Announced during the Gamescom conference this week, Microsoft previewed a series of new mobile games for the Windows phone platform as well as a series of updates for Xbox Live that are packaged in the next release of the operating system, Mango. Avatar Awardables are one of the upgrades to Xbox Live. Players will be able to earn wearable items for avatars and have a visual representation of bragging rights for tough achievements.
With the upcoming release of Splinter Cell: Conviction this fall, Microsoft is also adding parental controls to lock out access to content when a game is rated M for Mature. Other improvements include DLC content which can be purchased through the smartphone as well as turn-by-turn asynchronous functionality for games between two players. The ability to purchase add-on content is a helpful step for developers on the platform. Free-to-play games on the iOS platform are often lucrative for developers and publishers due to players spending large quantities of money to advance quickly in the game.
Microsoft claims that 70 percent of all Windows Phone 7 smartphone owners have downloaded at least one game over Xbox Live. The company announced 14 titles for this fall including a mobile version of Kinectimals and a puzzle game called Orbital that has some similarities to Geometry Wars. Also in the mix of new titles includes a couple simulation style games similar to Zynga’s FarmVille or Nintendo’s Animal Crossing. Bug Village is a game where the player tends to a colony of bugs and Farm Frenzy 2 puts the player in charge of a farm to grow crops, tend to the animals and create a profitable farm. Other games include Gravity Guy, Collapse!, Chickens Can’t Fly, Burn the Rope, Beards & Beaks: Cave Area, Fight Game Rivals, IonballEX, Mush, TextTwist 2 and Toy Soldiers Boot Camp.