By Adam Z. Lein | March 26, 2012 7:29 AM
I know that integrating Xbox LIVE features and gaming into Windows Phone 7 was supposed to be a way to entice some of the millions of Xbox 360 owners into switching to Microsoft’s new mobile operating system for their smartphone needs. It seems to have had the opposite effect on me however. It all started when the Samsung Focus first came out and there was a deal to get a free copy of ilomilo for AT&T Windows Phone customers. Of course I downloaded it right away. I didn’t expect to find mobile gaming that enjoyable really, but I quickly became addicted to IloMilo. Not only was the three dimensional puzzle game challenging me to think “outside the box”, but its theme was about two friends wanting to meet up. Nothing about killing bad guys or violence at all. It was pretty refreshing. I finished the game eventually, savoring the later levels and wanted more. The Xbox 360 version looked great, too but I hadn’t owned a gaming console since 1989.
So I started downloading other Windows Phone games. Fable Coin Golf became my second favorite Windows Phone Game. It has great 3D graphics, challenging levels, and a humorous story line. I knew that the coins collected and weapons unlocked in the game would transfer to Fable III on the Xbox 360, but again I had no such gaming console.
Then Microsoft started sending me early previews of each week’s Xbox LIVE game to help me improve my Windows Phone Xbox gamer score and maybe get a little Pocketnow coverage. Fusion: Sentient was another Windows Phone game that made me feel like things would be even more fun if I had an actual Xbox to play the companion game “Fusion: Genesis.”
When the Xbox 360 Kinect bundles went on sale during the weekend of Black Friday through Cyber Monday last year I had reached my limits. It was time for me to become a gamer again after giving up the Sega Genesis over 20 years ago.
Of course I had to also buy a used copy of Fable III so I could see what I could do with all the gold coins I earned playing Fable Coin Golf on Windows Phone. The Xbox 360 game turned out to be a lot of fun for me, and having a ton of money as well as some extra powerful weapons already in my account allowed me to skip over a few boring parts.
IloMilo on the Xbox was equally as entertaining as the Windows Phone version albeit with some newer puzzles and a few extra twists.
Since I had Kinect, too. I also got Your Shape Fitness 2012 along with a companion app on my Windows Phone that allowed me to track my calorie burning stats, define fitness goals, and create challenges when away from the Xbox.
Then came the Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone which allowed me to do searches and browse through other content while something else was happening on the Xbox and then when ready I can easily choose a “play on Xbox” button to start up whatever I wanted without having to pick up a controller or re-navigate using voice commands or hand gestures. It is quite convenient.
Of course, there’s also Full House Poker which syncs your bankroll between Windows Phone and Xbox 360. Kinectimals allows you to transfer your animals between the phone game and Xbox version. Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp has integrated leaderboards that you can see on the Xbox. Even Halo: Reach players have a nice Halo Waypoint app to track their team member locations on the map while playing on the Xbox.
Now we have news of the new Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II coming to both Xbox and Windows Phone along with the capability to sync game progress between the phone and console meaning that as you play on one device, if you save your game and pick up another device you’ll be able to start up right where you left off. This type of functionality was demo’d by Microsoft long ago and now it seems it will finally become a reality. I’m sure I will buy that game which will likely bring me back to the days of playing the original Sonic The Hedgehog game on the Sega Genesis so many years ago.
Are you an Xbox gamer who’s got a Windows Phone? Or a Windows Phone user who’s got an Xbox?