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Was Xbox Live support dropped for Tetris Blitz on Windows Phone? [Updated]

This has been a terrible year for Xbox games on Windows Phone. Microsoft has all but dropped support for the Xbox branding on phones, developers have stopped releasing Xbox games en masse, and new Xbox games are basically a rare occurrence nowadays. Don’t you wish the Windows Phone team cared a lick about gamers?

The latest sign of the inevitable demise of Xbox on Windows Phone comes with last week’s Tetris Blitz update. The game launched in a bug-ridden state (see our review). But to Electronic Arts’ credit, the publisher has released a steady stream of updates to improve its product. The latest update certainly packs some improvements, but it sort of looks like it removes Tetris Blitz’s Xbox branding. Could this be the end of EA’s Xbox support or just a snafu?

Update: EA's official response after the break!

Tetris Blitz version 1.4 release notes

  • New Tournaments Mode – Compete against other players in limited-time events, each with its own unique rules and leaderboards
  • Player Profiles and Avatars – Create your own Tournament identity
  • Updated News Section – Stay informed of new Tournaments and challenges
  • Holiday Content – Get festive this holiday season with surprise content

This update basically catches the Windows Phone 8 game up with the iOS version, which received the update on November 26.

This update totally revamps the game’s menu system. Several functions like the Bonus Blitz, Settings, and Achievements are tucked away under the orange button with three lines at the top-left corner of the screen. Actual game types are selected by swiping left or right in the main window below. The Pro Scoring Strategies button at the bottom of the menu leads to several YouTube strategy videos.

The update adds a couple of new powerups that players can buy: Blitz’n and Bulldozer. It also fixes the mismatched prices on the Power of the Week. Or maybe they fixed that in the previous update; I forget.

I haven’t managed to discover the holiday content yet. Maybe it’s hidden away in Tournament mode or something?

Tournament Mode

As for the new Tournament mode, unfortunately it doesn’t unlock until the player reaches level 11 (I’m at 8). There newly redesigned menu system has a button labelled “UNLOCK Level 11” right at the top of the screen. Presumably this is intended to allow players to unlock Tournament Mode straight away by making an In-App Purchase. However, the button doesn’t do anything.

We do know that Tournaments are timed worldwide competitions. The top three participants win truckloads of coins. That could never be me because unfortunately, I’m too slow to excel at Tetris Blitz.

Live no more?

Was Xbox Live support dropped for Tetris Blitz on Windows Phone?

The reason many are fearing the game has dropped Xbox support: the Xbox banner has disappeared from its tile on the Windows Phone Store! Indeed that is highly unusual; I can’t think of another game to have done so in this manner. See, Xbox has never been patched out of a Windows Phone game – the existing Xbox version usually gets delisted while a new non-Xbox version appears on the Store.

Tetris Blitz version 1.4 is definitely not a separate version, and it still appears under the Xbox section of the Games hub. The Store page still lists Xbox Live in the description. What’s more, the Achievements continue to appear under the in-game Achievements menu under the new “Xbox” header. The Achievements menu also lists Challenges and non-Xbox Achievements as well now.

To my eyes, it looks like Tetris Blitz still has the same Xbox Achievements it always had – plus some extra ones that don’t award GamerScore. And a couple of readers have reported that they earned genuine Xbox Achievements after the update. If my optical receptors and those guys are to be believed, Tetris Blitz has not dropped the ‘box.

My best guess is that the removal of the Xbox banner from the game’s Store tile is simply in error. We contacted EA but haven’t received a response yet. If they provide an official explanation, we’ll update and let you know.

  • Tetris Blitz – Windows Phone 8 – 42 MB – Free – Store Link

Update

Electronic Arts has issued a statement on this issue:

"We’re not removing XBOX Live functionality from this title; rather, our distribution team accidentally uploaded the wrong icon and is in the process of changing it, but the cert process takes a couple of weeks.  That said, we’re definitely working on correcting the issue, and in the meantime, Xbox Live functionality should be working as normal."

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!

80 Comments
  • I think game developers will rather sacrifice xbox live achievements for more faster updates.
  • true that!
  • It's possible, but as stated in the article people have gained Xbox achievements after the latest update. Not only that but on my phone it's still listed in the Xbox section of the games in the store and installs in the xbox section of the games hub. Edit: Having just installed it the Xbox branding shows up, could be an EA snfu with the icon. Oh, should just add "It seems faster" :P
  • No Xbox Live usually means cheaper if not free games. That's a shame.
  • Uhh, Tetris Blitz is free and it's Xbox branded!!
  • "Free". $6 for a small piece of the game. This is the ultimate Nickel and dime game.
  • But... you don't have to pay. I've been playing Tetris since its release and haven't bought anything.
  • Exactly, it's a pay if you want to get ahead. As you play you earn coins to buy power ups, no real money transactions unless you would like to use them.
  • Ugh if you think free to play games are free I have some shiny rocks to sell you
  • I wasn't talking about IAPs, I was talking about the game itself being free!!
  • Asphalt 8 took the Asphalt 7 Xbox LIVE integration out and didn't lower the price (hard to do from $0.99, of course).
  • It is still Live enabled. I've won 2 achievements since the last update. It just seems to have lost the Xbox banner from its game tile
  • Just an update: the Xbox banner is back on the game's cover art in the windowsphone.com store. What a weird set of events. Everyone who cares about Xbox on WP is on edge given the recent defections by Gameloft, Rovio, and Miniclip, and we're all just hoping that EA will continue to be the saving grace, then out of nowhere they update the title and strip away the Xbox banner in the store. Everyone freaks out, then a few days later it's back on there. Wonder what that was all about.
  • It might be a terrible year xbox games on WP but its best year for games on WP especially last 2 months
  • If it added achievements that have no score that ties in with Xbox one they do that on the one
  • Consider them 'challenges' as found on xbox one, with 0gs
  • I'm predicting that they had to remove it for the holiday update to be accepted on time.
  • I played against xbox live users, in a separate game mode now, if you want to earn the 100000lines achievement you must play against Facebook friends, which i thought was odd. Offline mode, xbox mode and tournaments don't go towards the cleared lines achievement.
  • Nice bait and switch article, playing on people concerned about the state of Xbox Live games in Windows Phone... knowing full well that Xbox Live had not been removed from Tetris Blitz, but not mentioning it until the end of the article.
    You should be ashamed, I thought WPC did things different and had more integrity than that.
  • We actually adopted the perspective of the tips we had received on this story for the introduction, and then transitioned to the real situation later in the article.
  • So... you played on the misconceptions of users, only to bury the truth in the last couple of lines in the article.
    Oh... that's much better. Please don't lower WPC's standards to the likes if other tech websites.
  • That's a very cynical way of looking at it.
  • Does the headline not seem misleading and attention grabbing to you?
  • I disagree with tanglewood and Morpheus. Given the recent situation with Xbox on Windows Phone, with major developers like Gameloft, MiniClip, and Rovio suddenly eschewing Xbox support and Microsoft Studios nowhere to be seen, the sudden stripping of the Xbox banner from an EA games warrants the headline of this article. In fact, even though Xbox achievements are still in the game, I don't think this bodes well for EAs commitment to Xbox on WP: someone consciously removed the Xbox banner from the cover art, and we haven't gotten a new EA game since September.
  • The point is the article/headline imply one thing, while the truth is regulated to a couple of lines at the end of the article.
  • I guess I'm not as optimistic as you all that the truth is that everything is peachy. I fear that this is an ominous sign that doesn't bode well for future Xbox on WP support by EA. Sure, Xbox achievements are technically still in the game, but they've been buried now and the cover art of the game has been stripped of Xbox branding. The headline of the article implies that something is not right, and that's a completely accurate interpretation of the situation: something is not right.
  • By 'buried', do you mean in the same place that non-Xbox achievements are?
    And there has actually been more achievements for Xbox added.
    Really, the changes have brought the game more in line with the versions on other platforms. As far as features and UI go.
    The "article", in my opinion, is sensationalized by having an attention grabbing, fear mongering headline, and continues from the start to the end where it finally rectifies the headline. Talk about buried.
  • By buried I mean you have to tap a context menu, then you have to tap the achievements submenu, then you have to scroll down past a bunch of non-Xbox achievements before you finally get to the Xbox ones. Before, there was an Xbox Achievements button on the home page. That's 3 steps (tap, tap, scroll) vs. 1 (tap). That's called 'buried'. You see the update bringing extra features, I see the update burying the only feature I cared about.  The UI is a clumsy mess now. Calling the title "fear-mongering" is an overstatement. Callign it "attention-grabbing" is more justified. In my opinion, the article paints a rosier picture than reality. You see it the other way. I took the red pill, you took the blue one.
  • it's alright, news is news on Wpcentral. It's well appreciated. and frankly we wait for it like crack addicts. So calm thy tits ser.
  • Just chill,dude
  • I would rather not get my WP news from a site that sensationalizes things. Those sites are a dime a dozen, WPC is better than that.
  • This article is not sensationalizing anything. In my opinion it is actually downplaying the gravity of the situation. Xbox on Windows Phone has gone through a rough few  months and the stripping of the Xbox banner from this games's cover art does not bode well. Here is a summary of Xbox on WP's recent rough patch, which more than justifies this "sensationalistic" title: http://forums.wpcentral.com/gamers-lounge/249754-asphalt-8-not-xbox-title-lets-mobilize-reverse-trend-savexboxwp.html
  • I fully understand the state of Xbox Live titles on WP.
    How you can read this headline/article and not see sensationalism of the topic is beyond me.
  • If you "fully understand the state of Xbox Live titles on WP" then you should know why  the headline of this article isn't sensationalistic. It's actually quite tame given the reality. We've had 3 measly Xbox titles released in the past 4 months. We used to get them every week. Major developers--Gameloft, MiniClip, Rovio--whose previous games were all Xbox enabled have stopped releasing Xbox titles. EA hasn't released an Xbox game since September, and they just removed the Xbox banner from the game's cover art and then furtively buried the previously prominent Xbox achievements under a slew of non-Xbox ones. The author is perfectly justified in asking if Xbox Live integration has been dropped from this title. There is nothing sensationalistic about that given recent history.
  • Don't bother arguing with him. I just remembered that's Josh Harwood, the guy we had to ban for his antagonistic and delusional comments right around the time he created a second account. And he doesn't seem to have learned anything from the experience.
  • I can see why devs don't go the xbox live path. Its just not worth the trouble with updates
  • It's not just the updates, it's the certification process for Xbox that takes weeks if not months and developers want to get their games onto the platform sooner rather than later. I don't think Xbox on WP is being dropped but I suspect that the certification process is being improved to get the games out quicker and they are, possibly, adding new features for Xbox One integration. I would also guees that they have told developers to hold off submitting games for Xbox certification because of this. 
  • Help tell Microsoft to fix the cumbersome Xbox certification process for Windows Phone: re-tweet #SaveXboxWP posts on Twitter, por favor!
  • I also have gotten an achievement since the update and the tile still has an Xbox banner on my phone.
  • I would like to hear something official from EA or Microsoft on this as it seems very bizarre to remove the Xbox banner from the game cover art: that's a conscious decision by some one. This is a good opportunity to take to Twitter and tell @EA @EAMobile @TetrisBlitzEA that we value Xbox branding on Windows Phone and particularly loved EA's support of it. This is part of the #SaveXboxWP movement and we'd love to have you on board. For more details: http://forums.wpcentral.com/gamers-lounge/249754-asphalt-8-not-xbox-title-lets-mobilize-reverse-trend-savexboxwp.html
  • After the update I unlocked Blitz'n, the holiday content power up, which was my tenth one and didn't receive the achievement for it.
    Also, its quite annoying that the updates seem to erase my progress toward getting the 100,000 line clears, making it very difficult to get those that three achievements.
  • No, fortunately EA hasn't dropped Xbox on Tetris, it was false alarm. However, the disappearence of the Xbox branding AND the shoving of the Xbox avievements to the bottom of a list of achievements doesn't cast any optimism over next titles. I have been playing the "new" version on my Nokia L1020 and I HAVE gained an Xbox achievements on it, which means they're still there and working. Also, on the phone, the tile still shows the Xbox branding. But that this was quite the scare, it was. And 2014 will most likely bring the end of Xbox Games on WP for sure. If they haven't ended already. Congratulations, Microsoft. Oh, by the way, the "holiday content" showed in the form of a Christmas weekly Power-Up (those you can buy or use 60 times to unlock). It's a Santa Claus slay that crosses the top of the screen dropping three big tetris presents.
  • I'm hoping just the opposite.
    Further integration of the "One Microsoft" will hopefully bring more Xbox titles, not just Xbox Live branded games... but that could take a while.
  • I want that too, but I'm not going to just passively sit back and hope it comes to fruition. Given the recent track record of Xbox on Windows Phone, a proactive approach is needed. Please help us tweet #SaveXboxWP posts to Microsoft on Twitter. They need to know we're here, and that we want mobile Xbox gaming.
  • Seriously, what is with all this doom predicament about xbox live games. From the moment I read that they used a windows Phone to play Xbox 360 games via a streaming services I was 100% sure that they wouldn't stop caring about xbox live. Microsoft is actively working on project Rio to allow game streaming to all their devices. I am pretty sure they'll allow us to play games through our phones by streaming it from our xbox. Much like the ps4 and the Vita already do. Might be coming with the threshhold update... 
  • What you are talking about would certainly be an awesome feature--for Xbox One owners. But not everyone who owns a Windows Phone and wants to game also has an Xbox One (and also wants to spend $60 on games). The beauty of mobile games is that they are suited for phones. The best console games would never work on a phone (small screen, touch screen controls) and many of the best phone games wouldn't be fun on a giant TV with a controller. Microsoft needs to do both: bring a PS4/Vita-esque experience via SmartGlass or whatnot to Xbox One and WP, but they also need to amp up their efforts for bringing native mobile games to Xbox on WP. The doom and gloom about it is summed up here: http://forums.wpcentral.com/gamers-lounge/249754-asphalt-8-not-xbox-title-lets-mobilize-reverse-trend-savexboxwp.html
  • No chievos? NO DEAL !
     
  • Read the article not just the headline.
  • My game icon has the new Xbox logo I thank it ties in with the new simplistic look
  • This is probably just an exception, and wouldn't be a surprise if Xbox live on WP dies a quiet death in 2014, just like so many other Microsoft ventures they were too lazy to put any effort into. Quite a shameful situation actually, but maybe not surprising from a company that told bold faced lies about its tablet sales then had to write off $900 million because of poor sales of those same tablets. Pathetic and shady behavior from Microsoft.
  • Lol, what Surface sales have to do with Windows Phone game branding?!
  • Absolutely nothing but he threw it in because he thinks it backs up his argument.
  • I hope I can still unlock the 100000 line achievement. I've been working on it since the game came out and have not idea of my progress. I've avoided the most recent update until I hear more news about the achievements. Is it true that with the update you can't unlock 100000 unless you play with FB friends? Will not updating keep my progress?
  • My wife is still working on that achievement, but said that it now shows a progress bar, so you should be able to see about how far along you are on it.
  • Did this update reset the lines cleared achievement (Xbox)? I am already on level 13 and I haven't reached 10,000 lines cleared yet (let alone 100,000), and the progress bar has hardly moved. I only play single player. Is there some truth to this FB bullsheet?
  • Is EA's abandoning of the xbox live branding a possible reason for games such as Fifa 14 not arriving 'within weeks' of when Nokia said they would??
  • If you actually bothered to download Tetris Blitz then you would realise that it's only an issue with the icon in the store, it still has Xbox Integration. Why would them abandoning it be the cause for a delay, the delay is more likely due to the Xbox certification process.
  • I'm worried about FIFA 14  launching without Xbox integration. I've been waiting forever for it, like you. If it launches without it I'm going to, first, go bananas on Twitter and #SaveXboxWP all over @EAMobile, and second, buy FIFA 13, which does have Xbox integration, instead.
  • This game is the most pay to winish game I have ever played.
  • I've never paid a cent and yet I've enjoyed countless hours of "winning" so I'm not sure it the "most pay to winish"
  • I want normal Tetris tbh.
  • If games start dropping Achievements or everything becomes an "indie" game instead of Xbox for WP I'll quickly lose interest in gaming in the platform.
  • The question in the article about EA potentially dropping Xbox support is just plain stupid. They're one of the highest developers for Xbox. Dropping Xbox support on a mobile game in no way constitutes them dropping everything.
  • I wonder what ms thoughts are on Xbox games for WP in the future.
  • My guess is that it will evolve into a Gamecentre or Play Games style service where it is optional for ALL games indie and Xbox enabled, this will mean that even without integration in the game the achievements register themselves with the Xbox service and contribute to your gamerscore.
  • They need to make the games section into an app.
  • Yeah, Achievements work still - in fact, after the update, it for some reason gave me the "Over Achiever" Achievement, but not the "Eradicator" one (100,000 lines), even though I'm positive I've gotten that many by now (I'm at level 46!).  At least the "Eradicator" one has a progress bar now (says I'm at around 80%... perhaps an earlier update really did reset it? :/  ). Hopefully we'll see more XBL support in other games as the "One Microsoft" thing gets more aligned.  (XBox One indie developers are supposedly able to add XBL Achievements & functionality in with less hassle than Microsoft has traditionally given them, right?  So hopefully we'll see that extend to Windows Phone, Windows 8, and XB360 titles? Hope Springs Eternal...)
  • That's what I'm thinking, I guess they are revamping Xbox on Windows Phone which would explain why we haven't seen any new titles lately.
  • I have to say I am disappointed with the dropping of Xbox games on WP. I am a Microsoft mark, but truthfully, games with Xbox branding and achievements were one of the hugest selling points for me getting a WP back in the 7.5 days. Its by no means a deal breaker for me, but it is disappointing nonetheless. That said, I have also unlocked a new achievement since the update, so this game is still good to go.
  • #SaveXboxWP, baby. We'd love to have you on board helping us tweet Microsoft and telling them to step up support for mobile Xbox gaming.
  • Haha, I have sent out a few tweets to MS, Xbox, Windows Phone and Nokia with that exact hash tag already, but always glad to try and save one of WPs biggest selling points.
  • Actually its still an Xbox title
  • No, It's still Xbox LIVE game.
  • Ccc
  • There's one thing that i've noticed on the windows 8.1 store, the game Disney Infinity: Toy Box came up with a non Xbox title, but it has Xbox banner on the store now. Does Xbox really change the way it works? game go first, certification go after?
  • I managed to finish the last achievement a couple weeks ago and deleted the game the instant I confirmed the achievements were recorded on Xbox.com.  The game was a buggy mess from day one.  The first update seemed to make things better, then the next two screwed things up.  Chewed through my battery way too quickly for just a Tetris game (my 810 would barely last an hour from full charge to "battery critically low"), it would randomly crash and usually required three or four tries to actually launch.  And those macro-transactions were insulting.  $6 for a single power-up?  I wouldn't have bought the entire game for $6 if it came with everything unlocked.  It's good that no purchases are required for all achievements, but there are some things that can't be unlocked except by purchasing at their ridiculous prices (like the "upgrades" - $6 for a second "Hold" box and $4 to see the next 3 pieces to fall instead of just the next one).
  • I can't believe I paid $1.99 for Bejeweled only to find out it was 3 years old and no longer supports leader boards? Crap. I wish I could get my money back they shouldn't be selling this stuff if it doesn't work as advertised. There's a screenshot of the leader board in the store!
  • Pretty sure its leaderboards still work. You're not getting an error message, are you? Nearly all Xbox WP games only support friends leaderboards. If you don't have any Xbox Live friends who play that game, the leaderboard will be blank for you.
  • Just go to Xbox support site and chat with them regarding this. They will refund the amount ,: )
  • Why is Tetris Blitz say its not available on the store?! It it only for Nokia phones now?! If so, its outrageous! People need apps for all mobile devices, not just Nokia's! Its unfair and should be available to all!