Angry Birds Star Wars still planned for Windows Phone 7 (and Windows 8)

Today’s news that Angry Birds Star Wars launched on Windows Phone 8 at the same date and the same price as the iOS and Android versions is a landmark event for Microsoft’s new mobile OS. Such parity has long been the hope and dream of Windows Phone 7 gamers. Speaking of which, said gamers who are unable to switch over to Windows Phone 8 in the immediate future might be feeling left out now that such greatly-desired titles are launching on WP8 but not 7. We’re seeing that sentiment in our article comments and forums already.

As it happens, Nokia has commented on the possibility of Angry Birds Star Wars coming to Windows Phone 7. Check out their quote and our analysis after the break.

Pimping those 920s

Nokia’s Lee Brooke has just posted an article about the arrival of Angry Star Birds Wars, I mean Angry Birds Star Wars on the Nokia Conversations blog. He describes the game in detail and makes sure to emphasize what a good purchase it makes for new Lumia 920 and 820 owners. But of most interested to is the following quote:

“As for when Angry Birds Star Wars might arrive on Lumia phones running on Windows Phone 7.5 – Rovio and Nokia want to make sure everything works as well as it can before they launch the game, but we’ll update you as soon as we know more. In the meantime, go and download Angry Birds Roost to access some free goodies and use the Angry Cam to liven up your photos.”

XNA and the dark side of the Force

Angry Birds Star Wars

Windows Phone 8 version

The implication here is that Rovio will launch a separate version of Angry Birds Star Wars specifically for Windows Phone 7. Why not publish it at the same time as the WP8 game? Put simply, it’s a lot harder to code games for WP7 than WP8. That’s because WP7 lacks direct hardware access and support for popular programming languages like C++. WP7 games must be developed in XNA, which is a functional but less than versatile platform aimed at aspiring developers rather than experienced ones. Yes, a simple game like Angry Birds can be done with XNA (WP7 already has the original, after all) but it still takes more time and money than with WP8.

Besides, WP8 is understandably a higher priority right now anyway. The freshly launched mobile OS needs compelling software in order to help it take a foothold and eventually catch on with the wider mobile audience. Like it or not, WP7 is no longer the future of Microsoft’s mobile plans. But it will continue to receive support from some developers for the foreseeable future, as Nokia’s comment proves.

Another consideration: financially, creating two separate versions of a game doesn’t make sense for most developers. Yes, art and assets can be used between both versions, but the porting process (especially in the case of WP7) is very much like producing a whole new game. It’s very likely that Nokia is actually helping to fund the WP7 port. After the big push they gave their WP7 Lumia handsets earlier this year, Nokia wants to keep existing buyers happy for at least a little longer. So while Angry Birds Star Wars is available to all Windows Phone 8 users, the WP7 version may actually be a Nokia exclusive. The recently launched Angry Birds Roost app needs some mileage, after all. No word on Angry Birds Space coming to WP7, but we'll update if we hear anything.

Windows 8?

Another question Microsoft fans may have is what happened to the Windows 8 version of Angry Birds Star Wars. We’ve seen reports that the tablet/PC version appeared briefly on the Windows 8 store but was quickly pulled. It looks like a simultaneous launch was planned until a last-minute problem popped up. Expect the Windows 8 version to arrive quite soon. It will probably cost $4.99, just like Angry Birds Space. The inflated price is a markup for the higher resolution tablet/PC version, a common practice among tablet games.

To play either game on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (or 7), users would need to purchase each version separately. While existing Windows Phone 7 software can be redownloaded on WP8 devices for no extra charge, Microsoft considers Windows 8 a separate platform. Hopefully they will eventually allow universal purchases for Windows 8 and WP8 games, much as iOS currently offers… But don’t count on it.

Windows Phone 8 love

Angry Birds Star Wars cost 99 cents on Windows Phone 8. Get it here (opens in new tab) on the Windows Phone Store.

Update: The Windows 8 version is now available for $4.99.

QR: Angry Birds Star Wars

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • If Rovio were smart, they'd release their games on wp7 first, considering more user base than wp8. Or, they can release one game but compatible on both versions.
  • Read the article... I explain why that didn't happen.
  • Its too long I couldn't be bothered. This is starting to piss me off. First are the Nokia "exclusives" like Viber with voice, and Mirrors Edge. Then came the Angry Birds Roost, and now wp7 users getting left behind just like the time when OSX 10.6 came out, ignoring PowerPC users because of old hardware, difference being is that wp7 is actually just 2 years old. I guess it's bad to be an early adopter for everything. So this year I'm skipping the big fat Lumia 920 brick, the plastic Ativ series, and the wtf colors of HTC 8-lumia wanna-be phones, and stick to my HTC TITAN for the time being, despite the great apps being only available on Nokia and the sister platform. Might as well start hacking it if I want the goodies.
  • Lol! You. Are. Fail.
  • If you are a true early adopter, you'd be on your upgrade point right now since WP7 was launched in October of 2010.
    Stop whinning, you'll get it soon enough.
  • Judging by the posters dislike for the current crop of  WP8 devices, it isn't a matter of not being in position to upgrade. It just looks like (I'm assuming) none of the devices look upgrade worthy to the poster. I am sort of straddling the fence myself. The 920 is a nice device, but the lack of expandable storage could be a deal breaker for me (Relying on Skydrive or any kind of cloud storage is just not an option for me at the moment)
  • Really?  32GB is NOT ENOUGH storage?  Get the 820, or an HTC or Samsung device that does have expandable storage.
  • I have a laptop and a desktop with about an average of 18 gigs worth of music each. Not to mention videos, the apps I'd probably install and pictures taken. No, its not enough. And call me picky, but I currently have an Android with a 4.5 inch screen. I absolutely love that screen size (or bigger if possible) and just don't see myself going to a device with a screen any smaller. The ATIV S would be my perfect device. Alas, we have no idea when its headed to the states. So chances are, I won't be upgrading anytime soon
  • Here here! All the first generation adopters are going to bum-rush AT&T tomorrow. It's going to be fun.
  • LMAO!
  • I got my wp7 the week they released. My upgrade was last June so im stuck but I like my titan.
  • What do you mean? You got the Titan II in June or something?
  • True early adopter here.  I'm still on my Samsung Focus 1, so I'm due for an update now.  But for some reason, AT&T's site won't let me get any phone without paying full price... even though it says I'm due for an upgrade and I emailed them and they said the same thing.  Gonna have to call in my order, I suppose.
  • "Its too long I couldn't be bothered." So you prefer to talk out of your as* instead of taking a couple of minutes to read the article? OK, then.
  • I agree with the other replies. If you aren't going to be bothered to read the article, don't comment on it as though you know all the reasons this is happening.
  • @travis_valkyrie Regarding our article: "Its too long I couldn't be bothered" And there folks, is the problem with the internet and society these days. "Explanation? I can't be bothered but hear ME rant some nonsense like my opinion matters..."
  • It's retarded. I remember how MS was saying how easy it was to develop in XNA. Now it's a pain since WP8 is out. Ain't that a bitch. 
  • It was meant to be easy, but code from other platforms doesn't port well to XNA. Nor did the game engine makers port their engines to XNA. Hence, XNA was essentially a bad move (for WP7, at least).
  • XNA and C# in general is easy to develop with especially because you dont have to worry about memory management what so ever. Create and object, use it remove all refereneces to other objects and that object and eventually the GC will dispose it. I for one have been writting directX applications since MDX days .. yes before XNA killed that as well and as much as I love XNA and C# (which I write code for a living using it) for gaming and memory management the GC (Garbage Collector) in .net makes life very difficult sometimes to release objects from memory. The platform NEEDED to get away from Windows CE (manage code only) and align with the rest of the world. With Native C++/CX and XAML support for Games and C# for App's it is truely a great thing. Just look how they were able to take a BIG title like angry birds space and starwars renditions and have them available the SAME day they were put on iOS and Android. I for one am very excited for this support and cannot wait for my Lumia 920 to arrive shortly :)
  • I hear you with the Titan upgrade, but alas, I ain't feeling you elsewhere, as I've gone and gotten the Surface RT ;)
  • It's never going to happen. Angry Birds will never see another release on WP7. Why would they do it now when WP7 is dead and WP8 is the future? They never did it before. No one is going to pay Rovio to make it, and there are not enough people on WP7 to support development and no one is buying a WP7 anymore.
    It makes sense to promise it will come, but it just won't. There's not enough money to be made to support legacy device development. It will never happen!
  • As the article suggest then it is in the interest of Nokia that some popurlar app do make it to WP7, makes sene. Nokia is know for their support and this is a way to show people, so yeah make it a Nokia exclusive to shoe the other OEM what support means!
  • It makes NO sense for Nokia or Rovio to finance a brand new batch of games for WP7 phones they are no longer selling. It would make sense if A) It was already in development for WP7 (probably not) or B) there are millions of WP7 users stuck on the platform waiting to buy it (not likely! few people have WP7 and a vast majority is jumping to WP8 soon).
    When you see a new Angry Birds game made for legacy WP7 you can come back here and show me. I'll eat my hat. :)
  • It makes perfect sense for Nokia to continue to push apps to this platform. Why? Because now that WP8 is the premium OS in the high end, WP7.8 can be used to fuel very low-cost smartphones at the low-end.
    I see you just about to tell me that no one will buy them. Sure, you won't. Neither will I. But people on a budget, and in developing countries, or who really don't care about all the integration Windows Phone 8 offers, will definitely appreciate a low-end low-cost smartphone that actually runs smoothly and efficiently unlike the Android devices at the same price-point.
  • Why is this game so special??
  • It's the latest entry in an extremely popular series. Check out our previous article to learn why this version is particularly interesting.
  • I didn't even finish the first installment of angry bored pretty quick.
  • It's special because it's $4.99 in Windows 8 as opposed to $2.99 on iPad and Android Tablet.
  • Not a terrific answer. :P
  • Interesting.
  • "Upgrade as soon as possible" must be nice to have money. I should have waited because I knew Apollo was coming out. Instead I got the lumia 900 its ok phone but the audio sucks and the camera is meh plus some games lag on the device. I seriously doubt anymore games of this caliber is coming out for 7.X. Developers see more potential in WP8 than worry about porting a game to a dated OS. Good job MS.
  • We are still better off than any BB user who is still buying phones...:)  At least all WP7 users have a wide array of apps to choose from, and there is still a minor upgrade for them to 7.8.  You should still be able to pawn off the 900 for around $300 which make the purchase of the 920 only around $150:)  Not chump change but much more reasonable:)
  • How is the camera experience and "some" (but not all apparently) games laging on the device  MS fault?
    Also shame on them for making WP8 attractive to developers...
  • +1
  • Agreed, Nokia and MS spent a lot of time telling us the Lunia 900 was a must have phone and the future of smart phones then 6 months latter that all changed. I get that Tech changes fast and something bigger and better is always just around the corner I just hate it when company's leave there loyal earlier adapters behind. I have spent a lot of time evangelizing the WP platform to coworkers and friends that use other platforms (mostly iOS) a lot of them were really interested until this happened. Now they say why would I take the chance of switching? They don't trust that MS won't just do the same thing to users again next year. Oh well maybe in a year when my contract is up there will be a Surface Phone. /rant
  • I'm sorry but those who bought the 900 are not early adopters. They got the shaft, but not by being early adopters. I agree that the 900 was released too late in the WP7 life cycle, but the early adopter thing doesn't apply, here.
  • I'm so glad wp7 is now a second call citizen just cause wp8 is almost out some of use r not retarded enough to spend almost $500 on a new phone so ty to all these company postponing all the wp7 apps
  • Hmm so this is how the next year or so is going to go? People STILL not understanding/accepting why things are the way they are. Anyway, since you think that companies are "postponing" apps, the fact is it is easier for companies to do a 3-way port of their games between iOS/Android/WP8. It takes more development time/money for them to build a WP7 version of a game they have already started development on. Hence the "postponement"...
  • "That’s because WP7 lacks direct hardware access and support for popular programming languages like C#."
    I think you mean C++.  Lack of C# support would be a real problem...
  • android 2.2 is Two years old and plays this game....this is getting very annoying....having windows 7 alienates me 
  • WP7 will play it too. Read the article to understand why the WP7 version is coming later.
  • i know but when is "later"?  i heard that term and that means wayyyyy later or never at all. 
  • The lack of C/C++ support is to blame .. not the hardware.
  • I'm still disappointed that you apparently have to buy apps multiple times. I mean, I was hoping buying the app on my phone would be all I needed to play it on my PC. That doesn't necessarily mean THIS title, but when I've already bought games like Uno on my Xbox, I don't like that I'll have to again buy them on my phone AND my PC. They really need to make apps all-inclusive for your devices.
  • Well, it doesn't make sense with a game like Uno because the PC version would be an all-new game from a development standpoint. But when both versions are developed simultaneously (as will be the case with many WP8 and Windows 8 games), it's definitely fair to ask Microsoft to allow a universal purchase.
  • I agree, especially since you're more than likely using the same login for both W8 and WP8, and if Microsoft wants this three screens mantra. I bought a lot of the Pinball FX2 tables on my 360... but I can't re-download those same tables on Windows 8.  I know it takes time and money to port games from one system to the next, but it just would add to the value of going with Microsoft. At least, I'll be saving money with Lumia 920.
  • This article is incorrect.  It says: "That’s because WP7 lacks direct hardware access and support for popular programming languages like C#. WP7 games must be developed in XNA...".  XNA isn't a programming language, it's a platform/code library.  You use C# to write XNA apps.  And I think the key issue isn't how easy it is to write XNA apps (it is easy), it's how easy it is to port an app to XNA from another platform.
  • Corrected the C# and XNA lines. Thanks.
  • Microsoft should allow universal purchases for Windows 8 and WP8 games  and those games should have a cross savegame which I can stop playing my title on Windows 8 and continue to play with Windows Phone 8. This should happen.
    It's not difficult to understand...
  • Does the W8 and WP8 share achievements? Or do they have different achievements in different versions. I don't want want to pay $5 for a same game I can get for $1 tomorrow
  • Both versions have separate Achievements.
  • Damn got to waste $6 now :(
  • If you feel it's a waste, don't buy the game!
  • Or he could buy only one or the other. It all depends on how much he enjoys the series and where and when he'd like to play it.
  • Paul and Daniel, you believe, as will happen with the Angry Birds Star Wars, other games for Windows Phone 8 will be released for Windows Phone 7. x in any future??   My biggest concern is with potential users of the new low-cost devices that will be released with Windows Phone 7, as for example the Lumia 510. They will buy the unit waiting to play some games and also new apps (hey Instagram!!!). They will feel cheated if they buy these devices and cannot play any new game, not being able to use an app launched recently. Nokia and Microsoft need to be honest with these users.   In my country, Brazil, for example, the Nokia Lumia 900 was released by a cell phone carrier just now in September! By the Nokia site it was possible to purchase it since the end of July. Makes very little time they bought the phone and they've had to buy a new ... Here, the Lumia 900 was launched costing almost $ 900 and 920 Lumia should arrive even more expensive than that. So, is not really easy changing very fast smartphone in here.
  • I sympathize with your country getting phones so late and at a high cost. There may be a handful of WP8 Xbox games that also launch on WP7, but it's unlikely to become a common practice because of the reasons described in the article. That said, some WP7 Xbox games (which will play on WP8 and won't require a separate version) will continue to come out this year and possibly into next year. Microsoft doesn't announce very many Windows Phone titles in advance, so we can't know for sure how many games are in development.
  • Honestly, while I agree 100% with Microsoft's strategy of leaving WP7 behind and pushing WP8, that strategy will most likely mean us Latin American will get screwed in regards of acquiring the new WP8 phones, because WP7 phones still are very expensive around here 
  • I brought an ipod touch three years supports the app...i brought a wp7 six months back...BALLS !!
  • There are plenty of newer games that won't run on old iOS hardware though.