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nova 3

Nokia has been known to run various gaming promotions since it came to Windows Phone a couple of years ago. Most obviously they sponsored the production of more than 20 Xbox Windows Phone games; titles that we probably would never have gotten otherwise. There was also a brief period last year in which a non-Xbox version of Sonic CD became available for Lumia owners. We never found out why the giveaway game lacked its Xbox features, nor would Nokia comment on it.

Fourteen months later, it looks like Nokia has a new promotion going on. Owners of some very specific handsets (Nokia Lumia 625, 1020, 1320, Icon, and 1520) can get free versions of nine games from mega-publisher Gameloft! These aren’t stripped down versions, either. They’re the full Xbox titles with working Achievements, albeit with different Store pages than the general versions. Head past the link for more details on how to find the free games!

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Yesterday Windows Phone Central posted exclusive first footage of Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 for Windows Phone 8 in action. We showed you just how the game plays, but we couldn’t talk about the release date. Well, thanks to a little marketplace slip up on Microsoft’s end, it quickly became apparent that N.O.V.A. 3 would be coming out very soon indeed. In fact, it released in India ahead of the rest of the world!

Now we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that N.O.V.A. 3 is this week’s Xbox Windows Phone release. All Windows Phone 8 users with 1 GB RAM devices (cue complaints from 512 MB phone owners and insensitive complaints about the original complaints) can now purchase the game for $6.99 or the regional equivalent thereof.

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Yesterday’s E3 2013 press conferences gave us lots of juicy console news and game announcements, but our gaming readers who don’t play consoles didn’t get much to chew on from the conferences. Hey, we haven’t forgotten you guys (or me since I love gaming on my phone). We squeezed in a few meetings yesterday and came away with…

Exclusive first footage of N.O.V.A. 3 in action! That’s right, we played Gameloft’s sci-fi First-Person Shooter for Windows Phone 8 and lived to tell the tale. I actually had a little more time to play than usual, and so we can show you lots of highlights of the first level. Head past the break for the video and more details!

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Update: Gameloft could not confirm the May 8th release date and the game hasn't shown up, so our source looks to have been incorrect. Sorry for getting everybody's hopes up. Ubisoft's Monster Burner is this week's actual Xbox release.

Gameloft announced 12 killer Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 back in October of last year (and later amended the list). Those titles starting rolling out with Asphalt 7 in February. With Ice Age Village appearing at the end of April, we’re up to seven out of 12 games so far. Not a bad two months of releases, but the most anticipated game (among our readers, anyway), N.O.V.A. 3 had yet to appear.

That changes this Wednesday when Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 finally debuts. A first-person shooter based on the Halo series. N.O.V.A. 3 is the closest thing Windows Phone will have to a proper Halo title unless Microsoft ever has a change of heart. Like Modern Combat 4, this one will require 1 GB of RAM and lots of storage space, so some devices like the Lumia 520 and 620 won’t be able to run it.

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One of the key differentiators for Windows Phone the past few years has been on the go access to the Xbox service and Xbox enabled games. We’ve had some popular ports like iStunt 2 (Dan's favorite) and Plants vs. Zombies. Windows Phone has also had its fair share of original and exclusive titles, fun games like Chicken Can’t Fly and Mush. Over on the Xbox website, we can see the first set of upcoming titles to be Xbox Live enabled.

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If there’s one mobile games publisher whose titles Windows Phone needs in order to appeal to mainstream gamers, it’s Gameloft. The Paris-based developer has made a massive business of cloning popular console games as smartphone titles, in addition to publishing actual licensed and wholly original titles. Sadly, Gameloft never fully supported Windows Phone 7. They released a few quality games (Splinter Cell: Conviction, Assassin’s Creed) and several buggy and/or severely delayed ones (Let’s Golf 2, Asphalt 5, Brain Challenge, and Real Soccer), but none of their most popular franchises.

Thankfully that should be changing with Windows Phone 8, as Gameloft has just announced a whopping 12 games for Microsoft’s new mobile OS, most of which are true heavy hitters! Check them out after the break.

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