As gamers have surely noticed by now, there was no new Xbox Live release for Windows Phone this week. The same applies to last week, which means we haven’t had a new Live game for two weeks in a row. It’s a frustrating situation for avid gamers and Achievement hunters, and has lead to much speculation about the cause of the release drought.
Who better to ask about the situation than Microsoft themselves? So we asked and this is what Michael Yaeger, Senior PR Manager for Xbox Live, had to say about it:
“We are actively working with our partners as they finish development of new mobile titles, and look forward to sharing them with you as they become available.”
In other words, while many games are in development, none of them has been ready to publish in the last couple of weeks. Yes, it’s disappointing to people who want more games to play. But Michael stressed the importance of properly testing games and maintaining Xbox Live’s high quality standards. I can see his point there – I would rather have no game than a buggy game that takes months to get fixed (like I Dig It, whose patch finally went live recently).
The timing of this drought closely matches the recent release of the Windows Phone Mango update, causing some folks to wonder whether Mango (aka Windows Phone 7.5) is keeping new games at bay. Could Microsoft be reluctant to release Mango-exclusive games when Mango penetration hasn’t reached 100 percent yet? “No. The Windows Phone 7.5 update or its penetration rate does not play role in the release of LIVE titles.” Good to hear. We all love Mango, and nobody wants it to start causing problems like this.
What about Shao-Lin’s Road and Time Pilot, the two long-completed but unreleased Game Room titles I’m contractually obligated to mention every time we don’t get an Xbox Live release? While Yaegar couldn’t provide a status update on those games, he did promise to look into it. Hopefully we’ll find out whether or not they have been cancelled soon. My head says yes, but my heart hopes no.
Finally, the million dollar question: will there be an Xbox Live release on October 19? Nobody can say for certain just yet. Be assured, though, that during the last few weeks, previously announced titles like Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp and Kinectimals have been inching closer to completion. Once the regular Xbox Live release schedule picks up again, things should be sailing smoothly for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I’ll be plugging away at Puzzle Quest 2. Man that’s a long game!