With not posting for about a week last month, I’ve missed a posting about a couple of things. Interestingly, Microsoft had come up with something innovative for once, multi-platform gaming. I don’t know if it will ever catch on, but the idea looks promising.
The premise is that you will be able to play games seamlessly across your computer, mobile phone and Xbox; presumably through Xbox live. I can see the appeal, you could be playing the mobile version of the game on your commute home from work in the evening and then continue where you left off on your Xbox – Your current position and status would transfer as you picked the game up on the next platform.
The next question would be if this will ever actually catch on and if so, for what type of games. The current or even near-future generation mobile phones aren’t capable of full screen first person shooter games, so the games couldn’t be directly ported. The most obvious solution would be that the game mechanics were converted. For instance, a shooter on the Xbox could become a turn based shooter to cater for the lower hardware specification of phones. Unfortunately there would be no way to assure the ease of play would be the same across both platforms. If achievements were unlockable in the game, there would have to be separate ones for phone and Xbox.
This could also be a subtle way to reduce piracy, your game state would have to be sent through Xbox live, and if you haven’t bought the game, you’d be found and not allowed on the server.
My ideal vision of this would be that the games would be packaged as one game, that is to say if you buy the latest game, the phone, Xbox and PC versions would be sold together, not separately for £30 each. Because if they were, nobody would buy the Xbox and the PC versions, which would mean nobody would ever use the cross platform feature… making the whole thing pointless. If you could buy the latest game for 3 platforms for £50, then I would be very tempted, but at the moment, with that cost for one platform, I’d rather wait a few months and get it preowned.