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DS helps MS design games

They could almost be related.

Microsoft believes working with the DS will help it design shorter and more casual games that are perfectly suited to Live Arcade.

The comments were made by Microsoft Game Studios boss Phil Spencer, who told Develop his decision to let Rare make Viva Piñata for DS was beneficial all round.

"Rare has a history in making handheld games and titles for Nintendo platforms. When we acquired the studio that expertise was there and the team was there. At Microsoft we had a discussion - do we want to build on that expertise? We decided yes," said Spencer.

"Not so much because we need to support Nintendo - its platform will do fine without us - but because it is important for us to build that experience as a publisher and game developer and understand what it means to build lightweight, maybe shorter session experiences, and maintain that design innovation."

Spencer believes these "shorter, arcade experiences" are a crucial part of what MSGS can offer. He will still work on monster projects like Halo, but he sees sense in also giving us something we can pick-up and play in bite-sized chunks.

Live Arcade does this already, and because of it he says it shares lots of similarities with handhelds. And, looking to the future, it is an area it can only get stronger in the more it learns about it.

If only all decisions seemed as straightfoward - we're still not convinced this festive red knit sweater compliments our trousers.