Thursday, 26 August 2010

Microsoft Looking Into Windows Phone 7/Xbox 360 Real Time Multiplayer

A Microsoft rep, talking to rgbFilter, has addressed that they are not only looking into turn-based multiplayer and Xbox Live support for their coming Windows Phone 7, they are looking into real time multiplayer as well, meaning you could theoretically play against someone who is playing a game on their 360 while you are on your phone.
"So initially we're turn by turn-based... We are working on real-time phone-to-console, likely initially through Wi-Fi -- again, operator networks are sensitive to that. That's not on day one; day one will be turn-by-turn as well as companion-type gaming where you play a level on the phone and it may unlock a level or a weapon or some special achievement on the console game. But, uh yeah -- absolutely working on phone-to-console real-time. That is something we're working on and expect to have in the near future."
This is extremely ambitious on Microsoft's part, and kudos to them for trying, but I need to point out two things. For one, this would have to be on WiFi, and WiFi gaming is already seen by non-casual gamers are flawed due to latency and speed issues; any serious gaming is simply not possible, though that's only of real concern to sports and FPS gamers. But most importantly, Microsoft tried this between PC and 360 gamers, and binned it because it wasn't competitive; the PC gamers wiped the floor with the more-limited 360 players. In a case like this, I would expect the phone players to be at a competitive disadvantage.

I could see this working with a few casual games, and it's possible Microsoft is applying some lessons that they learned from their PC experience. With that said, this is worth keeping an eye on, but I don't think this is something to really get high hopes on.

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