social gaming

Lighthouse Game Studio’s follow-up to Torchbear, the location-based game Greed City has been out on Windows Phone 8 for something like two months now. And in that time, the developer has released its fair share of updates. Each one of these makes the free game a little more rounded and more worthy of players’ time.

Today’s update, version 1.1.7 adds an exciting new feature: the ability to comment on other users’ actions, plus a few more minor features and bug fixes.

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Remember the location-based social interaction game Torchbear? The creators of Torchbear, Lighthouse Games Studio, are back within another location-based game – this time exclusively for Windows Phone 8. Their new title Greed City combines the property and wealth acquisition elements of Monopoly with the real-world location and GPS elements of Four Square. It’s much more game-like than Torchbear and costs nothing to download, so Windows Phone 8 users should definitely give it a look.

We've got a quick-start guide and more impressons to share, so read on!

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Today Microsoft and Arkadium, a developer of casual and social games (as well as socially casual games), announced a multi-year, multi-game publishing agreement. Microsoft Studios will bring several of Arkadium’s titles to multiple unnamed platforms over the next few years. Truth be told, the platforms have names, but the two companies just aren't sharing them yet.

Arkadium’s expertise is with highly casual Facebook and Flash games – they haven’t made of an impression in the mobile arena yet. Still, this agreement could be extremely promising. Arkadium’s best known title, Mahjongg Dimensions, is their single iPhone game of note (pictured below) and an extremely good candidate for a Windows Phone port. Dimensions basically brings the classic game of mahjong solitaire (AKA Shanghai) to the third dimension, allowing players to rotate the field of mahjong tiles as they search for matching pairs. Mahjongg Dimensions would also translate easily to Xbox Live Arcade, maybe even with Kinect support.

As for Arkadium’s hefty library of Flash games, Dethtris (pictured at top) would most appeal to the mainstream crowd. It mixes platforming with the falling block genre – kind of a reverse take on Tetris Plus. Here, players take on the role of a hapless young explorer as he runs, jumps, and climbs through bite-sized jungle-themed levels, collecting treasure and dodging giant falling blocks along the way. Dethtris could work on mobile phones thanks to its simple controls and short levels, but an Xbox Live Arcade release is even more likely. We’ve seen such a transition before with last year’s XBLA port of Fancy Pants Adventures, another Flash platformer from Armor Games and EA.

Of course, Arkadium’s press release does not mention actual titles, so that’s my own speculation. But the release does spell out the reasoning for both parties behind the deal. Arkadium wants to expand their development to new platforms, while Microsoft hungers for a piece of the social games pie. Hey, maybe the partnership will motivate the big MS to finally bring some actual social features to Windows Phone games! We can only dream…

Source: Arkadium via Joystiq. Thanks Mike to the Peck for the tip!

Head past the break for the full press release.

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Scoreloop coming to a WP7 near you

Scoreloop has announced that they will be supporting Windows Phone 7 and will be including the platform within their cross-platform social gaming system. Why is this big news for developers? Social games developed for WP7 will have the ability to allow players to compete against Android or iPhone owners.

The basic breakdown of what features the social "middleware" offers are cross-platform leader-boards, challengers, or virtual currency that developers can implement into their games for all mobile platforms. Opening up not only a much larger audience for players to engage with (or against), this will help bring the different operating systems together and make it more attractive for developers on other platforms to bring their projects to WP7.

Platforms that are currently covered by Scoreloop include Android, Bada, Airplay and iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch). As for WP7, Marc Gumpinger, CEO of Scoreloop said, "WP7 is an important step in our goal to encourage and support connected gaming across the entire mobile landscape. As the first cross-platform social gaming ecosystem to add support for WP7 this means we can offer the largest reach, greater revenue potential and increase the impact of developers using the Scoreloop SDK," 

This is exciting news for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 as a whole. Scoreloop is expanding rapidly, and for them to show support in the OS should hopefully hush some critics about the appeal of the software and devices to not only front-end users, but also the developer community. Currently Scoreloop are providing a limited number of developers early access to their SDK before publishing it to the public.

Source: Gamasutra

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One of the obstacles for Windows Phone 7 game developers is getting their app noticed--competition with the Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone games is fierce and tipped in their favor. While we have seen some social, multiplayer, social gaming form individual developers (e.g. AlphaJax, SpellIt, Broiled Earth, Haypi Kingdom), there's no indie Xbox LIVE alternative for software companies to work with and through, until now.

OpenXLive by by Fulcrum Mobile Networks, Inc appears to do just that, offering a comparable system to the iPhone (who until recently lacked any official gaming support) and giving developers an easy way to offer online, social gaming. By giving software houses the ability to add leaderboards and achievements, it at least offers more bang-for-your-buck when buying software.

For the end users, you just create an account and your username will follow you with every game that uses the OpenXLive network. Hopefully this idea will catch on and we'll start to see more developers taking advantage of this system. Of course while this sounds good for us, we're not sure how developers will like the terms and service, so we'll have to wait and see if they embrace.

Source: OpenXLive; via 1800PocketPc; Thanks, Saijo, for the tip

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