Microsoft may be bringing Xbox LIVE to Windows Mobile devices perhaps as early as the launch of Windows Mobile 7 expected late 2010, according to recent job postings on Microsoft's site. The software giant is looking for a program manager and software tester to join the LIVE team, and both positions would be focused on integrating Xbox LIVE with Windows Mobile. The positions were first uncovered by Mobile Techworld.
Xbox LIVE on Windows Mobile devices plays into Microsoft's oft-discussed 'three screens' concept that aims to create a seamless computing experience between your PC, television and mobile device (as well as the cloud). The new Xbox LIVE strategy also echoes back to the Xbox Live Anywhere program first announced at the E3 conference in 2006.
Microsoft is looking for a Principal Program Manager "who can help drive the platform and bring Xbox LIVE enabled games to Windows Mobile." It doesn't get much plainer than that: Microsoft is actively working on bringing Xbox LIVE games to Windows Mobile. Adding a little more detail, although not much, the posting goes on to say that the manager will "focus specifically on what makes gaming experiences 'LIVE Enabled' through aspects such as avatar integration, social interactions, and multi-screen experiences."
The software tester position's relevance to Xbox isn't as clear as the program manager, but based on its description the tester may be working on the same project. The job posting reads: "Do you think mobile gaming and always connected Internet has the potential to change the way people play games? If so then the Mobile Entertainment is where you need to be." Towards the end, the job posting says the software tester will "have the opportunity to make a critical impact [on] the next release of Windows Mobile."
Does the 'next release of Windows Mobile' literally mean Windows Mobile 7? Maybe.
What about that Xbox Portable?
Back in July, Microsoft corporate vice president Shane Kim confirmed Redmond would be pursuing mobile gaming for the Xbox. At the time, Kim suggested that Microsoft didn't have a clear idea on whether it would develop a gaming-specific device or not. "So the question will be, how do we enter into that market," Kim said. "Do we do our own device, do we create our own phone...do we continue to go down the Windows Mobile path...". At the moment, it looks like Redmond is continuing down the Windows Mobile path, as Kim calls it, instead of developing an arcade system similar to Sony's PlayStation Portable.
So the question is will Xbox LIVE games be integrated into any Windows Mobile device, or has Microsoft got a new handset in mind that could compete directly with the iPod Touch and the iPhone. Also, if Windows Mobile becomes the Xbox LIVE portable platform, where does this leave the Zune HD in terms of gaming?
Microsoft may not have a mobile gaming platform, but it does allow Xbox LIVE users to access their LIVE account through mobile devices. Last month, the company released its own Xbox LIVE iPhone app that lets you manage your Gamertag, see who's online or not, check 'gamerscores,' biographical info, avatars, locations, and more.
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