Microsoft To Bring Xbox Live Marketplace To Windows Phone 7

Microsoft’s brand new mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, will be introduced in the last quarter of this year. This week at the Gamescom conference in Germany, Microsoft announced more details on the platform, making clear where the focus will be; Games.

Xbox Live is already available for the successful Xbox 360 and PC gamers, with over 25 million users. With Xbox Live, gamers can check out new games, keep track of scores and send messages to fellow players. Part of the service is Xbox Live Marketplace, where users can test and purchase games online. Microsoft now announced that the full Xbox Live suite, including the Marketplace, will be built into the Windows Phone 7 OS.

The company has announced a full list of launch titles for WP7 handsets, including some familiar names and franchises like Castlevania, Halo: Waypoint, Star Wars, Crackdown, and Guitar Hero. In total, the company will launch with over 60 game titles, with new offerings appearing every week in the Xbox Live Marketplace, just like its big brother console version (via Engadget).

Considering the popularity of Games on other platforms, especially for paid content, the Xbox Live Marketplace seems a great opportunity for both future Windows Phone users and game developers. However, from the announcement, it seems that this Marketplace will not be open to all game developers. Microsoft has started an own Mobile Games Studio, that both develops its own games and works with external game houses to bring content to the Xbox Live Marketplace for Windows Phone as well.

The question is how and if this will work for many of the smaller game developers that already have successful games on other platforms. Will they get access to this Marketplace, or will Microsoft use the also upcoming Windows Phone 7 Marketplace to distribute other gaming content outside the Xbox platform to Windows Phone 7? We think this is very likely, where a Windows Phone 7 users can get Games in two different ways; from both the Phone 7 and Xbox Live Marketplaces.

Vincent Hoogsteder