningless in the long run.) The mobile space at large, in so many ways, preys on people's OCD to monetize their product. In a way achievements/trophies or overarching console-specific metagames could never dream of achieving. There is a serious problem with the gaming space at large, not with achievements.

And of course, along with the WP games themselves losing LIVE support, there's also the issue that most of Microsoft's gaming-related apps (like Smartglass) have come out on iOS and Android SOONER. And in better or more user-friendly states to boot. That seems like shooting themselves in the foot. I love my Windows Phone and the OS it has, I'm gonna stick with it, but at the same time: I can't tell people that I have it because it provides me unique software experiences. The other platforms have exponentially more games and apps, and they have no deficiencies which would make me run from them if I were one of their customers instead.

Great comment, ShinUkyo! We need thoughtful discourse like that; I hope you'll stick around and become a part of this site's community.

You're very right about mobile games relying on OCD and addiction in order to keep people playing. I find that troubling in general.

To clarify, I don't mind Achievements one bit. Well, sometimes they change the way I play and make a game less enjoyable - such as having to use a guide in order to avoid missing collectibles, or playing on a higher difficulty that just isn't fun. But I've been a hardcore Achievement hunter and I still consider myself a casual one.

The problem isn't Achievements, but the unhealthy behavior that some people have developed as a result of them. These individuals literally won't buy or play games that don't support their addiction for a specific type of Achievement. They're not playing games to have fun but to feed their addiction. That just can't be healthy.

The same people are really bad for the Windows ecosystem because they don't buy or play games for it. They hurt the developers who do support our ecosystem and rely on it for their livelihoods. And they leave pointless "no xbox no buy" comments on stories about games - the VAST majority of games for these platforms, when the developers of those games never had a choice in supporting Xbox or not. It benefits nobody.

If they left Windows Phone behind for the perceived greener pastures of Android and iOS, they still wouldn't get the Xbox Achievements that they crave over the desire to play games and have fun. Wouldn't they just continue not buying games and not having fun? They'd literally have to break the addiction in order to start playing non-Xbox games again, which would be better for them in the long run.

Leaving Windows Phone because of perceived mismanagement by Microsoft, I actually understand. Microsoft bungled mobile Xbox Live games so badly, and continually fails to entice important developers like King from bringing their games over. To say nothing of Xbox Music, the Games hub, the inability to redownload delisted games and apps, and many other grievances. I'm not saying people should leave this ecosystem behind, but I understand why they get frustrated.

Also, Xbox Windows Phone has been dying since at least the beginning of 2013. Things like games getting delisted are sad, but we've had a lot of time to discover Microsoft's disinterest in mobile Xbox games and get over it. Some people had their fingers in their ears when we pointed out these problems last year... But I had to be a grown up and get over it. Otherwise what the heck would I have been writing about once the Xbox games stopped coming? And I'd have done a disservice to all the new developers who join the ecosystem and make great games that literally cannot be Xbox Live-enabled if I continued to overlook them or treat their games like second-class citizens.

Phew! These are just some things I think about as I try to gather my thoughts well enough to write an editorial on the subject. It's a hard nut to crack, because convincing people that they need to give up an addiction or gain perspective is really tough. I probably need to research the psychological perspective more first.

I'm in the top 500 in the world for gamescore. It's a hobby of mine. Just because I don't play games without achievements doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the games with achievements. I just don't see the point in playing something without achievements when there is so many choices with achievements that even with the astronomical amount of time I spend on my hobby that I would *NEVER* run out of games to play.

 

I'll give you an example of how it could work in other hobbies. One I know of that I was big into... Geocaching. It's a worldwide treasure-hunting game where you look for containers hidden in the woods, or in urban area's. Other people playing the game can hide one of there own, and list the GPS coordinates on the site. There's mulitpule websites on there where you can find geocaches, opencaching.com for example. However, there are many, many people who will only hunt for geocaches using one website so they can get there, "find count" up (The number of geocaches they found).

 

Does that mean that the people who choose to do so have an addiction to geocaching? And will only hunt them on there perferred site to feed there addiction? No, of course not! There are many people who hunt for geocaches casually, maybe for a couple hours each weekend. They just want to feel like they are contributing something while they do it.

 

Same thing with achievement hunters. There are many, many achievement hunters who only game an hour or two a day. Which I would assume is a normal amount of gaming to do after work and between there social life and other neccessary activities (making dinner, laundry, ect. ect.) That doesn't mean they are addicted to gaming or achievements, just that they want to be working towards something while they are doing what they love.

 

This is the same reason why people generally choose one MMORPG and play that for years. There's people who have 100 days (2400 hours!!!) of time played in World of Warcraft for example. Could they be having more fun playing Guild Wars? Possibly, but by sticking with one game, they are working towards something. (Also, just to add, there are people who only spend an hour or two playing World of Warcraft a day, clearly not addicted, but refuse to play other games.)

 

Here's an example I know first hand. Gotham City Imposters was switched to a Free to Play game on steam from the original GFWL. I picked up the game because I wanted to get the achievements, obviously steam achievements don't count towards gamerscore. Here's what I found interesting. The game was nearly dead, you could only get a match every 30-45 mins. One of the people who had frequently played it had 15 days of gameplay time. I asked him in chat, "Why don't you just play the Free to Play steam version" he replied, "I've poured so many hours into this version that I will continue to play it until finding a match becomes impossible."

 

That's the thing you don't get. In life, people want to feel accomplished. People want to feel like they are always working towards something greater. That's why leveling systems are put into games. So while you're playing the game, you feel like your making progress towards something greater. Leveling up. Many, many games have a leveling system that offers no rewards. Nothing. Uno and Friend's for example. You get nothing. Not a god damn thing for leveling up. Yet they added it. For one reason, to make you feel like your accomplishing something why you play.

 

You know what i've never done in my life? Watch TV. I don't have a TV. No cable box. I don't have DVD's I can watch. I don't have Netflix or HULU. I don't watch TV because it feels like a waste when I could be doing something greater.

 

Also, do you honestly think the people who say, "No xbox no buy" would've ever even bought a Windows Phone if it didn't have achievements? Most people I know of that got a windows phone got it strictly for achievements. The phone's are universally hailed as horrible. I like them, personally. (Mostly because I type constantly on them, and typing on android and IoS is actually really bad). But they are so looked down upon I won't surf the web on my windows phone in public. For many, many people, especially those who view your websites, these phones were bought for the sole purpose of achievements. Myself included. The average joe just thinks they are junk.

 

Here's your definition of addiction

 

"Someone who has a hobby they enjoy during there free-time, but choose to enjoy there hobby the way they want. Whether that means play one individual game, play one individual brand, or hunt geocaches on one individual site".

 

I just don't see how someone who maintains a job/education. Has a social life, takes cares of all life responsibilities is suddenly an addict because he spend his only couple of hours of free-time a day doing what he wants to do. You're wrong. Plain and simple.

 

A VOICE OF REASON!!!! you see Paul, it is very easy to call some one that comments"no xbox no buy" an addict and hate on them as you clearly do, but your narrow minded perspective stops you from seeing it from these so called "unhealthy addicts" point of view! Gaming on my phone to me is basically killing time and not too long ago you would have only found Xbox games installed on my phone but now I have games like Asphalt 8 and GT racing that I also play, because of the quality! So I don't know why you guys hate achievement hunters so badly as for every one "no xbox no buy" comment there is 20 - 30 comments from people who WILL install and play that non xbox game! So really! Stop saying crap like achievement hunters are bad for our ecosystem! Xbox integration just makes games..... More worth playing.... If I can put it that way, because you feel like you are actually working towards something bigger!

The Blood, if you play games like Asphalt 8 and GT Racing then you're obviously not one of the people I was talking about. Achievement hunters are not bad for the ecosystem. People who refuse to play non-Xbox games are bad for the ecosystem. The presence of one trait does not automatically guarantee the other.

Paul I love the fact that you know what your talking about. The only difference between our 2 points of view are that I feel there is this great animosity towards maybe 3% of our community that comment here and refuse to spend money or time on non Xbox games. These people just state their undying allegiance to the platform that we all love above all else and for that they get labeled as "bad for the ecosystem" and get hated on! Yes Windows Phone is desperately in need of developer support and I think its awesome that more great AAA titles from big and small studios join the Microsoft party but lets not go against the core followers, the fanboys, the hard headed fans that expect more from Microsoft! If it was not for these people WP would never have taken off and developers would be Waaaaaay less interested then they are now. We are all addicted to expecting the best from Microsoft. Lets not pretend that the relatively small group of people that only play Xbox games on their windows phones will deter or demotivate developers any more then Microsoft themselves did!!

If you expect the best from Microsoft where Windows Phone gaming is concerned... sniff But yeah, it's understandable that people used to the great console experience would expect more from the same company's mobile platforms. At least, initially. Once you've bought in, you have to realize the reality of the situation before too long. Not that things aren't improving, if we overlook Xbox Live-related stuff and the Games hub.

You're probably right that the number of people who won't play non-Xbox games on these platforms is a pretty small group. I will have to think about what they mean to the big picture.

Coldgears, I certainly didn't mean to imply that anyone lacked a job or education. I don't think addiction has to ruin someone's life in order to be a real thing.

Here's the definition of addiction that my theory springs from:

  • -a strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something
  • -an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

 

Operating under this definition, the harm could be several things:

  • -inability to play or maintain interest in games that don't feed the need for Achievements
  • -performing optional tasks within a game that the user does not enjoy or continuing to play a game that the user does not enjoy, solely in the pursuit of Achievements
  • -avoiding games the player would otherwise like to play due to achievement-related reasons (time commitment, unattainable Achievement, lack of Achievements, etc.). The "No xbox no buy" people fall into this category, unless their mission is literally to troll stories about every non-Xbox game.
  • -the refusal to purchase games within the the ecosystem due to a lack of Achievements hurts individual game developers and the ecosystem as a whole

 

Obviously, liking or craving Achievements is not synonymous with the effects listed above. You can like them but not suffer/engage in some or all of the negative effects. And I am by no means critical of people who seek Achievements or try to complete all of a game's Achievements. I'm much more concerned with the impact that people who exhibit the 1st, 3rd, and 4th traits have on the mobile Windows ecosystem.

 

Remember, I have a horse in this race. I want Windows Phone to be successful and for developers who support Windows Phone to be successful. These are desires that might not be shared by you or the people who fall into the categories above.

One of the reasons I haven't written an editorial on this subject is because it requires time-consuming research. I want to support any points I make with factual data or at least really well-reasoned argument.

 

A quick search did find a few good articles about Achievement addiction, but it's not a widely-discussed subject:

 

But there might not be enough research out there to support my position, in which case I'd have to focus on gathering support from other sources (such as developer testimonials). It's a work in progress.

Sigh... Unordered lists don't seem to be supported in comments.

That was my whole point of the average joe hates the windows phone and people only really bought it for the achievements paragraph.

Maybe it is an addiction. If it's not harming anything else in a person's life other than there gaming habits what does it matter if it is or not? Someone could have a mental addiction to anything, if it's not a harmful one to anything else in there life it's really nobodies business but theres.

It's clear you seem to be upset with people because you think that people only buying Xbox-enabled games is the reason that the ecosystem is failing. It's not! The diehard fans of the thing are for the most part people who bought it *FOR* the achievements. It's understandable that they would be upset at delistings or that games are being released regularly without achievements.

I'm an achievement hunter, and just the other day I played a game without achievements. Paid $3 for it on the android, blek. I saw it on a review on Polygon and I spent maybe an hour on it. This was a very, very rare occurance for me. Last time I bought and played a game without achievements was 8-9 months before this.

Even still, I still want to complain about "No xbox no buy". I think the whole, "No xbox no buy" is less about, "I hate this game because it's not xbox enabled", and more about, "I paid $400-$600 for this device to get Xbox game's, and nobody is supporting it".

It's very likely that the people complaining about the lack of xbox games are buying/playing other games on occasion. Even if it is a very rare occurance, or they only play them for a few minutes.

Even in the world where the people who say, "No xbox no buy" refuse to *EVER* play a game without achievements (This is very likely, I'm nearly to that point). That still doesn't mean that they aren't buying apps. 

Maybe they don't want to play Non-Xbox games, that doesn't mean they don't want to purchase photo-editing software to quickly edit a picture they took. That doesn't mean they don't want to pay $3 to get an app to listen to Podcasts while they are at work.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the fact people who would've have an android or IoS getting a windows phone *HELPED* the app market because they are buying apps.

Not spending your time playing games without achievements doesn't mean you don't do anything with your time other than get achievements. Apps are used constantly by everyone. Achievement hunters are not the exception.

Here's the deal (and the reason I put in the fact that the average joe hates it and thinks they are junk... Even though I love the thing!), the windows phone is somewhere between 3-5% of the worldwide marketshare. That is the lone singular reason why the Windows Phone Ecosystem is failing.

You can't blame achievement hunters for ruining the ecosystem by not buying games with achievements. Use your brain! If the thing didn't have achievements, than they wouldn't be buying anything... Achievements or not... They wouldn't even have bought it!

The *ONLY* way to fix the ecosystem is get a bigger marketshare. Going on tirades agaisn't achievement hunters isn't going to work.

Who's to blame? I don't know. Maybe microsoft, maybe the people for not accepting it as a viable product. It doesn't really matter to me. I just know it's not achievements hunters.

Thanks for the kind welcome, and it's nice to meet you! I loved your article, by the way, and I appreciated it even more as a writer myself. Not enough articles come out on subjects like these from people who actually know the subject extensively enough (and who show respect to all sides of it.) Cheers for that, to start! I felt compelled to respond when I saw how you were having some good conversations in the comments section. Not enough writers do that either, sadly. I've been a long-time lurker on WPCentral, but I'm going to try and make it a point to be more active in the forums. Anyway:

Achievements are a very tricky thing to write about. Believe me I know. I've been gaming for three decades, I know it from both the perspective of a consumer and at various points as someone involved in the production/distro side. I'm also a studied and lifelong writer. But DESPITE all that: I've been putting off writing articles on achievements, why I like and dislike them, why they're both amazingly good and tragically bad for gaming, etc. I'm extremely apprehensive to get started on it, even. It's a subject that readers tend to get very emotional about on both sides of the fence (love/hate,) and so you have to tread tenuously when laying out any information. It's like the gaming equivalent of trying to write a politics or religion post for a mainstream publication haha.

As for my own approach to achievements: I appreciate them a lot, and have been glad to pursue them on all three major platforms that offer 'em (XBL, PSN, and Steam.) But at the same time, I'm not one of the types who can be chasing them down 365 days a year. And I could never play games purely for score/trophies/etc. I will play and complete the living daylights out of those rarer games which I truly enjoy, but I am more than happy to leave achievement lists incomplete when the final ones ask you for more time than you can justify spending on something. Stuff like the highest difficulty on Ninja Gaiden 2, "Seriously" in the Gears games, etc. You always have to ask yourself if you'll regret that time spent in the end. It's hard, often, to have foresight rather than hind.

There is a very real subset of people, a decently large one I should say, that has genuine achievement addiction. Like the kind you could very readily diagnose. But at the same time, like many manifestations of addictive personality disorders, I will say two major things. Firstly: people don't deserve to be looked down upon for it (I know you agree with this, I'm just stating it for the loads of people that probably don't realize.) And secondly: the object of their addiction is not inherently bad simply because it's being misused. One of the most dangerous forms of addiction is workaholism, yet "working" in itself is neither inherently good nor bad. It's usually good, but it can readily be both depending on how (and how often) it's used.

People also tend to flavor their opinion of something with personal experience. Most gamers/writers have predominantly seen the bad side of achievements, their misuse or their misguiding, and so they can't help but think they're more bad than good. In a similar way, I know countless people who think gaming itself is inherently addictive and bad for you. And these are people who developed this opinion well before achievements ever came along (thanks to MMO/FPS titles on PC, the stupid levels of game-padding in much of the PS2 or original XBOX era, etc.)

They can't possibly know better, though, because that's all that the mainstream tended to show them about gamers. Not all the wonderful things that gaming often brings: socialization, development aid in cognitive or motor skills, reception to art and imagination, etc. Just like how most people haven't seen the good side of achievements. The one that isn't just a cop-out for lazy developers who want to pad their games' playtime, or a potential target of addictive personality types. But I shouldn't elaborate/babble now because I'm inadvertently starting to write my own article haha. ^_^;;

Yeah I guess it's just really hard to let go of the physiological leverage that the xbox achievement points have over you. It's silly but it's more like you're working towards something bigger than you, a goal or purpose. I actually find it hard to play iOS games because I figure what's the point, there's nothing tangible I get out of it besides the momentary enjoyment. 

Microsoft added the points system in the first place because they understand the psychology. 

It is FUN.
It's just that some of us dream of this Utopía where we buy an Xbox Game and play them everywhere (WP, Windows PC, Windows Tablets).

This is not true. Achievments are a big part about gaming, especially on the social part of it. The problem with Xbox on WP right now is that it doesn not incorporate shit about anything of that. We need something new. More simple for devs and more social for gamers. Sheeesh most people buy iPhones just because of Gaming! Wtf is Microsoft trying to do? We are the only platform without any GamingNetwork as ours got killed by its owner!

I agree. I don't own an Xbox, so could care less either way. With that said, I hope that all these changes help devs want to bring more games to WP. Example list at the bottom of just a few of the games that I have to grab my Android tablet to play.

I just got my first WP last year and so far I'm loving the design language and how it runs, but there are many things that I'm used to being able to do with my Android (Bluetooth PS3 controller for touchscreen games and console emulators, app availability, everything is cusomizable) that it may be hard to stick around.

Not trying to bash WP at all, I'm just saying that I hope they have something up their sleeve to get more devs attention in order to get this platform growing. I love Microsoft and would love to see WP hit the #1 spot.

Games that I wish I could play on my WP:

  • Age of Zombies
  • Arcane Legends
  • Battleheart
  • Bingo Blitz
  • Clash of Clans
  • Dead Trigger 1 or 2
  • Monster Shooter
  • Monster Legends
  • Ravensword 2
  • Samurai 2: Vengenance
  • Shadowgun
  • Zenonia series
  • Zombiewood

Ugh... Xbox for Windows Phone, what a great concept! What a tragedy it went down the shitter because Microsoft is so stubborn...

They should have built it into the best mobile gaming framework (like Google Play Games, Apple's Game Centre), why squander an opportunity to differentiate your platform?

Personally I think the real problem lies with MS internally. It seem as though more than one department can't or won't ascribe to the new direction (Office, Xbox, Music, etc...). The individual heads have been enjoying their individuality too much and subsequently refusing to cooperate with others. Just my guess based mainly from what I see go on in the government sector daily.

This is sad for me as I do not have a Facebook account. Games without Xbox Live support they rely on Facebook for any kind of social or sync aspects. This means most every game on the store is unplayable for me. Huge disappointment.

You still need to gather friends for the social aspect, and by gathering friends on FB, they all expect you to actively use it to know what's up (parties, gatherings etc etc). That's why both me and my fiance is missing out on a lot that our families are planning.

Obviously if the game requires friends to be on your friends list, then you would add them to your Facebook list. But that same step would be required from games for Xbox, Playstation, Steam, Google Play, Game Center, etc. Many games do use Facebook login for cloud save support, even if they don't offer social features. And cloud saves are essential IMO.

Cloud saving or not most of us dont want to have anything to do with Facebook. I dont want any data of me on their servers.

Well, if you care more about avoiding a website than playing games, that's totally up to you. It doesn't benefit you as a gamer at all, but still up to you.

MS is trimming it's uniqueness instead of encouraging it. WP cannot take over android by pretending to work as android

WHAT??? No Rocket Riot anymore? :'(
F**k you MS!

At least they should be remain for the people who already bought these games...

Really don't see the big deal about achievements nor Xbox banner on these games. I just don't see it. To switch phones to another OS that doesn't even have Xbox live itself, over this... Seems silly. What am I missing?

The Xbox integration WAS a BIG deal for a lot of people when they launched WP7. Without it, I would've probably ignored WP due to the lack of customizations. Back then I was focusing on Xbox and Android ROM development, but I left Android due to the achievements.

because we get MORE GAMES, CURRENT GAMES, MANY MULTIPLAYER OPTIONS ...AND CANDY CRUSH....AND MORE GAMES !!!

Yes...where is CANDY CRUSH ?

I don't care as much of being unlisted, but I really don't like the fact they're revoking my paid license. If they're doing it here, what's stopping them with revoking the digital games on X1 ? MS are heading to a really evil digital license future... They should always allow me to download the game that I paid for. Any known way to get a pirated copy for future installs?

On Xbox 360 and presumably Xbox One, users can download delisted items from their purchase history lists. Only Windows Phone and Windows 8 have failed to offer that basic feature.

On windows 8 you can install your purchased apps from the store, even if they are delisted.
Go to STORE>MY APPS>ALL APPS. Find your app, right click on it and then press the INSTALL button at the bottom.
So users can switch devices or reinstall windows and then install they apps.

Thanks! I knew about the Xbox 360, but not about Windows 8. Sadly, WP is still revoking paid licensing... That's still a very bad move by MS.

It seemed like they had a good idea that could not be practically implemented. It sucks but achievements are just make believe points.

Basically, this is Microsoft f*cking things up AS USUAL.

 

You know what? F*ck'em! I'm done with gaming on Windows Phone.

My 930 will not have a single game installed. I'm not wasting my already very limited storage capacity on non-Xbox games.

If Microsoft itself is ruining Xbox-Live games, I rather buy a Sony Xperia device and do my gaming there.

At least I'll still get PlayStation achievements along with always better and more recent versions of the same game. Not to mention developers - like Gameloft and Rovio - on Android keep doing promotions etc.

 

Obviously Windows Phone is not the OS for gaming. Along the other things it's not an OS for.

Thanks to the idiots in charge at Microsoft, WP is becoming an OS for...for...for...for lovers of tiled designs? Yeah. That's it. 

 

No wonder Microsoft may be considering Android on Lumia devices. Actually, if that's the committment to mobile they have...better just give up. Close Microsoft Mobile, put an end to Windows Phone and stick to Windows, Office and your cloud products.

Leave mobile for those who understand it. Which seems to be everyone except Microsoft.

Well said. Exactly my thoughts. Xbox on Windows Phone as a whole may it be Video, Music or Games is dead. It is a useless pathetic Platform. My first thought which comes into my mind when in hear "Xbox" is Frustration.
Those Idiots at the Xbox Division have clearly a bias against windows phone. They fucked up every single bit about Xbox on WP.
I cannot undestand what those guys are doing or what they were thinking to justify all these changes, do they even have a plan on mobile? It doesnt look like they have.
Entertainment on a Mobile device is essential. It needs to be fluid at the same time robust, the exact opposite of what it is right now which is kind of saddening.

Apart from that, why do they pull Apps from the store without informing all those Users who paid for this App?

I don't know about what everyone is thinking, but I am moving to an iPhone next cycle. As much as the hardware is good, the developers only care about iPhone first, Android second and maybe Windows Phone..

Hi, while I can certainly see the displeasure by both devs and XBL players alike, I would like to know what percentage of XBL enabled games were in fact purchased because they were XBL enabled.  I am a huge MS enthusiast with investments in their entire stack.  I have a XBLG membership but not because I care about achievements and rankings. I wonder how many consumers this will really impact if you set aside the quite vocal XBL fans particularly for those games/studios that intend to publish directly and without (obviously) XBL branding.  I suspect this probably at the bottom of the platform's problems.  It was a benefit and a draw, for sure, but I remain skeptical a little reorganization and priority shift is going to be their Achilles heel or dramatic downfall.

Well I'll be in the minority here, but I'm really glad they are stopping with the Xbox games on WP.  It was always a huge problem for indie game developers.  If you made a great game for WP, it never got the attention it deserved unless it was a Xbox game.  However, in order to get Xbox certified, you had to pay huge fees up front and then ongoing royalties and crap to Microsoft as a publisher.  To me, all games on the WP platform should be on an equal footing and devs shouldn't have to hand over the keys to the kingdom to MS just to give their game a decent change of being downloaded by users.

If only Microsoft hadn't had such abominable restrictions on getting a game Xbox certified in the beginning I think the Xbox branding/integration could have been good, but it was always a huge hurtle and drove away lots of iOS game devs looking at putting their games on the WP platform.

The solution is not to take away Xbox branding; it's to bring ID(at)Xbox to Windows Phone so all indies can make Xbox games without interference from Microsoft Studios and finally get the recognition they deserve. Vote for it in uservoice, details here.

I was able to download the harvest on win 8, shame its stuck on WP 7 because it ran fine on my 920 but I lost it when I wiped after a 8.1 upgrade...

Then why not remove the monetary hurdle and make Xbox Live games free to publish? Achievements add a ton to games.

Every article have atleast one "when 8.1 comes to India" comment... Just... wait until it's getting released. Or if you can't wait, install DP.

Satya is going to bring Xbox games to all platforms. It's a part of his cloud strategy. This is my take and please state asking, "what is Satya doing" as he is the man everyone here was asking for

This does seem a bit of a blower. I can see why MS would want a bit of control over updates etc when they have their brand stamped on the games. Clearly the particular department running the xbox mobile games either had too much on their plate. I'd imagine it's not their sole job, probably just something another department handles when they've nothing else to do. Or maybe MS has something else in the pipeline. Possibly a hand held console. Possibly much of the team was integrated into ID@Xbox, that was a very sudden department that popped up from nowhere.

The Xbox Live branding for the games was tying the hands of the developers too much with stringent requirements and inability to update apps without a bunch of red tape. This is great news, despite the usual cries of doom & gloom from people here. Wake up people, the unnecessary Xbox branding and bureaucracy that came with it was holding the games back, not making them better. This is great news, hopefully they have something even better lined up.

It's good in a way. But if Microsoft would change the mobile Xbox Live restrictions to match those of Game Center and Google Play, that would be great news and it would please pretty much everybody.

Yup, Google Play has become pretty awesome with their achievements and cloud saves. Almost every game I've played on Android has Google Play achievements, so obviously things like this can be done without making devs jump thru a bunch of hoops.

Why does Microsoft want to put so much control over the developers. I just don't understand. Seems like they didn't learn anything from the announcement of the Xbox One

Such a shame, the Xbox brand was the reason that first brought me to Windows Phone. It should be a marketing tool, but they'd rather not deal with it.

I bought into the phone for The achievements nothing else. If the xbox games dont start re appearing or new ones they are going to loose a lot of customers. MS need to give xbox games on wp a good try, stop making it hard to publish them and get more on board. Xbox games in past always sold more on wp. Wonder why....people wanted the achievements..

**** Microsoft. I came to windows phone because of Nokia, and Microsoft has slowly, and surely, proceeded to completely **** everything up.

It just sucks that I have spent so much on apps here that'll be kinda wasted if I move on to android or ios.

You would think they would have a clue by now.

We had better start seeing some positive news out of this. Where is Scrabble? Candy Crush? PvZ 2? I'll miss getting my cheevos on my Lumia 1520, but I can still rack up gamerscore on my 360, One, and Windows PC, so that doesn't bother me too much. It's the leaderboards and friends' list integration that I'll miss the most. I'm glad they tried with the Xbox live branding, as I would have otherwise probably stayed with iPhone when WP7 was released. Had that happened, I wouldn't have stumbled into the best phone OS there is to date! Long live Windows Phone!

This is just moronic... How does MS expect to drive market share especially in the US where the xbox brand is particularly strong. They are killing a major asset by going down this route, I bet they scrapped the open source xbox live framework mentioned at build. Utterly stupid and illogical from a marketing stand point, the people or person who made this decision need(s) to go back to business school.

Good point about market and mind share, I always say that and then we are told only a few achievement addicts are affected by this.

Though the developers don't feel they are treated wrong, I kinda do. I keep buying those games and MS keeps delisting them.

In the case of Carcassonne I bought the game for myself and for my girlfriend, additionally I talked a friend into buying it. And now what? Now I have to buy the game thrice again?

By the way, is that API Feedback from Microsoft still ongoing? Maybe someone could help us out with a Multiplayer API entry. I instantly thought of that, because I once did an Android app with the Google Play Services. XBL would just fit perfectly for that. Both Apple and Android provide a Service for that, but Microsoft with XBL doesn't? I refrained from writing an entry in MSs search for missing APIs because I had no idea in which category to put it (.net, silverlight, ...). Thanks in advance for any help

I bought Carcassonne for me and 6 family members. I got refunds for all of us. You should do the same. Only when they have to start doling out refunds on a mass scale will they wake up.

Just like Music, Microsoft really has to step up their game with this. (No pun intended)

The one thing is that people want achievements to build up their status. Since the new status' now actually have benefits of getting more back with purchases. Its not that its a horrible addiction, Microsoft is rewarding people with higher achievement status.

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