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No new Xbox Windows Phone game this week - let's look at games that SHOULD be made

As our game-playing readers have probably noticed by now, Xbox for Windows Phone isn’t truly out of drought territory just yet. There is no new Xbox release this week. We asked Microsoft whether the two free Gameloft games on Tuesday were intended to make up for the lack of release. Unfortunately, those games being offered for free resulted from a Store glitch that has since been corrected.

Microsoft couldn’t tell us whether there will be a new Xbox Windows Phone game next week, either. It’s clear that the problems facing the platform won’t go away any time soon. Let’s just hope our editorial series can inspire the powers that be to move things in a better direction… In the meantime, we've got another rumor explaining the lack of games and a hefty list of titles that Microsoft could and should be producing for Windows Phone!

Windows Phone 8 troubles

Angry Birds Star Wars

Angry Birds Star Wars feels so lonely as one of only two WP8 games released.

As you might expect, Windows Phone 8 is the current focus of new mobile Xbox development. There are still some Windows Phone 7 games coming, but a fair number of games planned for release this year won’t work on the older OS. This includes Temple Run, Fairway Solitaire, Gameloft’s lineup, and probably other unannounced titles.

Microsoft has promoted Windows Phone 8 as being easier to develop for than the previous OS thanks to its support of C++ and DirectX. We also know that multiplatform game engines will eventually be available for Windows Phone 8 development. However, at this moment in time, there seem to be some growing pains keeping Xbox games for the new mobile OS from release. Yeah, two Angry Birds games made it to release, but those very simple games were in the works for some time before Windows Phone 8 even launched.

We can’t get more specific, but multiple developers have given us hints that actually getting an Xbox Windows Phone 8 game past certification is proving challenging. Those whispers tie in with my previous editorial about the certification process being a major impediment to the platform receiving new games. On iOS and Android, developers can get games to market very quickly after development wraps. On Windows Phone (7 or 8), it takes months of bouncing builds back and forth between the certification team. That proves costly for developers and keeps new games from reaching users in a timely fashion.

What should have been

Halo Wars

I hear strategy games like Halo Wars work pretty well on phones.

Alright, so the new OS and existing certification hurdles are keeping some games from launching expediently. Still, Microsoft isn’t accepting sufficient Xbox Windows Phone game submissions or spearheading new games like it should be.

We’ll tackle this subject in far greater detail in next week’s How to save Xbox games for Windows Phone editorial, but let’s take a cursory glance now. Here are some games that could have been released this week, if only Microsoft had chosen to actually make them. I’m not saying these titles were pitched, but they’re properties that Microsoft owns the publishing rights to and has the money to develop mobile versions of – if only they felt like it. Most of these games would port easily to Windows Phone, while some would likely need a fair amount of reworking.

  1. Halo (first-person shooter)
  2. Halo Wars
  3. Gears of War
  4. Forza (This needn't be a full sim. The Forza brand has already branched out with Forza Horizon.)
  5. Project Gotham Racing
  6. Fable (Sure, we have Fable Coin Golf on WP7 and it might eventually work on WP8. Now let's make a real portable action-RPG version!)
  7. Minecraft (There's already an iOS version!)
  8. A World of Keflings
  9. Age of Empires
  10. Banjo-Kazooie
  11. Conker
  12. Crimson Alliance
  13. Crimson Skies
  14. Dust: An Elysian Tale
  15. Gunpowder
  16. The Gunstringer
  17. Iron Brigade
  18. Joy Ride Turbo
  19. Kameo
  20. Links
  21. Mahjong
  22. Microsoft Flight Simulator
  23. Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  24. Perfect Dark
  25. Shadow Complex
  26. Shao-Lin's Road (Remember, this one is already complete and Microsoft stubbornly refuses to release it.)
  27. South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!
  28. Spelunky
  29. Taptiles (I suspect this one is secretly in development.)
  30. The Maw
  31. Time Pilot (Same deal as Shao-Lin's Road.)
  32. Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  33. Trials
  34. Viva Piñata
  35. Wreckateer
  36. WSOP: Full House Pro (This one isn’t out on other platforms yet, but it deserves mention again.)
  37. Zoo Tycoon

Can you imagine if even half of those titles made their way to Xbox Windows Phone? We'd be in gaming heaven! Did we miss any Microsoft-published games that you think would be great on phones, loyal readers?

Photo courtesy of Crossroads of Sorcery

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!

  • Flight simulator?
  • +1 Microsoft Flight Simulator  iOS has ms flight sims (plural, theres at least 2 of them!)
    Microsoft Flight Simulator Aircraft Editor - 69p (TAS Games)
    Microsoft Flight Simulator Around the Globe - 69p (TAS Games)
    Asphalt 6 & 7,
    Need for Speed Most Wanted - (EA) - 69p iOS
    Need for Speed Shift (EA) - £1.99 iOS
    Call of Duty Elite (Companion App) - free (Activision)
    Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies (Activision) £2.99
    and ! Microsoft should have Smartglass Windows Phone companion support for EVERY app and game on the 360 & Windows 8 !
    Q. How else will your three screens work?
    my 2cents!
  • Not sure if this is what you're referring to, but there is an app called Infinite Flight in the Marketplace.  It has good reviews, a tad pricey though.

  • I'm aware of that, even though it is a tad expensive i still purchased it and enjoy its updates with new planes,
    i was refering to a ms branded game in iOS store,
    theres also Jetpack, its on iOS, Windows 8, no windows phone love? why cant it be ported easily? theres teams for that!
  • So disappointed in the gaming scene on Windows Phone. A ton of promises that are never delivered. What ever happened to Top Gun for Windows Phone? Whomever is in charge of brining new gaming titles to Windows Phone should be up for evaluation at Microsoft. In a space this competitive, Microsoft can't afford to go weekes without releases.
  • I've been wondering the same thing for 18 months now: where's Top Gun, which was announced at E3 in 2011 ???
  • hahahaha a glitch! im glad i got them when i did then :)... I wish open world games would come to the phone and tablet lineup. I think then microsoft might actually be able to hit a huge market. They should really put more effort into there gaming side. as current its kinda weak at best.
  • Are you kidding me?
    A perfect lineup would include FF1-6 remakes, plus FF7 remade in a FFIV-remake-style, Chrono Trigger, Limbo, Portal...
    Perhaps Lufia/Lufia2 as well as FFVIII and FFIX as well. Any of those would be more awesome to me than the entire list proposed in this article.
  • I don't play FF nor do I know anyone that does. I can understand having the latest one or two of the series, but the whole thing? We're not catering to chubby,virgin, basement dwelling neckbeards on Windows Phone, that's Android's bag...
  • A bit harsh no?  I'm in great shape, not a virgin (not sure why this is a bad thing anyway), and own my house and I love the games he listed.  The Final Fantasy series is enjoyed by a lot of people like me.  You're an editor of the site, no reason to be a jerk over a little troll-bait critique.
  • +1 on every point you just made.
  • You see, its not the type of game like MW, where the latest is the best because the game is simply the same. In these games the story, and much of the game mechanics, differ from each other.
    Nor does WP ime cater to a different breed of people than android. Like android, it caters to everyone with the money to buy it.
    "why watch Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction when we can just get Django Unchained?" is not really a good argument.
    But congratulations on broadly sweeping millions of people under the same rug, despite common sense.
  • That response kind of crossed the line, Daniel. I know you're prone to the occasional unprofessional outburst, but ridiculing one of your readers for a perfectly valid, harmless, and on-topic opinion like that is pretty messed up. Last time I checked, you guys earn your living by attracting readers to your website, not by crapping on them.
  • Agreed.
    Daniel, If you're going to be a writer/editor of any sort  -internet or not - be prepared to receive criticism and opposing point of views.  That's why there's a discussion board, a comment section.  This site is rapidly turning into BGR - censoring those who post opposing viewpoints and cyber-bullying.  Have some class.  If you want to post garbage like that, blog it.  You're an ambassador to the WP community and this comment and others you've made make it embarrassing to be part of.
  • That was uncalled for..really!!
  • Those games belong to Square Enix. WP does already have the first Final Fantasy remake, and others will hopefully follow in time. But this article is just focused on games Microsoft owns or publishes already.
  • Does Microsoft actually own all these franchises? I thought Minecraft was independent.
  • No, they don't own own Minecraft; they just publish it on XBLA. But they have a great relationship with the developer and could easily comission a WP port.
  • Fair enough, Paul :)
  • Portal... ...on a phone... My head just imploded.
  • Halo Wars as a tactics game is perfect for touch. Waiting...
    Also do we have any BT gaming controllers coming? Any accessory like that? Will MS make a more gaming phone like Sony did? Or just because this is MS, we think Xbox needs to be here full force. I honestly think the causal phone type game is well represented but too many are indie games. I don't think anyone would switch devices because of a remake of Halo or a version of a non story oriented game like Forza. I think MS needs to make it easier for good games to become Xbox branded, but we have beaten that dead horse enough.
  • Microsoft should take a page from Nvidia's Project Shield. Microsoft shoudl take a typical Xbox 360 controller, give it a new skin/color (so it is not confused with a normal Xbox controller), and stick Bluetooth in it. They should then give it an adjustable mount to hold the wide variety of Windows Phones at the top, so you can hold the controller with the screen being your phone, which can be securely mounted to the top.
    I disagree with the game sentiment, though. If people saw Halo and Forza coming to Windows Phone, I'd bet we see plenty of Android- and iOS-using LIVE members jumping to Windows Phone to get a taste, as long as reviews came back fairly positive.
  • But that not is what a phone is about. I'm a huge Halo fan I want that on my TV. People want Instagram on their phone or Foursquare, or two minutes of Temple Run. Hardcore gamers are a small minority, hardcore phone gamers...even smaller.
  • Games like Grandt Theft Auto III, NOVA (a Halo clone), and Modern Combat sell great on iOS and Android. There's a wide range of tastes among mobile gamers.
  • Do they sell phones? How many copies? How many people play them through 10,20,50,100%? Maybe I'm not seeing the facts but games are throw aways, at least instagram is a community. That is longevity.
  • I don't have numbers either, but games are definitely not throwaways. I'd venture to guess that the most downloaded apps on most platforms are games. When I look at the store on my iPad, the top paid and free lists are always full of games. Same with Windows Phone and I'd imagine the same with Android. It's not the sole reason to own a platform, but definitely makes it appealing to many.
  • And are they free halos or free taptiles type games. That's my only point. I'm thinking long term profitability. Our market share is too small for big budget games when we have a huge "essentials" app gap. I wanted to buy Belkin WiFi power plugs, but ios Android. We know that list is huge, my point is Halo would be fun, might sell, but it won't get many converts.
  • I'd certainly pick up Halo Wars on my WP8 device, especially if it's done as well as Skulls of the Shogun. That said they *really* need to convince Bungie to do a WP8 Halo game, Forza would be pretty cool too... 
  • Bungie has left the Halo brand. 343 is now in control of it.
  • ahhhh thought they still had it rights wise.... 343's done a great job with it so far though. 
  • No they haven't Halo 4 multiplayer is abysmal and its now off of MLG
  • Hmm... I've enjoyed what I played of it.
  • I thought Halo 4 had the best MP in the series, coupled with a great campaign and Spartan Ops....seems like a win to me.  One of the best $60 values of 2012.  
  • I am not sure that I would take the multiplayer of 4 over 2. Part of that is because 2 had much better maps, while maps like Abandon and Exile on 4 are completely garbage. There also seems to be an overall lack of maps within a gametype, where they took a solid pool of maps and only gave each gametype half of them.
  • Agree that Halo 2 had the better maps.  I just like the new armor options, it gives the game a bit of strategy that I think was missing from earlier Halos (prior to Reach anyway).  Doesn't hurt that it's quite nice to look at either.
  • If you want to talk "abysmal," then talk about MLG. It's a bloated joke of online gaming. I went to their site and could not quickly find a list of "approved" MLG games, but I DO see Halo 4 still listed at the top of their site. The 3 games that are featured, though, are Starcraft 2, League of Legends, and Call of Duty Black Ops II.
    I'll point out that I haven't played Black Ops 2, though I own it. I have had WAY too much with Halo 4 to stop for CoD. However, as someone who has played every other Call of Duty since the 360 released but World at War (2, 2: Big Red One, 3, MW, MW2, BO, and MW3; 3 was so bad that I skipped World at War becuase Treyarch made it), I can say that picking Call of Duty for professional gaming over Halo 4 is NOT a credibility matter.
    They're picking these games because they are widely available to gamers on multiple platforms. Call of Duty has always done a HORRIBLE job of weapon balancing, with one or two wepons being the clear-cut winner in each weapon class. Halo 4 (and the series as a whole) does a pretty great job of both balancing weapons and avoiding too many of the fancy jokes like Killstreaks that can gretly swing the momentum of a game.
    I'll end my rant here, but I'll again say that I have no respect for the decisions of MLG, so screw using them to measure quality, and to call Halo 4 multiplayer abysmal is to call every Cal of Duty multiplayer the bottom of the barrel of online gaming, especially when you simply say it is "abysmal," while offering no explanation. Beyond the horrid killcam (a feature that is an abomination to multiplayer in the first place, THANK CALL OF DUTY), I have few complaints, if any.
  • Being such a big Halo fan, it pains me to say that Halo 4 also has a poor balance in weapons. The Designated Marksman's Rifle is now a necessity for any long range battle and the being instantly gunned down by the Bolt Shot at every other corner has become extremely annoying. Though the campaign was nothing short of amazing, the multiplayer definitely needs some work as weapons like the Covenant Carbine and Light Rifle are all but present whenever I play. I really hope that 343i starts speaking with the community a bit more because from what I've seen on the Halo forums, little is being said by 343i in response to the many complaints towards multiplayer and forge. I understand that they can't please everyone or answer every question but some complaints are well known and almost universally agreed upon. That's just what I've gathered during game play and my time on the Halo Forums.
  • Here's one you can add to the list:  Call of Duty: Zombies.  It's already on iOS, and would certainly be a great addition to the XBox lineup (given its popularity).
  • +1
  • With the weak catalog of Xbox titles on WP, it wouldn't take much for BB10 to establish itself as the third best gaming ecosystem if they wanted to.
  • Yep
  • This is the one thing that has been puzzling me. As pointed out in the article Microsoft has a plethora of titles that would work so well on a phone. Imo halo wars and aoe would be fantastic titles for the mobile platform. Yet thus far Microsoft seems to just be asleep or not caring about pushing there own platform. Like I said I'm just puzzled by the seeming lack of commitment to there own platform.
  • It is puzzling, no doubt.  Also, I saw a few games in the store - Game Room -"Insert Title Here"...They are all by Microsoft, but the ratings are poor, and reviews are dated from months ago.  Most of the complaints are about bugs/controls; some for WP8 support; but what puzzles me is that, apparently, the issues haven't been addressed.  I mean, these are Microsoft's games; why wouldn't they be able to update and fix the issues, quickly, for their own platform.
    Yeah, puzzling.
  • I'd LOVE to see a game like Zoo Tycoon make it to WP, but I would be worried about how it would look and play on such a small touch-screen device.
  • ANY tycoon game would be good.  You don't see too many of them anymore...
  • Ruzzle? Temple run? Temple run 2? Clash of clans?
  • In the preview release of Windows 8, the solitaire, mayjong, taptiles, and minesweeper games all had placeholder text in place of the daily challenges. That text mentioned the ability to play on the computer, tablet, and phone and keep our progress etc.
    So, where are those games? I really expected them to come out shortly after Windows 8's launch and am really dissapointed that any of those games have yet been mentioned or released.
    Of course, seeing as how the daily challenge callendar in those games are still messed up (but not nearly as bad as before the last two updates) I guess it isn't suprising that there are no phone versions.
    I don't see how MS is going to get other companies to follow their three screen stratergy if they won't even do it.
  • So true...
  • Why solitare isnt a xbox game on windows phone makes no sense at all.  Even my Treo 850 with winmo 6.1 had it preinstalled.  Beat the one on windows 8...why cant they just port it...
  • Agree 100%.  Give it to the Wordament guys!!!  They have done GREAT work with it.  I can play on my Windows Phone, my wife's iPhone, and ANY computer (Win 8 or the internet based version).  Same stats on each one plus stackable achievements.
  • Agreed. It feels like Microsoft is stuck in some strange space. You have to support you're own products and sells others on benefits of your devices, before the overwhelming supports comes. It also feels like the company puts out something and expects others to coke along, because they are Microsoft. It's a frustrating and weird time, in regards to the gaming situation.
  • welcome to microsoft world. so much broken promisses.
    i am sorry microsoft, i realized i am not invented around you. switched to android. however you will be great in the future, i wont come back to you due to your past
  • Gears of war?
  • Third game on the list. :)
  • Well everybody that's y I just play Xbox
  • Amen lol
  • What about Fifa? It's the #1 sports game on all consoles, its on Android and iOS, not to mention the Fifa Ultimate team apps as well.
  • FIFA has been announced as a Nokia exclusive game, though we don't know when it's coming. The list is focused on Microsoft-published games though.
  • It is as if Microsoft really does not give a damn about their customers. When I upgraded from WP7 to 8 I was really optimistic about the upcoming games now I can't say the same as there really is no big titles on the new OS as there should be. They MS is too slow for the fast industry.
  • I am totally satisfied with the platform itself, but the gaming side of the WP is depressing.
  • They could at least put something on sale !!1
    Mind you, did get Earthworm Jim free this week I guess.
  • I bought into the WP idea solely on the promise of Xbox games (starting with OG Samsung Focus) and have been nothing but let down.  I thought WP8 was going to be their second chance - for me it was their last.  Looking forward to seeing an Ubuntu phone running on intel mobile hardware so I can just dump MS and use steam for gaming.  At least then I'll know that if I buy the game once I'll be able to run it on my phone, pc, and tv (steambox) - I thought MS was going to do this with their '3 screens' approach, but instead they just want you to buy the same game 3 times.  At least with iOS I could get universal apps/games.  Microsoft has really dropped the ball and they missed a great opportunity to be the most consumer friendly ecosystem out there.  Too many missteps has turned this MS fanboy into a MS mehboy.  Maybe I'll come back around if they ever fix this mess they've made, but I'm sick of waiting.
  • If that list were to come real ... Microsoft would be leaders in no time ...
  • Add Conker to the list Paul. Windows Phone could easily carve a niche as the best mobile OS for gaming, sadly MS seems content to let a real advantage lapse. Thankfully, I like all Windows Phone so I'm not going to switch but come on Microsoft, you own some of best gaming ip's going; utilise them! On a side note, Paul, has your editorials had any further traction inside MS's gaming teams?
  • I cannot wait to sell my dead windows phone and get an iPhone 5S/6. I bought an HTC Titan and only use it for calling and texting.
  • WP users will always be waiting and waiting until they give up. I've reached that point.
  • So happy right now, I'm stuck with my 900 for 1 year and 6 months, and I'm still haven't got the 7.8 update. Thank you MS, I have had WP since I said, really happy now.
  • If your on atnt that's crap I already know people getting it and you bought the product knowing that the upgrade path had not been clarified. Don't blame ms for your ignorance to the facts
  • I'm in Sweden and I didn't know anything about the upgrade because they didn't say anything about that until the fall.
  • Give us a @ to hammer on Twitter, Paul. I feel like I have been bamboozled into buying a Windows Phone 8. Everything they have claimed on this front (which was a large selling feature to most of us) was a lie There should be some program put together buy Microsoft to cover our losses in switching to iOS or Android. There is no reason I should eat the $ committed to WP8 by me, because they have flat out lied. That's their problem.
  • I've been asked not to mention specific Microsoft Twitter handles when calling fans to action. If somebody else wants to post a list, they're free to do so. In the meantime, just think of everyone you've read about who relates to Xbox Live or WP and give them a shout.
  • The irony. They cant be bothered to get off their dead ass and do what they were promised, but they find the time to ask people to hide them. Cowards. I don't do my job and I have people up my ass. These people don't do theirs and they can ask to be hidden in the witness protection program.
  • The lack of a Halo or Forza game amazes me.
  • That is the list of games I want to see on my phone! Yes please!
  • Limbo
  • Is anyone at MS listening?  And if they are listening are they responding??
  • OMG Halo Wars2 for the phone would be amazing, they should have had that as a lunch game for WP7...
    What a missed oppertunity
  • Then they could have hit us with a $10 XBLA game to continue playing the phone game at home on the Xbox via a cloud save...
    Come on MS you know it makes sense
  • XBLA and WP games are not highly portable. Basically, each game has to be developed separately, even when they share assets. So while it would be awesome to buy an XBLA game and get the WP version for free, that doesn't really make sense for Microsoft.  Maybe porting between the next Xbox console and WP8 will be easier though...
  • "Unfortunately, those games being offered for free resulted from a Store glitch that has since been corrected." Well, I call that God's way of punishing MS broken promises. Let's hope next time He makes a glitch that makes EVERY GAME free. As for that list, the only one I would really be into would be Age of Empires. But also...remember Microsoft CLEARLY promissing Temple Run on the presentation of WP8? Where's that?
  • It's still coming, but hasn't cleared certification. We'll have a preview of it sometime before it launches.
    You did know that Pinball FX2 is coming out with new Star Wars tables and a STAND ALONE SW PINBALL APP FOR IOS & ANDROID?!!
    With Pinball FX all over Xbox 360 and Win 8... there SHOULD Be a WP8 version and it kills me there isn't.  They can make iOS and Android, but no WP???  BAH!!!
    Oh, and kudos for throwing South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play! on your list.  I love that game.
  • Glad you like that South Park game too! It's surprisingly well done. Pinball FX2 has been announced for WP - that's why I didn't include it on the list. But AFAIK it hasn't actually been in active development for a long time, so it could end up as vaporware. That would be a shame considering the availability of other mobile versions...
  • Where's PES 2013?
  • Halo is a no brainer. Come on 343
  • Keep these articles coming!!! Hopefully someone from Microsoft will read these and get to work.
  • OMG where did u get the graveyard pic
  • Whoops, thought I had saved after adding the photo credit but I guess not. Added a link to the source at the bottom of the article.
  • The pic makes me sad about not having games... I'm still waiting for gameloft for 12 games they promised
  • That was definitely my intention when choosing the image. :)
  • So much potential...
  • So many possibilities with this great gpu and yet NOTHING has made use of it yet, looking forward to seeing how it handles modern combat 3 but a real Microsoft property like halo or gears would be absolutely awesome.
  • SONIC 4 EPISODE 2. You know... they kinda said July, with awesome pick up where you left off Xbox functionality, cept... people who have it on Xbox don't even benefit from that anymore since they most likely have just beaten it on their Xboxes.... :(
  • I think they should just port the complete Xbox arcade library.. Whenever a new game comes on XBLA, create a WP port!! Simple!! Good games will automatically come through!!
  • Crimson Skies please!
  • Shining Force from Sega would be awesome
  • +1 for Kameo
    I would play the absolute F*** out of that. Also anything elder scrolls based ( maybe an arena game?) would be awesome!!!
  • I would love a Alan Wake game for WP8. Maybe some Alan Wake episodes?
  • I've just updated to WP8 from WP7. How about they sort out Orbital and Tentacles first?
  • 9. Age of Empires:
  • Sims games, cod, GTA. And that's just 3. Windows phone is so behind on games when you would think it would be #1. But I'm not gonna lose faith.
  • I love WP8, and I'd like to upgrade from my WP7 but I'm very hesitant. In fact, I'm considering ditching the platform, giving up and going back to Apple (as much as I despise them).  The overall lack of games and apps on WP is just ridiculous at this point.
    Why no Halo Wars 2? It's a no-brainer. Also the fact that there is STILL no Instagram kills me. I don't even use the service, but it's the most popular thing out there.
    While I'm at it, has the Halo Waypoint app even been updated for Halo 4? I assumed it would be updated for Halo 4 the day it was released, but as of a month back it was still Halo Reach only. I mean, gimme a break, that's just brutal.