GC '10: Microsoft lifts the lid on Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7

63 games also bound for OS

GC '10: Microsoft lifts the lid on Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7
Microsoft may have chosen to stick by the Windows moniker for its forthcoming OS, but it would appear Windows Phone 7 is set to have a distinct leaning towards the giant's other major hand in gaming – Xbox.

Announced today at Gamescom 2010, Microsoft has revealed the full extent of Windows Phone 7's integration with Xbox Live, with achievements, leaderboards, turn-based multiplayer, gamerscore and avatars all making the leap.

More importantly, the platform is set to benefit from specifically selected Xbox Live games, Microsoft insisting that developers across the board – from PC to console to mobile – are all currently in the midst of working on titles for the OS.

Game for Windows

"We believe that no matter where life takes you, the best in gaming and entertainment should follow," said corporate VP of Xbox Live, Marc Whitten.

"Windows Phone 7 takes a different approach to handheld gaming, utilising Xbox Live, Microsoft Game Studios, leading game publishers, and innovative indie developers, to create powerful, shared experiences for everyone."

In essence, Microsoft is looking to play the strongest possible hand it can with Windows Phone 7.

No doubt more than aware that much of iPhone's success has been built upon the prevalence of its games, Windows Phone 7 will take advantage of Xbox's own particular strength in this area.

"Windows Phone 7 is the launch of a major gaming platform for Microsoft," added general manager of mobile gaming at Microsoft Game Studios, Matt Booty.

"Just like we've done with Xbox 360, our charter is to push the envelope and deliver definitive games that maximise the platform. We will have an incredible line-up of MGS titles, and that’s just the beginning."

Mini Master Chief

As expected, Microsoft has confirmed major Xbox brands will be backed up by 'companion' titles on Windows Phone 7 – the first to be announced, Halo: Waypoint and Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst.

Indeed, Microsoft Games Studios is set to serve up 8 titles in the first wave, the remaining 55 games populated by releases from a mixture of major mobile publishers – Gameloft, Digital Chocolate and Glu all notable backers – and more traditional names, the likes of Namco Bandai and Konami both on board.

With its Xbox Live line-up also set to benefit from weekly updates, it's clear games are being set up to be a fundamental part of Windows Phone 7's appeal come launch.

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