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File this Xbox Windows Phone game release under "better late than never."

Yes, the highly anticipated Xbox-enabled version of AlphaJax is now available at last.

AlphaJax is a Windows Phone-exclusive online Scrabble clone that has made quite a name for itself since its debut in December 2010. The New Zealand-based developer Marker Metro got excited about the platform prior to its release that year, and they’ve never looked back since. Thanks to a beautiful UI and consistent updates, AlphaJax remains one of the most popular online word games for Windows Phone – despite lacking cross-platform multiplayer like many of its competitors.

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Back in September, we reported that indie word game and Windows Phone exclusive AlphaJax would be upgraded to Xbox Live status (or is that Xbox Windows Phone status?) at long last. The game’s developer, Marker Metro has been a Windows Phone supporter since before the platform launched. That support finally paid off when they got Microsoft to pick up publishing rights for the Xbox Windows Phone version this year. Gamers will also reap the benefits of the upgrade quite soon, as the new version launches this Wednesday!

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Update: Users are reporting download issues with Draw Something and compatibility. Your mileage may vary.

Nokia had originally offered Draw Something recently to Lumia owners but the game was quickly pulled for what seemed like connection errors. Now that game and its companion, Words with Friends, have both returned to the Nokia Collection.

Interestingly, both games are completely free though these do have ads to cover their costs. That differs from the games we covered here last night, which will run you $2.99 to play but do not have ads.

Both games are available now and will work on Windows Phone 7 and 8 devices. You can download Words with Friends here and Draw Something here in the Nokia Collection. QR codes after the break…

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It looks like the 26th will be a major day for Microsoft as Windows 8 gets released, Surface RT tablets reportedly go on sale, third-party Windows 8 Pro tablets become available, Holiday Stores open and new services launch.

That last one is the focus here with Xbox Music aka Zune Music for days of yore. As of right now, most of the core of Xbox Music looks to be just a re-brand of the current Zune offerings but Microsoft is building off of it. Some of those new features that will come with the launch is a free, ad-supported music streaming service and utilizing SkyDrive for playlists with cloud storage of music.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Wordament

Windows Phone has long been host to a number of quality word games, but they were all indie titles rather than Xbox Live ones. In fact, all the good indie word games even boasted multiplayer features, something long and inexplicably missing from mobile Xbox Live games. Of those indie standouts, one reigned supreme: Wordament, from a developer called You vs. the Internet. As it turns out, You vs. the Internet is a side project of a couple of Microsoft employees. Once Microsoft saw how well Wordament turned out, they made the wise decision to publish the game and bring elevate it to Xbox Live status. Wordament truly deserves all the visibility it can get, because it happens to be one of the finest and most addictive games on the platform.

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Lately we’ve been fortunate enough to receive release dates for new Xbox Live games a week or two in advance – including this week’s release, Monster Island. Naturally Windows Phone gamers are already anxious to know about next week’s new game, and we can now put those anxieties to rest. Microsoft Studios has officially announced that the Xbox Live version of Wordament launches on April 25. The game prematurely appeared on the Marketplace’s list of Xbox Live games last week, but was not Live-enabled.

Wordament is already available as an indie game. The gameplay involves trying to find as many words as possible from a field of 16 letters, all within a time limit. The hook? You’re competing against hundreds of others in real-time over the internet. Visually it’s quite plain, but the multiplayer/leaderboard aspect is compelling.

Head past the break for the full story and an update from the game's developer.

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As developers learn the intricacies of what sells and what does not with the Marketplace, they will adapt. Such a case presents itself with the developer of Impossible Shoota (see hands on), which has been downloaded 21,000 times already, making it one of the most popular apps out there (#6 in games). One of its secrets is that it is free.

Much like on Android and the iPhone, free apps that are ad supported tend to do the best. In response, Elbert Perez who makes Impossible Shoota, has made his other two games free too since they have not been doing nearly as well when selling for $0.99. Because the Marketplace doesn't yet allow developers to go from a paid app to free, he has to re-release them with a "+" at the end so "Scribble Defense+" and Zombiedmix+" are the new names. Later, these games along with Impossible Shoota are expected to gain ads through Microsoft's new XNA-supported ad system. Perez is hoping this works for him and us noting:

Hopefully this will be a successful business model for me because it benefits me and everyone out there looking for a quality game for free.

Even Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds have gone free with their Android version and it has been a huge success for them. Could free and ad supported be the secret developers need for success? We think so.

Download Scribble Defense+ here and Zombiedmix+ here. Videos after the break of both games.

Source: OccasionalGamer

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