When Microsoft revealed they were entering the phone market, many Microsoft fans looked forward to seeing glimpses to what the latest technology provided by the company would be. A new Windows programme, high quality phones which the system would be applied to and many gamers, me included, the first chance to play Xbox games on the move. Aside from the new technology the Windows Phones would contain, there was a large amount of focus on the Xbox Live aspect of the new system and what it would deliver.
Prior to the phones release, there were many rumours as to what tasks the Xbox Live feature would be able to perform such:
“Can I play Halo on the move?”
“Am I able to edit my avatar from my phone?”
“Can I n00b-tube n00bs on COD?”
Only one of these questions was able to be performed (editing the Avatar) by the phone app. The perception which many people suffered from seeing the Xbox logo being applied to a phone meant to most that you could play Halo and COD from your phone. Realistically this was never going to happen, to begin with at least. So if you weren’t able to do things which the Xbox was directly related to, what could you do and how would it stack up against the gaming power which the king of the phone market, the iPhone, could perform? To say that Windows Live phone games are competing with iPhone games would be lying. There is a far bigger variety of iPhone games available via iTunes and the price of the games is considerably cheaper than that of the games via Xbox Live. Of course, there are games available via the Windows Marketplace but I prefer to pay for quality rather than something to pass the time with for free.
Since the beginning of Xbox games for Windows Phones, the pricing has come under scrutiny. With games seemingly to constantly be priced at £2.99, owners were becoming frustrated at the lack of quality games and a higher asking price at the same time. £5.99 was the price of Guitar Hero for the phone and it is horrible to play to say the least. Mediocre games coming at a high price put many WP owners off of buying games and resulted in constant bad reviews for games because the price is far too high.
Now it seems as though that the Xbox team are learning that they cannot charge high prices for poor games. Good and addictive games are now available, with achievements, for £0.79 on the marketplace and this is definitely a step in the right direction. Of course bigger and better games cost more but it is good to see a flurry of cheap and good games being made available. Free games via Xbox Live seem to be on the agenda for Microsoft now as well as games such as Breeze, Flowerz, Sudoku, Wordament, Bug Village and Minesweeper are all compatible with Xbox Live and achievements.
As well as catching up on the pricing in which the iTunes is renowned for, the selection of games on offer via WP’s Xbox Live service is also behind the times. Angry Birds was released on WP in June 2011, a year and a half after the game was originally released via iTunes. The game was priced on the WP marketplace for £2.99, considerably higher than the £0.79 price which iTunes had the game for. There were similar situations with games such as Doodle Jump and Fruit Ninja. The prices for each of these games were considerably higher but most gamers had already played these titles in one way or another.
Things are looking up for the Windows Phone though, with Windows finally getting to grips with what the customer wants and how to approach the market, we have been seeing a higher quality of games recently with a fairer price. Of course games such as Final Fantasy merits a £5.49 price tag because it is exactly like the 1987 original game and also has Xbox Live features. Hopefully Microsoft can continue to bring out such high quality games and keep us gamers happy for years to come.