In a move that has surprised the technology world, Microsoft has announced that it is bringing its flagship online multimedia and gaming suite, Xbox Live to the users of iPhone and Android mobile devices. The official confirmation from Microsoft first reported by Forbes confirmed the rumors that have been circulating since Microsoft posted a job listing on its career portal for developers with experience in iOS (Apple’s OS for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) and Android software.
Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console is the largest selling gaming console in the world. The move was apparently intended to target the huge user base of iPhone and Android devices to expand the market share of Xbox Live substantially. It will allow Microsoft to gain a good market share in the fast growing market for mobile gaming which has been dominated by Apple till now. Some of the current programs available for iOS (Apple’s OS for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) allow users to play games of Xbox Live. Moreover, Microsoft released an Xbox Live app for iOS along with an Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone in December 2011.
The Xbox Live app allows gamers to IM with other gamers; tweak their avatar and call up a list of recent achievements. It also released its first game for iOS called Kinectimals in December 2011. But, they do not allow them to play games with people from across the world− a main feature of Xbox Live.
Apart from targeting the user base of iPhone and Android mobile phones, Microsoft is also looking to get the experience of Xbox Live into as many hands as possible and thereby promote its own Windows Phone OS. Integration with Xbox Live has been one of the major USPs of Microsoft’s Windows Phone till now. Users of its Windows Phone based mobile phones can now connect and play games with the extensive user base of iPhone and Android.
By expanding the reach of Xbox Live, it can give a good incentive for customers of other platforms to switch to its own Windows Phone. Windows Phone which had been struggling for some time back got a big boost after its adoption by Nokia for its high end smart phones in 2011. But some industry analysts opined that this latest move from Microsoft might act as a double edged sword to Microsoft. They said that making the Xbox Live available to other platforms like iOS and Android might take away the exclusivity enjoyed by its Windows Phone mobile devices.
The move by Microsoft is expected mainly to benefit the users of Android as the games available for it are of poorer quality than the ones available for its peers like iOS based devices. Whether Microsoft can improve its market share in the fast growing mobile gaming industry remains to be seen. But, Microsoft might end up sacrificing a big USP for its struggling Windows Phone at a time when it is putting some serious efforts to expand its market share and release its latest version, Windows 8.
About the author: Kelly is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on stolichnaya vodka attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on Dell Inspiron 15r i5.
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