Industry News: Windows Phone 7 Launches

Windows Phone 7 devices launched today, and users who are booting up their phones are being greeted with a good number of apps and games available on day one. We’ve heard from quite a few iOS indie developers that they were going to dabble in Windows Phone 7 development to test the waters of a brand new app market. Currently, there are around 400 games available. However, we suspect that much like the numbers that Apple boasts regarding the number of apps on the App Store, significantly less are likely worth playing.

XBOX Live integration comes standard with Windows Phone 7 instead of Apple’s Game Center, and I really can’t wait to see how this all gets leveraged with the existing XBOX Live functionality that’s baked in to every XBOX 360 game. You’re able to access your existing XBOX Live profile, and any achievements you earn get applied to your existing XBOX Live gamer score. Although, of those 400+ games available, only 26 actually use XBOX Live currently.

Another nice perk of the platform is how streamlined the demo process is. The Windows Phone 7 store allows for the download of demo versions, which are then upgraded to full versions of games and apps without needing to worry about separate full and lite versions like we do on the App Store.

Regardless of how you feel about Windows devices, it’s great to see more competition in the smartphone market. It’s hard to say if Microsoft can catch up to the momentum Apple has built up for itself, but it sure would be nice to see some of the better things about Windows Phone 7 eventually leak over to the iOS platform.

Up until now, mobile game porting seems to have been a one-way affair with most popular iOS games extending out onto other platforms. If Windows Series 7 does attract a new core of game developers, maybe we’ll see that trend in reverse.