Microsoft Brings Xbox Live to Windows Phone, Still Missing Games

One of Microsoft’s most powerful brands recognizable by every teenager and old hipster in the U.S. is being given a much more prominent presence in Windows Phone than ever before that could invigorate the OS’s gaming scene. Of course, that brand is Xbox Live, the social interactive “hub” for gamers to connect, brag, and play with or against each other. With the next major version of Microsoft’s mobile touch operating system Windows Phone, titled Mango (hey, it’s Microsoft), the Xbox Live-integrated Games Hub will be added.

Games Hub is more or less a mobile version of Xbox Live, offering what could arguably be the best interface for gamers-on-the-go. Previously, Windows Phone included an “Xbox Live Extras” app, but that brought limited basic functionality.

The feature list stretches from a Collection view of downloaded games to an ability to stalk view the mobile or console gaming activity of Xbox Live friends. Profiles can be fully customized from Games Hub and there are even the animated 3D avatars from the console dashboard. As part of the social angle, users can search for Gamertags, add friends, send messages via Live, and compare game/achievement history. Live-related news and notifications for game requests round out the revamped, almost full-featured Xbox Live that Games Hub adds to Windows Phone.

While Apple includes the similar Game Center app on iOS devices, Games Hub undoubtedly looks to be best-in-class, oddly particularly in interface. On the other hand, that interface does not mean much without games, and Windows Phone has an almost insignificant amount of games in comparison to the huge App Store library. That may change eventually as Microsoft pushes a mobile Xbox to developers, but it can be funny how the main portable gaming players (pun unintended) are Nintendo, Sony, and Apple. Though if Microsoft wants a laugh, there are the highly-boastable Xbox Live subscription sales.

[via Windows Phone Blog]