Interview

PressOK CEO Ryan Morel on proving Windows Phone 7's got game

Xbox marks the spot

PressOK CEO Ryan Morel on proving Windows Phone 7's got game
The slow demise of Windows Mobile may have done a certain level of damage to its successor pre-launch, but some believe such blemishes are in the process of being erased by Microsoft's Xbox exploits.

The giant's decision to link Windows Phone 7 to Xbox Live and Xbox 360 is no coincidence, already being cited by many developers as a sign of the level of confidence the firm has in its new platform.

If Microsoft can surpass the sales of PlayStation, for instance, what's to stop it believing it can take serious market share from iPhone and Android?

We caught up with Press OK CEO Ryan Morel to see why he thinks Windows Phone 7 is the perfect home for launch title Finger Physics.

Pocket Gamer: How did you get involved with developing for Windows Phone 7?Ryan Morel: When we discovered there was an opportunity to be one of the early developers for Windows Phone 7, we couldn't pass it up. It was a great opportunity to introduce the Finger Physics franchise to a new audience on a new platform.

What is the platform like to work with?

This is our first title on Microsoft's platform so of course there was a learning curve, but overall it was a fairly easy process.

We're looking forward to seeing how consumers react to the Xbox Live features on Windows Phone 7 - it's a unique selling point for the platform and offers gamers connectivity that has yet to be seen on mobile.

What opportunities does Windows Phone 7 have to offer?

Microsoft has long standing expertise in gaming that the other smartphone players can't touch. If Microsoft is able to transition their console gaming base to mobile, that's a phenomenal opportunity for game developers like us.

Do you think the emphasis Microsoft has put on games with Windows Phone 7 will give it an advantage over other smartphones?

Yes, Microsoft has a leg up on the competition in respect to gaming.

Microsoft's gaming intelligence and Xbox live features give them a very good chance to take some market share from iOS and Android and become a magnet platform for mobile gaming.

What specific aspects of Windows Phone 7's set-up are you looking to take advantage of?

The Xbox Live leaderboards and achievements will be integrated in Finger Physics. As new features roll out, we will also roll out updates to include those if it makes sense within the game.

How would you say it compares to the likes of iPhone and Android?

The hardware and software are great, just like iPhone and Android.

Where we think Microsoft has a real chance to differentiate itself in the minds of developers is how they merchandise content - if they can provide a way for consumers to get great content without developers getting lost in the shuffle, Windows Phone 7 could become a destination platform for developers.

Do you think the smartphone market is becoming overcrowded?Yes, but I think it's a good thing. We're finally seeing big companies come up with creative approaches to the market place that were really missing before the iPhone came along.

Now, we have Apple, RIM, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Nokia, all investing heavily in their platforms and creating real value for customers and developers.

Like in everything, they'll be winners and losers, but the competition will push the market much faster than if there were only one or two dominant platforms.

Any more plans for Windows Phone 7?

Yes, we've already started development of Flipstones 2 for Windows Phone 7 - it will be released in the early part of 2011.
Thanks to Ryan for his time.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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