It seems like there is a whole department of people at Microsoft that need to justify their jobs, so Microsoft sends them on conventions... every week! Last week was MIX10, Microsoft developer and web designer conference in Las Vegas, and there were lots of exciting events happening. We got to join in on a live webchat with Gian Wilson, Microsoft's Gaming Mobile Product Manager. Apparently, he's quite the SkiFree pro!
Wilson's primary area of focus is Mobile Gaming for the division's Windows Phone business. In this role he is the organization's industry and product subject matter expert for all things mobile gaming. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and management from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus and an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business.
We are currently working with our existing game publisher partners to make sure that we build great games and great experiences for the Windows Phone 7 Series. As you can imagine playing a game on your phone is a little different than playing a game on your Xbox with a TV, so the experiences that we create will be a little different as well. For Xbox LIVE games, yes they will both be connected to LIVE, and will likely have achievements and activities that will increase your Gamerscore, but exactly how these games will be further related will be left up to the discretion of the publisher.
We saved the entire transcript and here are some of the highlight questions that can explain Windows Phone 7 Series' functionality with mobile gaming better than we can.
Q: What type of games will there be once Windows Phone 7 has been launched? Anything coming up that will make a big splash in mobile gaming?
A: Absolutely! As a company Microsoft has deep expertise in gaming. By bringing the XNA development environment to the phone, it means that we are able to bring that expertise to the phone as well. Add that to the fact that we have long standing relationships with the leading game developers and publishers and you can only imagine the size of the splash!
Q: I would like to know what advantages gaming on WP7S has over other OS's besides just Xbox Live integration?
A: Well, the gaming experience on Windows Phone 7 Series is going to be a great one. Not only are we going to have Xbox LIVE but the games hub is truly an integrated experience. It's not just a games folder. You have everything you want related to gaming all in one place. Spotlight feeds, your Avatar gamerscore and achievements, your invitations to play and your entire game collection are inside the hub. All in all its a better experience.
Q: If I am an indie game developer can I tie in achievements for my game? What are the requirements to submit a game to XBOX live integration? Is it possible to develop turn style games like Words with Friends using my Xbox live buddy list? It wouldn't be too hard to build a game like that but what are the requirements of developers to play in the XBOX live sandbox?
A: As of right now only our managed partners will be able to use the Xbox LIVE features, however you do have two options. Our game publisher partners area always looking for new and innovative content, and you should feel free to submit your title to them for consideration. In addition, we will be setting up a Website in the near future for potential partners who wish to work with Microsoft directly. In the short-term, if you wish to discuss a potential relationship with Microsoft, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Is there any default games comes with windows phone 7?
A: There won't be any games that come on the phone - all games can be downloaded from Marketplace.
Q: So you have to download games in the Marketplace hub, not Games hub?
A: The Marketplace hub will be where you purchase your games. The Games hub is where you will be able to find them once you've downloaded them.
Q: Will there be any windows phone 7 game that you can play Against other players?
A: Absolutely! There are game developers and publishers that are taking advantage of our turn-by-turn gaming functionality.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges faced when conforming to the mobile phone form factor compared to a console/PC approach? Are we to expect similar mobile gaming experiences as other phones or will there be a unique experience on this platform?
A: This will really be dependent on what our developers decided to do. It is definitely a different experience playing a game than on a TV. We have made a number of APIs available to our publishers to make sure that the mobile experience is as rich as possible.
Q: For users who don't have Xbox will there some the games be stand alone and still have the ability to gain points etc that can factor into a future Xbox purchase?
A: Definitely, for many people the first time that they use Xbox LIVE will be on their Windows Phone 7 Series. As such, the Xbox LIVE experience and games will be able to operate on this screen, but still send your achievements and Gamerscore up to Xbox LIVE
Q: Will we still have to use the microsoft points system to make purchases?
A: No, there will be no points system used. All games will be purchased using money.
Q: Will I have to have a Live account?
A: You will need to have an Xbox LIVE account to play games on the Xbox LIVE service and take advantage of all of the social and connected features.
Q: Does Windows Phone 7 game development platform support Native coding, at least in later versions.
A: XNA Game Studio 4.0 is a managed code platform, which means that Microsoft has done the back-end work that will save developers time in the coding process. It allows developers to be more productive and focus on gameplay and design.
Q: Has the split percentage been announced? How much will Microsoft take out of the game sale?
A: The developer revenue share is 70% for purchases made using a credit card.
So there you have it. We have been notified there will be a more in-depth developer-focused chat in the upcoming weeks and we promise we will bring you all the news regarding Windows Phone 7 Series as it becomes available!