So I wake up today and instantly I am not happy.  Friday is the busiest day at work every week and when you work a job where getting yelled at is a large part of your day this is not awesome.  However, this is not a story about how awful my day would be but how it turned around all because of a black and white game for Xbox Live Arcade called Limbo.  Now I know you guys are thinking “WTF?!? I know I didn’t click that other awesome website I have bookmarked!”  But while I was playing this incredibly awesome game I realized something that might influence my handset decision in the next couple of months.  I may already have hundreds of dollars worth of Windows Phone games.  Read on for enlightenment…

As soon as I fire Limbo up I know it’s  for me so before I’m even done playing the demo I’m pounding the buy-this-game button.  Seconds later my Xbox is making the otherworldly noise confirming that Microsoft has pillaged my bank account and as this happens I get slapped in the face with an idea.  Will this be a Windows Phone 7 game?  It seems like a prime candidate as an Xbox Live exclusive title with a simple control scheme (jump, action, and run around. That’s it,) and minimalist art style.  If so, I’ll be spending a great deal of time jumping around a strangely anonymised grey scale world.

What concerns me most is how Microsoft plans on handling pricing for all of this.  Typically when you go up in size you go up in price, but in the world of non-physical phone applications where all that’s required is a little bit of photoshopping I don’t think the maker is justified in charging twice as much for the app.  Especially when the source code is more than 90% the same.  Yes, I’m talking about Apple because paying twice as much for a slightly higher resolution of identical software is a scam that even gives Bernie Madoff wet dreams.  Scaling up is one thing, but with Microsoft we’re going to be scaling down.  I want to go from my 42″ screen to my 4″ screen like Chrome-to-Phone.  Despite not having a catchy rhyme to denote the feature this is something I really hope pans out. 

Either way I feel like Microsoft has a couple of options open to them at this point.  They can try and bring in customers by handing out big discounts on ported games that have already been purchased or they can rape the consumer and fill the coffers.  I’m hoping Microsoft realizes they need the customers more than the revenue at this point but I can’t find any information relating to the merging services’ pricing and how it will be affected.  If Microsoft decides that extending the “mobile” version of games purchased through Xbox live for free to phone users then I’m going to be about 150-200$ into a software investment in Windows Phone.  I don’t think I could justify that amount of software difference between WP7 and Android at that point.  How do you think Microsoft should handle the app launch of Windows Phone 7?  Should they please consumers and offer big discounts on previously purchased titles or court the developers and let them set whatever pricing they want?

5 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to say that you shouldnt be waiting too eagerly for limbo to come on any other platform than xbox. First of all Microsoft aquired a deal with the developers on making this game an xbox exclusive. This of course could easily be changed, but there is another reason.

    The primary reason that you shouldnt get your hopes up, is because one of the developers behind the game has told me, that they did not have any plans in any way concerning limbo, and that they had already begun creating a new game :) but who knows maybe we will be lucky ;)

  2. I would imagine that some of this would be up to the developer. But I would hope they are creating the ability to buy one on each platform separately and buy one for all.

    I’ve played the limbo demo, and this is definitely a prime candidate for 3 screens. So pay 1500 ms points and get it for all 3 and play whenever, where ever you want.

  3. @Hojlind:

    Except that Windows Phone 7 games are technically Xbox games.
    So, that would still apply.

    I think that the “Buy it once, play it everywhere” idea is brilliant. If Microsoft were to do this, they could get a bunch of people interested in WP7 devices.

  4. As long as they’re making new stuff I could care less. Hopefully their new stuff will have similar design aesthetics in its simplicity and make the jump. These guys are all sorts of talented.

  5. This is one of the only (very, very few) reasons I’m actually waiting to buy a WP7 phone and haven’t gone out to buy an Android one already.

    I agree with this entire article. I’ve been salivating each time I go into my archive of games just waiting for them to be ported to the phone.

    I would much rather it be free across all platforms but I’m dreading the realization that they’ll charge a considerable fee instead. If you go to the Xbox Live arcade Game Room for classic arcade games I think the Microsoft Point system is something like 250points to play unlimited on your Xbox, 400points to play on Xbox or PC.

    I don’t like that precident.

    The only thing that could keep me on WP7 after a price hike on those games would be emulators for each classic system in the marketplace (which I’m not sure I see happening)

    I got the emulators on the Android market running at about 90% on my Fuze and the only one they don’t have that I need, that I could see, would be MAME (probably forthcoming)

    If WP7 keeps sticking me for more and more money and removing all the functions I actually use I think I’ll actually take my chances in the Wild West of the Android marketplace.

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