No new Xbox games for Windows Phone appeared this week, not even a game from Nokia. This marks the fifth week without a new release – the longest in Windows Phone history. But Windows Phone 8 did gain a new playable title in the form of Shuffle Party (which was previously incompatible), and all Windows Phone users can look forward to the highly-anticipated Skulls of the Shogun next week.
It’s no secret that we consider the ball to have been dropped pretty far as Xbox games for Windows Phone go. You might even say the ball had rolled across the street and into the scary old neighbor’s yard. Throughout the release drought, Windows Phone Central has worked hard at getting an explanation from Microsoft themselves. At last we have official word and a bit of good news to go along with it.
The untold story behind the drought
Maybe another WP8 game besides Angry Birds, please?
Here’s the official word behind the prolonged absence of new Xbox Windows Phone releases:
I’m not sure that many Xbox publishers pushed hard to deliver new games for the Windows Phone 8 launch, since only two Windows Phone 8-specific Xbox games exist even now: Rovio’s Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars. And nobody can claim there was an actual push to update Xbox games to Windows Phone 8 considering that Microsoft doesn’t even alert developers when their games are found incompatible. But several more incompatible games are likely to gain compatibility in the months to come, so the representative is not wrong there.
Windows Phone was not invited to play at this table.
We ran Microsoft’s quote by the Xbox Live developer who originally revealed Microsoft’s reluctance to approve new Xbox Windows Phone projects. Here’s his take:
Speaking of which, when asked for an explanation behind WSOP: Full House Pro coming to XBLA and Windows 8 but not Windows Phone, Microsoft declined to comment.
Promise for the future
Skulls of the Shogun
Now for the actual good news! First off, our Microsoft representative was kind enough to provide a response to this week’s editorial How Microsoft can save Xbox games for Windows Phone: Part 1:
Refreshing to see them acknowledge some room for improvement. We’ve also heard through less official channels that the editorial has made its rounds within Microsoft’s mobile division. We can’t know for sure whether the actual executives with power will read the article, but some of their subordinates have definitely laid eyes on it. As a passionate Windows Phone gaming enthusiast, I very much appreciate everyone’s efforts to tweet the editorial to relevant entities within Microsoft.
At last we come to the best news I can give you today: after this week, we may be done with Xbox release droughts for good! When asked whether regular Xbox Windows Phone releases would resume after Skulls of the Shogun comes out, our Microsoft contact revealed:
That’s not one hundred percent conclusive, but it certainly sounds like we can expect a new Xbox game on February 6th. Many of us will still be busy with Skulls of the Shogun come that time, but more games is always better. And don’t forget, Skulls of the Shogun will debut at a special launch price next week!
Photo courtesy of Deanna Lynn
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