Minesweeper and Sudoko stirring up a storm

Sudoku and Minesweeper seems to be causing a bit of a stir. The two Windows Phone Xbox Live titles are now available over at the Marketplace (for free) but for some reason Microsoft limited the release to the U.S. Market only.

We received a small sampling of the ill feelings from our International readers the other day about this restriction but over at the Windows Blog, Microsoft seems to be taking it on the chin.  Here are a few of the comments that basically sum up the feeling of those readers.

"At some point the WP team is going to need to realize there are places outside the USA. So many missing features / USA only apps." -Freypal

"This just confirmed the fact that to the rest of the world Microsoft is just showing us a "big middle finger"."-K.Rawlins

"With all due respect, this "US Only" thing is getting old real fast. I am a US citizen, but I'm not sure why Microsoft loves screwing over the rest of the world."-Cylon Centurion

Michael Stroh penned the post over at the Windows Phone Blog and appeared to be as surprised as we were to learn these titles were "U.S. Only". Stroh would later learn that there are no plans to introduce these two games elsewhere and promised to make sure the Xbox Live team was aware of the ill feelings.

Now here's a question (actually two) for our readers. Is the irritation from not being able to play Minesweeper or Sudoku? Or is more over the principle of things? If it's the latter, I never knew Minesweeper had such a following.

Personally, I think unless an app has regional content that wouldn't make sense anywhere else, every Marketplace app should be available system wide. I can understand Bing Get Me There being only useful in London because I don't have any Tube Stations in Alabama.

But games? Come on, make them available world wide. Obviously you've got some language issues to tackle but the rewards will surely out weigh the cost.  Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Maybe the Xbox Live team visits our blog as well.

Source: Windowsteamblog

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • It's the principle that MS can't seem to make content available worldwide while others can. Not just games but Music and more.Who cares if they translate them, just give the stuff to us.One of the main things: Bing Music. Yes it probably uses the Zune library to search but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get it. Shazam and others don't have problems.
  • Shazam spends ages to add one new country - negotiations with music industry are tough. Same with Google (Google Music is US only), Spotify (US launch delayed by two years!), Apple (no iTunes streaming despite years of negotiations), Pandora (US only) and many others.
  • Microsoft is actually very responsible about globalization and making things available in other countries. The are usually good reasons why some things cannot be released in every country right away (usually it comes down to legal and tax reasons). Even though Microsoft has expanded their music and phone services in more in more countries, people are complaining about Minesweeper not being available in their country? It is unfortunate, but it's not like Microsoft wants to have things restricted to the US, so people shouldn't be taking this so personally. If anything, blame the tax and legal systems.
  • I'm pretty sure both new games will be available outside US when Microsoft's advertising platform will launch outside of US later this year.
  • George - My post on this is getting heaps of Aussie and global traffic:Does MS even get it re: Region restrictions outside the US? | Windows Phone DownUnder http://www.wpdownunder.com/?p=1769Cliff Simpkins from MS basically tweeted that my last paragraph was on the money.My issue is that they don't explain or give context for international customers who are HUGE supporters of their OS. OK we get MS may be trialing a new revenue stream, that only works at this stage in the US. However can they at least acknowledge all of us OS customers and say this - and advise if they anticipate this ever moving beyond US....engage, engage, engage.Full link: http://www.wpdownunder.com/?p=1769
  • Duh, it has to do with the advertising. It's an ad-supported app.Agreed with previous post about localization on MSFT's behalf in the general sense. You can get most of their products in some pretty obscure languages. Even MSDN content tends to come in many, many flavors.
  • I think its a constant battle with us international users. I have been wanting a ZunePass since last year but it wasn't available in Canada. We here about all these cool features and we want in on it and we are sad panadas when we find out some of those features are US only.
  • Never was crazy about mindsweeper but, free achevement points, sign me up !
  • I would argue that even something like Bing Get me There should be available worldwide, it can be useful to people wanting to visit London. Likewise, every news app should be available worldwide. I'm French and live in the UK, as an expat I want to keep up with news in my country but not all French apps are available in the UK marketplace.I'd also like to point out that that US only nonsense also exists on Xbox 360.
  • Wait, the Bing App isn't available worldwide? Where is it not? Is it just Europe? It's available in Austria and I never even expected it.
  • They're talking about a different app all together, the 'Bing Get me There' app.
  • I really don't care about these two games and even though they are free in US I still didn't get them and I don't think I do because I am not interested in this type of games.But...I live in US but I have so many international friends and you will be surprise how much their friends like Microsoft products in their country and they pay lots of money so they can have them. Even on those country that Windows Phone did not officially launched they managed to buy devices.I can't imagine how hard those guys have to try to get something that we get here easily.But in order to be successful Microsoft have to think 'Only USA' is not enough. You have lots of fans outside US even more than US and make thing available for them meand greater market and more user feedback therefore better products for future.Here in US, these days people buy whatever c-r-a-p you put Apple logo on it like a sheep but the rest of the world is not like that.Look at Nokia even though they didn't have anything good to offer for years in smartphone market still Apple and Android hardly can beat their market. That't the power of being international.Plus for GOD sake why people outside of US have to wait or never have option to get simple games like these two?It's free game so why not free for everybody in planet earth?Why not use this as advertising power for Windows Phone devices outside US (Where there are much more people actually live)? to make it more popular. Even a simple free games somethimes makes a difference.I know Europe kind of playing not fair with Microsoft like they way they do with Apple and Google (and this maybe a reason) or some legal and tax reasons, but still this 'US only' thing has to stop for Windows Phone, Zune, Xbox, and etc. in order to have more successful and popular products.
  • This is just one more thing to add to the "things you can't do on WP7 outside of the USA" list. I personally don't care for the two games, but would like Microsoft to stop treating their international customers like second class citizens.If there's a legal or contractual reason something can't be done outside the US, figure out how to get around it. This is Microsoft, not some small startup. If Apple can sell music worldwide, Microsoft can not only do it too, but they can try to do it better! (Zune, in many ways, is better than iTunes)
  • Let me start by thanking WPCentral and it's staff for the great job you do in get this content to us. (Great app!) My complaint was not with the lack of apps, all though it seems silly of MS to realease apps to one country. (In light of the already app deprived eco system) I am very disappointed with the broken phone experience for those of us who are trying to use this stuff outside of the US.The excuse we're working on it is running thin...
  • Exactly, "we're working on it" only goes so far for so long. We had weekly updates about the roll out of Nodo which is a nothing update really, yet one of the KILLER features of Windows Phone is ZunePass and most countries don't have it. We never get an update on that. The Sales and Marketing and substantial legal teams need to step it up instead of fighting over patents.Never mind Mango (which I have as I am a dev) I want ZunePass in New Zealand. I appreciate they have to negotiate contracts but the point is this (and it's real simple). The devs can add all the cool fatures in the world but until everyone has all of the features people will not rave about WP7. They have the resources and sway to do these deals make no mistake this is about money and nothing more. Bite the bullet MS and take this on the chin because it's better to have a growing market with smaller margins than a shrinking market that will disappear up its own backside. Its a shame because I have had WM6.5, iPhone, Android and countless Nokias and WP7 is by far the best experience - by a long way too. How much better if I could use Scout, Bing Music and ZunePass? That's a killer phone not the hobbled one I have. We can only hope that the Nokia deal helps solve some of the contractual restrictions becuase as stevethenerd says "we're working on it"is running thin...
  • For myself, it's the principle of what I'm paying for. Yes I live in Canada, but I pay my $50 a year to access Xbox Live Gold. While that covers a fair amount of services, something like this really pisses me off. Exactly why shouldn't I have received the freebies? I pay for this sort of content monthly. I want the free games I funded. It annoys me to be a paying customer, yearly, and a purchaser of a MS device that won't allow me to access the same content as everyone else.I get the London train maps or movies with licenses for certain regions, but this is Minesweeper and Sudoku. There isn't anything I can see in those apps that makes them internationally unsound. To make matters worse, they didn't even temper it over by providing a different game this week in regions that didn't receive the freebies. Considering all the success I hear MS is having in Europe, why did they skip them?Right now it's just Minesweeper and Sudoku, but I'm worried this will extend to further mishaps down the line. Someone needs to see to it that this gets fixed. I don't want to see this become a precedent.
  • There's no direct connection between paying for Xbox Live Gold (a membership which applies to Xbox 360 only at the moment) and being able to get these two free WP7 games.The rest I agree with though.
  • Disappointed with my WP7 for the first time. What did they do that for ? So people will switch to iPhone ? Sorry but at least i can get every app on my iPad. Reconsider this, Microsoft, before people will actually realize you don't care about them.
  • Oh, and no - it's not about those two games. I couldn't care less about sudoku. It's about Europe being left out as usual...
  • RE : is the irritation from not being able to play Minesweeper or Sudoku? Or is more over the principle of things? If it's the latter, I never knew Minesweeper had such a following.The irritation comes from the price (free) combined with the lack of availability. Demand for free games is always going to be high, especially for xbox live enabled ones that offer achievements and other xbl features.
  • I was looking foward to minesweeper, I'd even have paid for it (don't give them ideas!) but it's more the fact that being in the UK I (and I know from chatting on the forums) and others feel like we in the UK (and i'm sure the rest of the world outside US) feel like we are just hanging onto the sides of this awesome phone, getting little dribs and drabs (the recent xbox dashboard promotion and prop being an example)
  • I'm pissed off because after a year they're still leaving Europe and other nations to the competition without effort.Anyway, as usual, the lack of explanation is where Microsoft fails miserably !I myself have developed a free similar (I think better) game, called Logic Games, which is available everywhere, so if you want :)...
  • I'm just annoyed that we (anyone non-US) didn't get a release this week, paid or free, nothing.And karlstricker said this to me on twitter:Has to do with license and features availability. We don't know yet when and if this will change for these titles.
  • They can't even get the languages right. Since the beginning of Xbox Live and other Microsoft services in Belgium, it's always in French...They seem to forget that 60% of Belgium is speaking Dutch... When I want to stream or buy a movie from Zune, it's in French (dubbed...), getting a invoice from online payments from Microsoft... in French. Since a year or so, MS has it partly fixed on Xbox 360, you can now choose what language you want for Belgium. But, this isn't the fact on Zune and Windows Phone 7 marketplace...Microsoft should really get more international to have success, if Europe had Bing Vision and Bing Audio it would be really a killer-feature. WP7 has one of the best speech technology, which is actually working pretty well.BUT, it's only available in, yes, English... I think they have the technology for more languages, so why not implement it? Microsoft's speech technology is even based on a former Belgian company (L&H). WP7 could be so much better if they had more localized support for European countries, but it's like Microsoft doesn't want it, it seems.
  • Of course I don't care about the games themselves. I already bought the logic chest ages ago, after all.I'm just sick to death of feeling like a second-rate customer in Microsoft's eyes. I can't get Zune pass or even buy music from Zune at all, Bing (while improving) is still tremendously inferior to Google search/maps in Australia and various other irritations that (zune pass aside) just don't exist on iPhone.It doesn't stop with Windows Phone either. Microsoft takes a US-Centric approach to almost everything they do. Remember when they made a big thing about "Windows Anytime Upgrade" with Vista? They forgot to mention we Australians were apparently unworthy of this convenience.etc et-freakin-cetera.