Microsoft on Tuesday announced the first 50 Xbox LIVE game titles that will appear on its upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphone platform this holiday season. The list includes some serious blockbusters—including the first portable versions of such classics as "Halo" and "Crackdown"—and is far more impressive in scope than I had anticipated.
"We believe that no matter where life takes you, the best in gaming and entertainment should follow," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten said. "Windows Phone 7 takes a different approach to handheld gaming, utilizing Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Game Studios, leading game publishers, and innovative indie developers, to create powerful, shared experiences for everyone."
Microsoft is allowing developers to create two types of games for Windows Phone 7: Those that support Xbox LIVE, and thus have higher technical requirements but also offer more features, and those that do not. Developers that target Xbox LIVE can utilize a trial mode for try-before-you-buy functionality, Xbox LIVE Leaderboards, turn-based multiplayer, Achievements, and other unique features.
Microsoft will be supporting Windows Phone 7 directly through its Microsoft Game Studios (MGS), which will create tier-1 first-party game titles for the smartphone platform. The first wave of games will include two exclusive MGS titles, "Halo: Waypoint" and "Crackdown." "Windows Phone 7 is the launch of a major gaming platform for Microsoft," said Microsoft General Manager Matt Booty. "Just like we've done with Xbox 360, our charter is to push the envelope and deliver definitive games that maximize the platform."
Major third-party developers have jumped on the Windows Phone 7 bandwagon as well, including Gameloft, Konami Digital Entertainment, Namco Bandai, PopCap, and THQ. And scanning over the list of first generation games, you'll see a lot of iPhone/iPad titles in there as well. Some of the more prominent games on the list include: "Assassins Creed," "Bejeweled," "Castlevania," "Flowerz," "GeoDefense," "Guitar Hero 5," "I Dig It," "Let's Golf 2," "Splinter Cell Conviction," "Star Wars: Battle for Hoth," "The Harvest," and "Zombie Attack."