In an attempt to win over some new customers from the iPhone faithful, Microsoft is launching an Xbox LIVE app for iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. Currently, Xbox LIVE support is an exclusive feature of Windows Phones, but these smartphones are not reaching the same level of market share as the iPhone.
Launched in 2010, Windows Phone 7 is struggling to get to the same levels as iOS and Android phones. While the Xbox enjoys a status as the world’s best loved games console, many Xbox owners already use an iPhone or Android device. Because of this, Microsoft has so far not managed to transfer the success of Xbox over to its Windows Phones.
The new My Xbox LIVE app does not offer the same functionality as Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone. Users cannot play games or interact with content stored on their Xbox, although they are able to edit their profile and friends list as well as compare achievements with other plays.
For iPhone owners who are also keen Xbox gamers this app could get them more interested in purchasing Windows Phones – particularly if their iPhone contract is nearing an end. Microsoft have even designed the app to look and feel like Windows Phone 7, subliminally making iPhone owners more familiar with an operating system that they may not have encountered before.
Recently, Microsoft launched an online simulation of Windows Phone for people to trial on their Android and iPhones. This allows people to play around with the interface and see how it works, and also gets them used to operating it on a touchscreen device.
Microsoft may have a lot of work to do. So far there are a limited number of Windows Phones on offer. While there are a great many avid Xbox gamers, the iPhone has developed somewhat of a reputation of its own as a handheld games machine. The iPhone 4S has a dual core GPU, offering an exceptional graphical experience compared to some other smartphones, and it also has its own Game Center that offers a similar sort of service to Xbox LIVE, allowing people to play multiplayer games and compete for rankings.
Nokia has just launched its first Windows Phone, the Lumia 800, which is the start of what will be a long partnership with Microsoft. With Nokia producing exclusively Windows Phones Microsoft should be able to counteract the limited number of devices that has so far been a big cause of its smaller market share. By released apps like My Xbox LIVE for the iPhone, it could be able to win over many traditional iPhone owners looking for a new phone.