Xbox Live

Lets Golf 2 is a popular Xbox Windows Phone game that has evidently had some installation issues with Windows Phone 8 devices. Issues that caused the installation process to crash leaving Windows Phone 8 users in the club house.

Whatever the issue, Gameloft has found the bug, squashed it and now Lets Golf 2 can be installed without problems on your Windows Phone 8 devices. We've successfully installed the game on both the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. However, the 8X took a significantly longer time to install (over five minutes).

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We dished out praises like crazy to the original Full House Poker game for Windows Phone. It was the first Windows Phone 7 game to have proper avatar support and is still the only one, really. A picture of the user’s avatar on their stats screen like AlphaJax and Wordament have doesn’t really count; users want to play games as their avatars.

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Just when it seems like Xbox games for Windows Phone’s darkest hour, when all hope of a new release before January 30th has long been abandoned… Nokia once again comes to our rescue with a new exclusive Xbox for Lumia owners: Blobster from Chillingo (who we’ve barely written about today) and Divine Robot. With this surprise late-day release, there are now eleven Nokia exclusives in the Xbox lineup.

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After today’s disappointing news of another week without a new Xbox game for Windows Phone, our gaming readers could probably use some cheering up. Well, I’m pleased to share some win-win information with you now. Not one, but two partially delisted Xbox games for Windows Phone have just become Windows Phone 8 compatible: Feed Me Oil and Parking Mania, both from Chillingo.

That brings the list of incompatible games down to 23, the lowest it has been since Microsoft’s new mobile OS debuted. Hopefully it continues to shrink in the months ahead!

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Last week, Windows Phone received no new Xbox game for the third week in a row. Our detailed editorial posited several theories to explain the prolonged release drought, and many readers chimed in with their own theories. This week marks the fourth consecutive dry week, and the sixth within the last two months. Microsoft has informed us there won’t be a new Xbox game or Deal of the Week once more.

Why another dry week, you ask? An Xbox game developer has come forward with information supporting one of our theories… And no, it isn’t the best news.

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Picnic Wars Review: Why can't food all just get along?

Chillingo, Electronic Arts’ indie publishing arm, has produced many fine Windows Phone games in the last year: Contre Jour, Little Acorns, and Feed Me Oil, to new just a few. Lately though, all of Chillingo’s releases have been Nokia Windows Phone exclusives – for better or worse. Their latest such Xbox release Picnic Wars comes from Crown Adam, a tiny Swiss developer and Philippines-based Anino Games. This interesting take on food fights starts out quite strong, but ends on a lemony sour note.

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We’re still unsure about the next couple of weeks, but the drought of Xbox game releases for Windows Phone will definitely cease by the end of the month. Microsoft has made a rare advance release date announcement for a mobile game – and it’s a good one. At long last, Skulls of the Shogun from 17-Bit and Microsoft Studios will debut on January 30th for Windows Phone 7 and 8, Xbox Live Arcade, and Windows 8 and RT!

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You might have noticed that yesterday’s editorial/news piece about the extended Xbox release drought Windows Phone is currently experiencing made no mention of Nokia exclusives. After all, those exclusives don’t do people who own non-Nokia devices any good. Not one Nokia Xbox game has become available for all Windows Phone devices so far, even six months after the debut of Mirror’s Edge.

Still, in times of release famine, Nokia really does seem to come through for its customers. First they published iBomber Defense back in December, and now they’ve surprised us with another new Xbox game. Picnic Wars from Chillingo is now available for all Lumia devices running Windows Phone 7 or 8. As if that news wasn’t good enough, Nokia exclusive Spy Mouse is now available on Windows Phone 8 devices.

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Things haven’t been looking too good for Xbox games on Windows Phone lately. As our readers probably know, there hasn’t been a new Xbox game released since KenKen on December 19th. Just before that there were two more weeks with no release: one before and one after AlphaJax arrived. Nokia users have a bit more to play thanks to iBomber Defense, but that does not help everyone else. Well, this week the disturbing trend continues: Microsoft has confirmed that there will be no new Xbox Windows Phone game or Deal of the Week this week. Yikes!

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Gun Bros Review: Battling bad guys and a buggy port

Seeing as how we haven’t had a new Xbox Windows Phone game to review in a while, it’s time to set our critical eyes on older releases that haven’t been reviewed yet. Sometimes we miss a game because it’s too terrible to endure (Babel Rising 3D), but on other occasions your favorite game reviewer has just been too tied up to review every single release.

With Gun Bros 2 due to hit iOS sometime soon, I’ve been inspired to put the original Gun Bros for Windows Phone through its paces. Is Gun Bros really one of the worst Xbox games on Windows Phone or just woefully misunderstood? Read on for our final verdict!

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Every time we report on Windows Phone 8 compatibility, it’s a good news/bad news situation. The Oregon Trail gained compatibility while Shoot 1 UP lost it… Babel Rising 3D sort of became compatible (which was a mistake), and KenKen lost it for no apparent reason…  Which brings us to this weekend.

Good news: Risk from Nokia and Electronic Arts is now available for Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8! On the other hand, two more games – both Nokia exclusives – have jumped ship from Windows Phon 8. Can’t win, can we?

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When Windows Phone initially launched there were some of us who simply used our existing Hotmail Accounts to sign into the phone. Problem was that some had the account set for the wrong geographic region creating a fair amount of issues.

At that time it was nigh impossible to change the region of the account and thus forced many into a situation where a new account was in need to be created. As our Xbox Live ID or Microsoft Account has become central in everything we do now things have eased somewhat and through a lengthy six week process it has been possible to change region via customer services. Not ideal.

That could all be about to changes as Microsoft is currently piloting an online service to get this done much more rapidly.

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No new Xbox Windows Phone game for the New Year

It’s easier to criticize than compliment. Things we dislike stick out like a sore thumb. Also, I’m not too fond of sore thumbs! As you can tell, it’s time for some bad news and hand wringing. That’s because it looks like we won’t get either a new Xbox Windows Phone release or even a Deal of the Week to ring in the New Year.

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Last year’s free Sudoku game provided a nice little bit of logic puzzling for Xbox Windows Phone gamers, but it hardly had any staying power. The randomly-generated puzzles failed to instill much replay value, as players could easily just finish off the game’s Achievements in a matter of hours with no reason to keep playing. Plus its sparse Metro-style visuals left much to be desired. As such, Microsoft’s mobile platform lacked a logic game with real meat on its bones.

This year Capcom of all companies has stepped in to turn things around. Their first Windows Phone game KenKen provides a very Sudoku-like experience that players won’t finish all in one day. Well, maybe you could beat it in a Martian 36 hour day, provided you don’t have a psychotic episode. The question is: does KenKen justify its relatively lofty price?

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Yesterday we went over Windows Phone Central’s picks for the best Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012. It may not have been a stellar year, but we can certainly count 2012 as the best year for Windows Phone gaming so far. Narrowing down the finest games from nearly 50 weekly releases was no mean feat for someone who enjoys nearly every genre and approaches all games with love.

Still, no amount of optimism can overlook the turkeys that sometimes squeeze their way into the Xbox lineup. How do we spot these wretches? Well, broken Achievements, poor controls, and dysfunctional online components are all telltale signs of a game better left unreleased. That makes selecting the bottom of the barrel titles so much easier than choosing the top shelf games.

Head past the break for to learn how a bad game happens and Windows Phone Central’s Worst Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012!

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For many gamers, Xbox Live functionality is one of Windows Phone’s most compelling selling points. Windows Phones allow people who already own an Xbox 360 to log in with their existing Xbox Live/Microsoft ID and receive instant access to their Xbox Live profiles, friends lists, messages. Existing users can customize their Xbox avatars directly from their phones, while new users can create them. The SmartGlass app can even sync with a handful of Xbox 360 games and apps right now, with more titles to support SmartGlass in the future.

Sure, you can many of those features on iOS as well, but they aren’t nearly as integrated as on Windows Phone. Most of the functionality is built right into WP8; WP7 users need the Xbox Live Extras app. The SmartGlass app requires a quick download on both WP7 and WP8. After that, you’ll find it all conveniently located in the Games hub.

Head past the break for more of Windows Phone Central’s Xbox Live primer plus our picks for the best Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012!

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This weekend Microsoft experienced a problem with their Xbox LIVE Saved Cloud Games service, causing some gamers grief as they could not save their progress to the cloud or access previous saves. Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson reported early this morning that the problem been resolved and that those affected would be given a free month of Gold service for their troubles. Microsoft's General Manager of Xbox Live, Alex Garden, sent out an apologetic email trying to reassure users that this will not happen again.

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Slowly but surely, Nokia and Electronic Arts continue to pump out Nokia-exclusive Xbox Windows Phone games. These titles also include games from Chillingo, a popular mobile publisher owned by EA. The latest Chillingo-published exclusive iBomber Defense comes from Scottish developer Cobra.

Originally an iOS game, Cobra’s tower defense title has since branched out to other platforms like Steam and Windows Phone. Fans of the genre should be thankful for that, because other than some performance issues and rough Achievements, iBomber Defense is the best traditional tower defense game in the Xbox lineup.

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It looks like there might not be a new Xbox Windows Phone release this week, as we haven’t heard news of one from Microsoft. But they like to surprise us every now and then, so time will tell. In the meantime, Windows Phone 8 users can play a new(ish) game, as in a WP7 title that was previously incompatible with the new OS. Even better, the newly returned title is one of the best from the incompatible list.

Crimson Dragon Side Story from Grounding and Microsoft has been patched for Windows Phone 8. The version 1.2 patch greatly enhances the game’s speed, but we've also heard it closes a well-liked loophole.

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