| | 11-13-2013, 12:36 PM #1
This thread is about the #SaveXboxWP movement, how and why it got started, how it has evolved, and where it is now. Please read this original post below as well as the updates and, if you care about Xbox gaming on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT, please participate via
- Twitter: calling out to Microsoft executives via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so forth and telling them we want our Xbox games on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT. (You can click here to search directly for #SaveXboxWP tweets on Twitter);
- Uservoice: casting your votes for this suggestion on Uservoice, the official Microsoft community where Windows Phone users can offer suggestions for improving Windows Phone.
- If you're new to Xbox gaming and want to know what some of the features are that we're trying to save, read the post below, this one and this one.
#SaveXboxWP Movement's Goals:
To increase the development of more Xbox games on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT (hereafter, WP/W8) by
- encouraging Microsoft to revamp the counterproductive Xbox certification processes for WP/W8, so that it is easier for developers and publishers to develop, publish, and update Xbox games on WP/W8,
- including extending the ID@Xbox program, which enables indie developers to self-publish Xbox games on Xbox One, to WP/W8, so as to make it easier for them to make Xbox games,
- as well as encouraging third-party developers to support Xbox gaming on WP/W8 by releasing their games with Xbox integration.
Original Post (13 Nov 2013):
Like many of you, one of the coolest features that drew me to the Windows Phone and Surface realms was the ability to play Xbox-branded games on my phone and tablet. Microsoft had a slow start to the mobile market, meaning they've been trying to play catch-up to the more established app ecosystems of iOS and Android. We have fewer games, and the ones we do get come later. Sure, that wasn't ideal, but we had a trump card that made it all worth it: Xbox achievements. Whereas our naive friends on Android and iPhone were wasting their time playing boring, normal games, we were expanding our Gamerscore and enjoying the social aspects of Xbox Live gaming. It more than made up for the aforementioned deficiencies.
But, what launched with a lot of promise on Windows Phone 7 has slowly been dying in front of our eyes. Over the past year, we were initially confused by the slowdown in Xbox releases (Xbox games used to release weekly, but recently we're lucky to get one per month, and seemingly no more are coming), coupled with the abandonment of the platform by several publishers who made Xbox games for WP7: Sega, Namco Bandai, Konami, and Gamehouse. This slowdown in Xbox releases and abandonment by the aforementioned developers seemed counterintuitive, as we assumed that, with the steady growth of the platform we'd see a steady growth in our mobile Xbox libraries. That initial confusion was then replaced by concern as we saw Xbox titles getting delisted--some for good, some, like Doodle Jump and Chickens Can't Fly, being re-released without Xbox achievements. To throw salt in the wound Microsoft brought Xbox titles to iOS and Android, giving them Wordament, Kinectimals, and also announched Age of Empires (forthcoming) for their competitors' platforms. Microsoft is literally spending valuable time and resources to support other platforms rather than fix their own!
Back on Windows Phone, while losing Xbox titles from indie developers and other noteworthy publishers was disconcerting, we took solace in the fact that, at least we could count on the big publishers--like EA, Ubisoft, Miniclip, Rovio, and Gameloft--to continue pumping out high quality, big budget Xbox games on Windows Phone and Windows 8. Rumors in August suggested bigger studios were considering releasing future games without Xbox branding as well. Soon thereafter Rail Rush by Miniclip launched without Xbox branding, portending what occured today (13 November 2013): Gameloft launched Asphalt 8 on both Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT without Xbox achievements, confirming earlier rumors.
Is this the beginning of the end of Xbox games on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT? It could be. Or, we can mobilize and let our voices be heard. Microsoft won't change anything if they don't hear from their passionate customers that this is not okay with us. So, let them have it. Email them, Facebook them, and Tweet them your opinion. Here is a list of Twitter accounts to get your started. Be sure to include the #SaveXboxWP hashtag to keep track of each other's tweets and retweet them.
LIST OF TWITTER ACCOUNTS
Publishers Who Still Support Xbox Games on Windows Phone
Microsoft / Xbox / Windows Phone Employees
@satyanadella (Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation)
@XboxP3 (Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox)
@MrPhilHarrison (Phil Harrison, Corporate vice president of Microsoft)
@majornelson (Larry Hryb, Director of Programming for Xbox LIVE)
@joebelfiore (Joe Belfiore, Corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program Management)
@toddbrix (Todd Brix, General Manager of Windows Apps and Store Team)
@aarongreenberg (Microsoft Chief of Staff for Devices and Studios)
@yusuf_i_mehdi (Yusuf Mehdi, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer for Xbox/Microsoft)
@BenThePCGuy (Microsoft evangelist; star of several Microsoft commercials)
Corporate Microsoft Accounts
@ID_Xbox (Independent Developers Publishing Program for Xbox One) [you can also email them at ID@Xbox.com]
@iocat (Chris Charla, Directof of ID@Xbox at Microsoft)
@albertpenello (Albert Penello, Lead planner for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Kinect)
Electronic Arts Accounts
@popcap (subsidiary of EA, maker of Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, and Peggle)
@petermooreEA (Peter Moore, COO of EA Sports)
Square Enix Accounts
@SQUARE_ENIX_EU (Square Enix Europe)
Publishers Who Stopped Supporting Xbox Games on Windows Phone
@OofitsRyan (Community Manager for Gameloft)
Namco Bandai Accounts
@namcogames (Namco Bandai, US
@NamcoBandaiUK (Namco Bandai, UK)
@NamcoBandaiES (Namco Bandai, Spain)
@NamcoBandaiAUS (Namco Bandai, Australia)
@KonamiUK (Konami, UK)
@KonamiBRA (Konami, Brasil)
@SEGA_OFFICIAL (Sega, Japan)
@SEGA_Apps (Sega Mobile, Japan)
@GameHouse (Game House)
@DChocGames (Digital Chocolate)
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
[Favorable events are in green; unfavorable events are in red]
UPDATE 1: On 2 December 2013 Gameloft released Dungeon Hunter 4 on Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT without Xbox achievements. That's their second consecutive non-Xbox game. We need to mobilize to reverse the trend. Microsoft and Gameloft won't fix the problem if they don't here from us, so let's step up our Twitter campaign to #SaveXboxWP.
UPDATE 2: On 4 December 2013 Sam wrote an article about the ID@Xbox program which enables and encourages indie game developers to publish their games more easily on Xbox One. This is a great program and it absolutely needs to be extended to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8/RT. So, let's continue the #SaveXboxWP Twitter campaign by starting to ding the following relevant accounts (published above).
UPDATE 3: On 10 December 2013 Paul announced that, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, the third consecutive Gameloft game on Windows Phone without Xbox integration, just launched. The outlook looks bleak based on Paul's comments in another thread, but I for one am not going down without a fight. Help me let Microsoft executives on Twitter know that they royally screwed this one up by not supporting Xbox on WP.
UPDATE 4: On 11 December 2013 Rovio launched Angry Birds Go! without Xbox integration. It is their first non-Xbox game on WP. They've joined Gameloft in abandoning the platform. I've added the relevant Twitter accounts to the list above. Start Tweeting Rovio along with Microsoft and Gameloft in the #SaveXboxWP Twitter crusade. Our hopes now lie with EA, Ubisoft, and Microsoft Studios as the only major publishers left who have yet to officially abandon Xbox on WP.
UPDATE 5: On 13 December 2013, EA ostensibly stripped Tetris Blitz of Xbox branding with an update, removing the Xbox banner from the game art in the Windows Phone store. By 18 December 2013, the Xbox banner was back up and Xbox achievements are still (and always were) in the game. So, the good news is that there is no evidence that EA has joined the dark side and given up Xbox support on Windows Phone games. Nevertheless, I've added EA's Twitter accounts to the collection above. Tweet them and tell them we appreciate their support of Xbox gaming on Windows Phone and are awaiting new titles from them.
UPDATE 6: On 15 December 2013, we finally have some promising news! Today Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) replied to a #SaveXboxWP tweet made by our comrade @phstratton. Here is Phil's reply: "You'll see new WP releases from us this year. Feel great about lineup of phones and 1st party will support". This is huge news because it means that the #SaveXboxWP movement has been acknowledged by a major Microsoft executive. Our hard work is paying off. Keep it up, everyone!
UPDATE 7: On 21 December 2013, Imangi Studios releases Temple Run 2 with Xbox integration! This is the first Xbox game on WP in nearly six weeks and only the fourth one since August, so there is a lot of work still to be done my fellow #SaveXboxWP comrades. Take this as an opportunity to thank @imangi and @TempleRun for bringing us an Xbox game and tell @gameloft and @rovio to take note of the excitement surrounding TR2's release.
UPDATE 8: On 23 December 2013, Ubisoft unexpectedly releases an Xbox-enabled game: Rabbids: Bing Bang! This is good news since Ubisoft was arguably the next biggest publisher after EA remaining who had not yet given up on Xbox for WP (unlike Gameloft, Rovio, and MiniClip). However, don't get complacent: there are still many great mobile Ubisoft games made for iOS and Android that they haven't brought to Windows Phone yet. So let's thank @Ubisoft and @UbisoftMobile for their support and tell them to keep the Xbox games coming. You can also chide them for never providing free trials with their games.
Mini Update: Ubisoft mobile has replied favorably to several #SaveXboxWP tweets that asked them to continue bringing more Xbox games to WP. One such reply said: "Have Faith!". Seems like we can still count on Ubisoft to support Xbox gaming on WP. So, go ahead and buy Rayman, Babel Rising 3D, and Bing Bang and tweet them to let them know you did so because they had Xbox integration.
UPDATE 9: On 24 December 2013, Gameloft released their fourth consecutive non-Xbox game for Windows Phone: Total Conquest. Tweet them and tell them that we're disappointed with their continued lack of support for Xbox gaming on Windows Phone. Tweet Microsoft executives too: it's their job to court developers.
UPDATE 10: On 27 December 2013, a whopping four Xbox games on Windows Phone were released. First, out of nowhere we got Final Fantasy III by SquareEnix. This is big as it means another major developer is still on board. Feel free to tweet them thanks: @SquareEnix. Second, Third, and Fourth, Microsoft Studios released three Xbox ports from Windows 8: Microsoft Mahjong, Microsoft Minesweeper, and Microsoft Solitaire Collection. In total, that's six Xbox games on WP released in the past week! Things are suddenly looking up for the #SaveXboxWP movement!
UPDATE 11: On 8 January 2014, Paul reported that two older Xbox on Windows Phone games by the developer Digital Chocolate were delisted. Digital Chocolate (@DChocGames) stopped supporting Xbox on Windows Phone years ago, so this news has little impact on future games coming from them; the problem is the fact that Xbox games are being delisted. This is not a good precedent as it means that those who have purchased these games cannot re-download them later on (because they're not in the store). This is not acceptable and Microsoft needs to know it. I'll be tweeting them my mind about it.
UPDATE 12: On 27 January 2014, Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on Windows Phone without Xbox integration. This is a major blow to the struggling Xbox on WP platform, and Microsoft really dropped the ball by not ensuring that Rockstar released this game with Xbox achievements. Be sure to let Microsoft and Rockstar know it (@RockstarSupport @RockstarGames).
UPDATE 13: On 4 February 2014, MiniClip games released their second consecutive non-Xbox game on Windows Phone, Hot Rod Racers. It is not a good sign when a major developer who used to support Xbox gaming on Windows Phone no longer feels it's worthwhile to continue doing so. Tweet to Miniclip to tell them how important Xbox gaming on WP is to you, and also tweet to Microsoft to rebuke them for letting another developer slip away rather than revise the counterproductive Xbox certification process.
UPDATE 14: On 12 February 2014, Gameloft released their fifth consecutive non-Xbox game: World at Arms. Let's let both Microsoft and Gameloft know that this is a huge missed opportunity, and another slap in the face to Xbox gamers on Windows Phone.
UPDATE 15: On 28 February 2014, EA released Xbox-enabled FIFA 14! This is the sequel to FIFA 13 (also Xbox-enabled), and continues their uninterrupted support of Xbox gaming on Windows Phone. Be sure to head to Twitter and thank @EAMobile for their support. However, this is only their first Xbox game since Tetris Blitz launched in September 2013, and it's also the first Xbox game on Windows Phone in 2014 (as technically, Rayman Fiesta Run is still in soft launch), so let's continue to nag Microsoft about this problem too.
UPDATE 16: On 3 March 2014 Tom Warren of the Verge is reporting that Microsoft plans to make Xbox Live cross-platform, bringing games with Xbox Live features to enemy platforms (Android and iOS). If true, this means Xbox Live games will no longer be an exclusive feature of Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT. More on this as it develops.
UPDATE 17: On 6 March 2014 Microsoft studios ported over from Windows 8/RT the Xbox-enabled puzzle game, Throne Together! It's good to see that Microsoft Studios is continuing to bring Xbox games to both Windows Phone and Windows 8. However, this is only the second Xbox on WP game released in 2014 so far.
UPDATE 18: On 10 March 2014, Ubisoft--in line with the MiniUpdate above--has continued their support of Xbox gaming on Windows Phone, launching Rayman Fiesta Run with Xbox integration. While companies like Gameloft, Rovio, and Miniclip abandon Xbox gaming on Windows Phone, it's nice to have Ubisoft (along with EA, Microsoft Studios, and SquareEnix) continue to give us Xbox gamers some love. Be sure to tell @Ubisoft and @UbisoftMobile that you appreciate their support.
Mini Update: On 4 March 2014 Ubisoft Mobile favorited a #SaveXboxWP tweet asking them to "keep the Xbox games for Windows Phone coming", and another #SaveXboxWP tweet on 10 March 2014 saying a similar thing.
UPDATE 19: On 12 March 2014, Paul reported that Namco Bandai's Xbox-enabled WP game Galaga Legions DX has been delisted (meaning no one new can buy it and people that already have purchased it can't re-download it). This is the 4th Xbox game on WP to be delisted so far this year (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, Tower Bloxx New York, and 3D Brick Breaker Revolution were delisted in January). With only 3 Xbox games on WP released in 2014 so far, this is a net loss of -1 Xbox games on WP this year. That is not the way to grow a platform. Even more so, though, you should always have the ability to re-download games you already own. This is an absolutely unacceptable business practice.
UPDATE 20: On 28 March 2014, Microsoft Studios launched Xbox-enabled puzzle game Hexic on both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, with pause-and-play features across the two platforms. This is a follow-up to their other excellent puzzle game, Hexic Rush, also on Windows Phone. Be sure to thank Microsoft on Twitter, even though this is only the 4th Xbox game on WP released in 2014 so far.
UPDATE 21: On 14 April 2014, Previous supporter of Xbox gaming on WP Rovio released their second consecutive non-Xbox game on WP, Bad Piggies. Be sure to tell @Rovio and @AngryBirds "No Xbox, No Buy."