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Reader question: How does gaming on WP7 tie into the Xbox 360?

We often get questions about the Xbox Live service on WP7 devices and how it correlates to the Xbox Live service on Xbox 360 consoles or on Windows PC's (where it's called Games for Windows - LIVE!).  Oh look! Here's one now from ericesque:

In general, I'm just fuzzy on how gaming on WP7 ties to the Xbox 360. Specifically, I'm wondering if I buy a game on my xbox, will I have to pay for a copy for WP7 too? Also, have we seen any games that let you play with friends on xbox if you're on WP7? I couldn't find any good learning resources from Microsoft. Hoping the experts could help.

Currently, gaming on WP7 is separated into two categories - games, and Xbox Live games. The Xbox Live service on WP7 is not so incredibly different from the Games for Windows - LIVE! service on Windows PC's. Downloading games and game demos from the marketplace is present and accounted for. A great deal of the social ins and outs is present too. With Xbox Live on WP7 you can easily see what your friends are up to - be it gaming or watching a movie or listening to music.

Friend requests and game invites are also present but will often lend itself to signing in on your Xbox 360 to accept a request. Game invitations, or rather, asynchronous multiplayer isn't currently set up for anything other than Uno and Chess in Game Chest: Logic Games. Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst works in tandem with Xbox 360's version of Crackdown 2 in that unlockables will become available in each version of the games with playthroughs from each other.

So far, the majority of the Xbox Live games on WP7 aren't companions to anything available on Xbox 360 and must be purchased separately. Ilomilo is the most recent game to come out for Xbox Live Arcade that is also on WP7 and is very much the same game as its WP7 counterpart, but each must be purchased separately.

No game, as of yet, can be played 100% synchronously with other people. The tie-in that you speak of doesn't exactly exist other than that it's just an extension of the service - of the same name, on a different device. A copy of a game on PC can be completely different from the Xbox 360 version and the version of that same game on WP7 will be worlds different in format, control, fun, and especially mobility.

See our Xbox/Windows Phone 7 Guide for more info.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

9 Comments
  • I think you meant to say that games on WP7 *aren't* companions to anything available on Xbox 360.
  • Depends on what you mean by "companion game."
  • Ilomilo is not at all the same on both platforms. It plays mostly the same, but the content is vastly different, I hope you realize that.
  • Eh, I'd still say it's "very much the same". So it has different levels--the point is the same and the WP7 version has zero interaction with the 360 version, which is the point here--it's not a companion game.
  • I agree completely. The content of Ilomilo is different and it does play a bit differently (I'm not playing the Xbox 360 version of Ilomilo over here with an AMOLED touchscreen after all - that would be sa-weet!) but the mechanics and gameplay are very much the same. To the point of the article though - the Xbox 360 version and the WP7 version of Ilomilo don't play in tandem and, like all Xbox Live games (even games that are part of a series or the same game on a different platform), must be purchased separately.
  • Just to clarify and dissect what I had stated earlier - the majority of Xbox Live games available on WP7 (which are part of a series, ie: Need for Speed, Ilomilo, Hexic, Bejeweled, etc.) are not companion games. They are separate properties. Meaning they do not play in tandem with their console counterparts. Other games (specifically Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst, Halo Waypoint or Uno) are companion games in that they do interact in some way with their console counterparts but are also separate properties in that they can be experienced without having to play their console counterpart.
  • Thanks for this. It helps to have some terminology around whether a game interacts between devices or not-- ie. separate properties and companion games.
  • "asynchronous multiplayer isn't currently set up for anything other than Uno and ..." ---> Uno has turn multiplayer? since when?
  • Microsoft won't even consider this a suggestion.