E3 2013: Microsoft talks Windows Phone gaming, SmartGlass, and Xbox Music

Yesterday at E3 2013 we managed to squeeze in an interview with Peter Orullian, Group Product Manager at Microsoft. Peter is a ridiculously accomplished individual. He writes books, sings opera, and somehow finds time to work with Windows Phone, SmartGlass, and Xbox Music. Leave some lifetime Achievements for the rest of us, big guy!

Anyway, I sat down on camera with him to discuss his contributions to Windows Phone and SmartGlass, plus the Xbox One and his favorite games of the show. Windows Phone Central’s Daniel Rubino and “Serious” Sam Sabri also pitched in on the interview questions. Head past the break for the video interview and a brief summary!

Windows Phone

It’s always interesting to directly hear how the different people within Microsoft view the state of gaming on Windows Phone. Peter rightly points out that Windows Phone games continue to flow faster than ever before, especially thanks to the massive OS changes and improved hardware of Windows Phone 8. We’d all like to see more games and titles that release on the same day and date as their iOS counterparts, but nobody can deny that the gaming situation has improved drastically this year.

The only way to inspire change is by asking tough questions, and so I made sure to grill Peter about how the Xbox certification process slows down game updates and keeps many Windows Phone games from having the same content and features as the same iOS games. You’ll have to watch the video for his reply.

We made more ground on the subject of independent volume control. Windows Phone is the only mobile OS that doesn’t allow users to control ringer volume and game and ap volume independently of each other. As I explained to Peter, this often leads to users turning down the volume during gaming sessions, forgetting to turn the volume back up, and then missing calls. Peter gave us an optimistic reply – maybe we’ll see independent volume control in the future after all!


Microsoft made a big deal about Xbox One SmartGlass features during Monday’s Media Briefing, and for good reason. Peter informed us that the Xbox One was actually designed with SmartGlass compatibility in mind. As a result, said integration will be deeper and much more common in Xbox One games than ever before.

Two examples are Project Spark and Dead Rising 3. Project Spark allows users to build their own custom games, edit environments, customize AI, and lots more; all that can be done directly on your Windows Phone or tablet. We’ll have a more in-depth look at this highly unusual game soon.

Dead Rising 3’s combination of controller-based gameplay with creative SmartGlass features impresses just as much, if not more. The actual game is played on a controller as the protagonist navigates an open world filled with hordes of zombies. If players activate their SmartGlass phone or tablet app while playing, they’ll see the actual character on-screen using his phone. The game sends text alerts via the SmartGlass app that give you hints about where to go and what to do. It’s quite a meta combination. And of course, SmartGlass users can perform special in-game actions like calling in airstrikes in order to thin the zombie herds. These features are compelling enough that you’ll actually want to launch SmartGlass while playing.

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!