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OMG It’s Xbox Live On A Mother…Phone

Engadget got their hands all over Windows Phone 7 with a bunch of new Xbox Live titles. Man they have some sick videos. Let’s do this in order:

First off is a new promo video for the platform which shows a lot of the titles. You can see some of the game play and graphics as they blow by and it’s awesome. Wow – MS gets marketing!

OK and here’s what actual game play looks like. You know, in hand. One of the neatest games is Project Sunburst. The game looks to Bing maps you play a tower defense game where the play occurs within the confines of a real map. As you can see, no issues with frame rates and game play is solid:

Now to something I never cared about at all until I saw it in action. The avatars are pretty neat actually. Here’s the first demo where there are apps controlled by your avatar. If your avatar has a flashlight and it gets brighter then that’s your flashlight. It has a coin toss (avatar flips the coin with an avatar on the icon), there’s a level that works (flip the phone and the avatar jumps the other way), compass, ruler…all functional:

And now to customizing your avatar on your phone in 3D. You can also look at your friends and compare profiles, look at your scores…Impressive:

Getting back to the action, Engadget did discuss their thoughts as well. It’s a long article so let’s sum it up with their own words:

  • from where we sit, it’s definitely looking pretty promising
  • every game will have a try-before-you buy demo to check out before spending your hard-earned cash [note”: this is only for the Xbox Live titles – not all game titles]
  • Microsoft has also shown off the full feature set of Xbox Live integration in Windows Phone 7, and users of the service should be pleased to discover that there’s not much missing from the version they know and love
  • the gameplay for the arcade titles seemed excellent, with frame rates holding fast even during graphically intensive 3D sequences (such as the chaotic, scattered-pixel play of Rocket Riot).
  • Gameplay was definitely well suited to a touchscreen device, though Microsoft’s Kevin Unangst told us that developers could target controls for both touch and QWERTY-equipped phones (provided that a touch version was always present).
  • The screen response seemed accurate and sensitive, reacting quickly to our input.
  • the polish and speed of the games we played was definitely competitive with iPhone or Palm Pre gaming
  • Updating and tweaking your avatar was fast and straightforward, as was finding friends and checking up on achievements or messages.

Onto the negatives:

  • Unfortunately, for the launch of Windows Phone 7 there won’t be any true multiplayer options besides turn-based games, though Kevin seemed to indicate that head-to-head gaming (whether over a local or wide network) was in the roadmap
  • game load times seemed long — a little too long. Again, Microsoft says things are still unfinished, so we’re hoping this is a side effect of debugging and non-optimized builds.

Damnit when are you going to tell me when I can buy one of these things already?