Windows Phone Marketplace opens in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, and the Philippines

The Windows Phone Marketplace ongoing expansion has just hit a new milestone today with the service’s availability in five new countries: Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, and the Philippines. The Marketplace now reaches 41 countries worldwide and should hit 42 pretty soon once it opens in China (where dev can already submit their applications for certification). It should also be noted that application submitted to the Indonesia, Malaysia and China marketplace will be subject of additional requirements (censorship?) due to local laws, regulations, or norms.

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Kinectimals for Windows Phone 7 released

Kinectimals for Windows Phone 7 is finally out in the Marketplace and is this weeks Xbox Live enabled game for the platform. I’m going to shoot a video hands on which I’m going to embed below later today but there’s a few things I would like to point out before. The Adreno 200 GPU in the first generation Windows Phone 7 handsets is definitely showing its age here: the game’s framerate is really lower and choppier on the Samsung Omnia 7 compared to the HTC Titan (Adreno 205 GPU) which is perfectly smooth. The same thing is noticeable in last week’s Xbox Live game Orbital. The game is also note Mango “compatible”, this means that there”s no fast-application-switching, and no camera integration which means that there’s no augmented reality feature a previously thought (you can only take insert the animal in a previously taken picture or one shot by launching the camera a from within the game). Anyway the full game is $2.99 but you can already try the trial here.

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Burn The Rope Xbox Live Windows Phone game released

This weeks Xbox Live enabled game for Windows Phone 7 is Burn The Rope, a critically acclaimed mobile game already out on iOS. As the game title says the goal is to burn the rope and to do this you will have to use your device’s accelerometer because the flame only burns upwards. The game cost $2.99 but make sure to try out the trial beforehand just in case this isn’t your type of game. For my part I think that this is the kind of content that really suits mobile platforms so it’s highly recommend. Only downside s that this versions still isn’t Mango compatible so you won’t be able to fast-resume. Get it here.

No XNA support for Metro applications in Windows 8

Just a little heads up in case you are an XNA developer dreaming of developing multiplatform games for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and / or Xbox: XNA is not supported for developing Metro style applications in Windows 8. XNA applications will be treated as classic desktop applications in the new OS but XNA is still the recommend route for developing Xbox Live Arcade and Windows Phone games. Here are Microsoft’s recommendations for developing games targeting Windows 8′s Metro:

Graphics
DirectX gaming power underlies Windows 8, so you have several options when creating Metro style game
apps. You can write full-screen, chrome-free games with smooth, flicker-free action using HTML5, JavaScript,
and CSS3. Or, write impressive 2D and lightweight 3D games using XAML with managed C# or Visual Basic.
You can also use the full processing abilities of modern graphics hardware using native C++ and HLSL
with DirectX 11.1.

Create immersive games using the power of DirectX
The new Windows 8 graphics stack is better integrated, making Direct2D, Direct3D, and DirectCompute
components easier to use together and requiring fewer duplicated resources than before. Capabilities
previously available only in XNA, such as DirectXMath, XAudio2, and XInput, are now available. For the
ultimate experience in gaming and video, use DirectX 11.1 to bring stereoscopic 3D to your apps.

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The Marketplace has less unique applications than you thought

courtesy of J.Angel

Still wondering why I don’t bother posting about the total number of applications every time the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace reaches a certain milestone ? Well here’s a fairly good reason. Justin Angel actually took the time to download every application currently published on the Windows Phone Marketplace and came up with some really interesting statistics numbers. The best one is the following: 18 549. That’s the number of unique applications currently available for purchase/download (at the time he did his research) . This essentially means that out of 24 505 apps he downloaded, 6881 apps were clones.

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Tentacles for Windows Phone 7 Interview: in-depth look at how the game was created

A little bit less than a month ago one of the best overall mobile game hit the Windows Phone 7 platform and when such a thing happens it’s always inserting to get some insight on how the whole project came to fruition. I fired off several question to Press Play studios, developers of Tentacles and previously Max & the Magic Marker to learn a bit more about their development process and pipeline which consists of creating the game in the Unity 3D engine then converting/porting it to XNA. Check out the whole interview after the break:

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How to create P2P multiplayer games in Windows Phone 7 Mango

The inclusion of TCP and UDP sockets support in Mango finally allows developers to create real-time multipplayer games for Windows Phone 7. The whole process may sound a bit tricky for many but thankfully Microsoft just posted a straightforward tutorial to help you implement this feature in an XNA application:

One of the new features for the app platform in Windows Phone Mango is TCP and UDP Sockets. In this blog post, I’ll talk about using this to augment an existing game to add peer-to-peer multiplayer over WiFi using UdpAnySourceMulticastClient. Phones running the game on the same WiFi network automatically discover one another and the players just appear on the screen.

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XNA games no longer limited to 30fps in Windows Phone Mango

Don’t know how I missed that but Windows Phone 7 games developed using XNA will no longer be limited to 30fps in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. 30hz will still be the default when starting a new project but the developer will have the option to change this and let the game sync with the devices display refresh rate which is usually  58/60hz on the current handsets:

The XNA Framework on Windows Phone OS 7.1 supports the native device refresh rate, up to 60 Hz. If you set the PresentationParameters.PresentationInterval property to PresentInterval.One, then the PresentInterval.One value is used, targeting the native device refresh rate.

Hopefully games which are already on the Marketplace like Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds will be updated this fall to reflect this change.

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Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 vs Android version video comparison

I’ve just shot a short video comparing the just released Windows Phone 7 version of Angry Birds running on the Samsung Omnia 7 versus the Android version running on the HTC Sensation. As you will (or may not because the video is shot at 25fps..) the WP7 version is not as smooth as the Android version. There are several things to remember though: XNA games are limited to 30fps while Android games are usually only limited by the device’s screen VSync, physics calculation on WP7 still doesn’t use the SIMD/NEON FP units of the Snapdragon CPU (this will be available in Mango). Then again, the WP7 versions isn’t slow either so this shouldn’t bother you if you plan to purchase the game. Video after the break:

UPDATE: There’s no more 30FPS limitation in XNA apps in Mango.

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Microsoft Gamefest Windows Phone 7 Mango sessions detailed

Microsoft has provided detailed description of the Windows Phone 7 Mango related sessions which will take place at the upcoming Gamefest developer events in London, Seattle and Tokyo. Talks will be principally centered around Windows Phone game development topics like the new Snapdragon NEON /SIMD support in XNA, in-game purchase API, performance optimizations, the new Generational GC and a couple more topics. Hit the break for the full list and descriptions:

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ORB for Windows Phone 7 available for free today

An extremely nice looking and addictive Windows Phone 7 game named ORB is available for free exclusively today. The game is frankly one of the best looking one in its genre and really performs like a charm on any Windows Phone 7 device. It’s looks remarkable good on a Super AMOLED display if you have a Samsung Focus or Omnia 7. here’s the game’s description:

ORB is a fast-paced 2D action game requiring skill to keep your rolling ball on solid tiles and to not fall down. Use fans to jump across large gaps and boost fields to get the full thrill. But take care to not run into dangerous mines or getting pushed into a hole by a slider. Compete against the world in our global Highscore Rankings!

Video after the break:

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Microsoft hopes to grow Xbox Live with Windows 8 integration and Windows Phone

The consolidation of Microsoft’s online assets and services is continuing its slow march with the upcoming integration of Xbox Live into Windows 8. Seeing Microsoft’s online gaming hub on all of the company’s platform is definitely natural but people should expect much out of this especially in terms of cross-platform multi-player scenarios or even cross-platform game development.

A: Live has been successful on the Windows Phone. Live will be built into the PC. It will be the service where you get your entertainment. We were talking about it — you will not just see consoles and handhelds at this show next year, this show’s going to morph into other devices.

A: We think there’s a lot of potential on the Windows phones. With the Nokia relationship, we’re going to have a lot more distribution of phones and Live will be the primary entertainment service. I think that’s going to be a good play for us.

If we have that and the PCs to leverage, that will be a big Live base. It’s our job to make “buy a movie in one place and play it everywhere, buy a game in one place and play it everywhere.” Making things portable will be a big focus of ours.

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Square Off for Windows Phone 7 hands on review

I’ve just shot a video of the recently released Square Off shooter game developed by Gnomic Studio for Windows Phone 7. If you have already played Rocket Riot then this will feel really familiar to you. The game mechanics and controls are essentially the same here but the whole game feels quite a bit different thanks to the graphics’ style. Just like Rocket Riot this is a port of an original Xbox Live Arcade game. This is a highly recommended game! There are no performance issues at all, everything’s super smooth and the whole package is just top notch. Video after the break:

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Enigmo for Windows Phone 7 hands on review

Today’s Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7 is nice little physics based puzzle game called Enigmo. The player’s mission is to control the different types of flowing liquids with the use of several items like slides, bumpers etc.. The faster you resolve the puzzle the more points you will win. The game is entirely rendered in 3D and is extremely smooth and snappy as you can see in the video after the break. If you like puzzle games then this one’s for you and thankfully it’s priced right at $2.99. Check it out below:

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Square Off for Windows Phone 7 released

The pretty nice looking Xbox 360 indie game ported to Windows Phone 7 named Square Off (announced back in March) is now available in the Marketplace for $2.99. The game is simply one of the best looking shooter on the platform right. The gameplay mechanism are identical to Rocket Riot: use your left thumb to control your characters movement and your right thumb to aim and shoot. Also note that the game is not Xbox Live enabled. You can try the trial version right now and I will also update this post later today with a hands-on video of the game. In the men time check out the launch video after the break:

Update: Check out my Hands on video here.

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WP BENCH Windows Phone7 benchmark released: hands on video

The WP BENCH Windows phone 7 benchmark application that was unveiled on YouTube more than a month ago is now finally available on the Marketplace. The application runs will let you test the following functionalities of your device:

- CPU Single-threaded and Multi-threaded performance
- Memory read/write speed
- Storage read/write speed
- GPU Performance
- Display color reproduction
- Battery Life

Check out the video of the app in action on the Samsung Omnia 7:

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Pinball League for Windows Phone 7: Hands on Preview

Here’s an early preview/review of a yet-to-be release Windows Phone 7 game called Pinball League and developed by two developers in Greece:  Nikos Kastellanos and Tasos Rizopoulos who formed Tainicom. They are same guys who developed the funky Augmented Reality Accelerometer Dev Kit back when devices weren’t available. Anyway, Pinball League is actually their first Windows Phone 7 game and frankly it’s a pretty good start. The game renders everything in real-time 3D and is obviously developed in XNA . Everything runs relatively smoothly with only some occasional framerate hiccups when many sound files have to be loaded at the same time. I noticed that this was an issue with many WP7 games (Fruit Ninja for example suffers from the same thing when you do combos) so I don’t know if this is mainly an OS issue or not (the devs are working on finding a way to fix it though). Check out my the game in action after the break:

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MIX11 Windows Phone 7 Sessions announced

Some of the MIX11 Windows Phone 7 sessions have just been announced a few minutes ago. Keep in mind that this isn’t the full list yet and more are going to be announced shortly. Most of them are going to be about building good performant applications for the platform which is something that every developer should keep in mind. Performance is probably what lacks in most of the apps currently available and only a handful managed to overcome this issue so far. Hit the break to check out the current WP7 sessions description and don’t forget to check my 50+ must Windows Phone 7 application list here:

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Square Off Xbox Live Arcade game coming soon to Windows Phone 7

Here’s a pretty nice looking Xbox Live Arcade indie game which is currently being ported to Windows Phone 7and should be available soon in the Marketplace. It’s called Square Off (buy Gnomic Studios in Australia) and was released last year on the Xbox 360. The Windows Phone 7 version will include a seven level singleplayer campaign pus a survival mode. As you can see in the screenshot above and video below, it’s a nice mix of 3D (background) and 2D (characters) graphics:

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