In 2010, I was ready for something new. I wasn’t necessarily tired of iOS or Android by any means, but I remember just wanting something different. (Granted, back then, iOS and Android were strikingly different — which isn’t really the case anymore.) webOS, obviously, was my one getaway more often than not, but the hardware wasn’t perfect. So when Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7 Series, I immediately jumped on board.
I didn’t even hesitate. Everything that the company showcased all those years ago was exactly what I was looking for. It was different, in just about every way possible, and I fell in love with those Live Tiles. Windows Phone 7 Series was new and exciting, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
Eventually, Microsoft would drop the Series from Windows Phone 7, and then it would ultimately become the (still-evolving) monster that it is now. Windows Phone has come a long way since its unveiling, and while the updates may not come as fast as other platforms, Microsoft’s focus with the mobile platform is undeniable. That may not always be the case, but at least it’s good to see the mobile OS evolving the way it has so far. Windows Phone continues to improve, while other platforms come and go. It’s certainly now one of the definite platforms available for consumers.
It helps that devices like the One (M8) for Windows exist.
While it’s easy to admit that Windows Phone has come a long way since its initial unveiling, there’s one area that has received absolutely no love or attention at all since it was initially shown off. And it has everything to do with gaming.
I haven’t been quiet about the fact that Microsoft should be one of the best sources of mobile gaming, thanks to their multiplayer network, Xbox Live. While iOS and Google have their own alternatives, Xbox Live is the powerhouse, and Microsoft should be developing studios to build ridiculously great games for their platform. Or doing whatever they can to bring the games that debut on iOS, and make their presence known on Android, to Windows Phone.
Before I get completely off-track yelling about a ridiculously sub-standard Xbox Live presence on Windows Phone, the one missing thing I’m actually referring to is gaming between a home video game console (an Xbox), a PC and a Windows Phone-based device. This is something that was demoed on March 9, in 2010, and then again a couple of more times in different capacities immediately following the initial debut. Watching people use their Windows Phone devices to control elements of games, or with other players, was great. It looked like an early, early version of what Nintendo would ultimately release with the Wii U.
Basically, what Microsoft showed off, was the ability to start a game on your PC (they showed off a pretty simple platformer based on Indiana Jones at the time), and then if you needed to leave for whatever reason, you could pick it up in the exact same place you left off on your Windows Phone-based device. Then, when you got home, you could continue playing on the Xbox. Seamless. Back then I saw this as one of the tent pole features of the mobile platform as a whole.
And yet, it’s not here. And, after those teases, the feature has pretty much completely disappeared. And, with the lack of overall support that Xbox Live gets on the platform in general, a realist would probably say that it’s never coming. They’d probably be right. And yet, I’m still holding out hope. Microsoft’s efforts to bridge the gap, functionally and technically, between their phones, video game console and PC platform have never been bigger, so maybe it’s something that the company will revisit soon.
At this point, I’d take eventually.