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MS: XBL the "hook" for Windows Phone 7

MS talks up gamer appeal for new mobile.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The best thing about the Windows Phone 7 – due out in the UK before Christmas – is Xbox Live integration, Microsoft has said.

The snazzy phone will allow users to take their Xbox Live profile on the move, and includes staple features like Achievements and friends lists.

60 games will be available at launch. Some, such as Zynga's Farmville, are aimed at the casual gaming audience. But others are clearly targeted at the Xbox's traditional fanbase, and have fancy 2D and 3D visuals. We had a play with a few games on the Windows Phone 7 last month and can report that the look pretty indeed.

Matt Thompson, who as general manager of developer and platform evangelism for Microsoft has possibly the most abstract job title of all time, said Xbox Live will be the "hook" that helps sell the phone, according to Venture Beat.

"Clearly the phone is you, so the most unique thing we're trying to do is bring Xbox Live so you can carry the online 'you' into the rest of the world," Thompson said.

Windows Phone 7 will go up against iPhone, Android and other devices that have in recent years invested heavily in gaming.

Microsoft is working on real-time phone-to-console gaming, likely initially through Wi-Fi, but the feature won't be ready for launch. Instead, "turn-by-turn" gaming, where you play a level on the phone and it may unlock a level or a weapon or an Achievement on the console game, will available on day one.

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