Friday, March 18, 2011

XBOX Live on WP7

I have had a XBOX and an XBOX360 for the longest time.  While many of you might also have the XBOX360 and subscribes to XBOX Live, there are a few of you who has no idea what XBOX Live is except it's on your brand new WP7 phone.

In this article, I will attempt to explain to those of you who are confused about what XBOX Live is, what achievements are, what a gamertag is, when XBOX Live games are released and finally, the difference between games that a worth of a `XBOX Live` tag vs. games that do not. 

This article, however, will not recommend which XBOX Live game to buy or not buy, I am not reviewing all the titles and honestly, since everyone enjoys different types of games, having me reviewing games is pointless since ALL XBOX Live titles (on WP7 and on XBOX360) have trial mode and demo modes you can download and try out yourself.

What is XBOX Live?
XBOX Live has been around since the original black monster known as the XBOX.  It's a massive online multiplayer community that links XBOX gamers from all over the world.  XBOX Live gamers can access games, friends information directly from their XBOX360 Consoles,, and of course now on your WP7 handset.  Being also an owner of a PS3, the PSN experience is far far behind the capabilities of XBOX Live.

Anyone with an XBOX360 and WP7 can join the XBOX Live community.  There are however, 2 levels of membership.  Gold memberships are normally around $60 Cdn per year ($5 per month on avg) and normally I would wait for some promotion either on XBOX Live to subscribe or wait for some store (i.e. FutureShop or Bestbuy) to have some sort of a discount on the 12 month XBOX Live membership cards before renewing. 

What's so special about XBOX Live Gold in Canada?
Well, the biggest thing you get is the ability to play online with other players.  You might think why you have to actually pay to play online.  XBOX Live is done in a way where if you join a multiplayer game, your level of play is actually taken into account.  If you are a NOOB, you will be playing against other NOOBS which should make the online experience better because a lot of these online games are ranked.  The games a more balanced. 

Other things you will get is access to demos when they come out.  Silver or free membership will get access typically a week later.  You will also be able to access free additional games if you are a gold member.

What about XBOX Live on WP7?
The grand goal of XBOX Live on WP7 is you can play games against other players on XBOX consoles on your phone.  I believe the only game that currently does this just came out and it's called Full House Poker (opens zune desktop).  There are more games like this on the way.

You do not need XBOX Live Gold membership to try or buy games on your WP7 handset.  If you don't have a XBOX360 console and am wondering whether or not it's worth it to get XBOX Live Gold for your WP7 handset, I would advise against it.  Save your $ on gold membership as it's not worth it at this point in time.

What is a Gamertag?
Gamertag is your XBOX LIVE user name.  In order for you to get one, you will need a Windows Live email address.  Don't use your real name :P.  You can give this gamertag to your XBOX360 friend or your WP7 friend and you from your phone, your console, or, you can find out if they are online and you can join them for some online multiplayer game action.

Difference between Regular Games and XBOX LIVE Games on WP7
Some of you may be a little bit confused about how some games gain the XBOX LIVE title and some games don't.

To gain the XBOX LIVE title, Microsoft has to deem the game as "worthy" of the XBOX LIVE title.  1) It has to be a game that has good production value, 2) good quality game. 3) should not be ripping off some other game's ideas.  Besides these being the main difference, XBOX LIVE games also gets "Achievements" (I'll explain this later on...)

Non XBOX LIVE games typically gets released on the Marketplace whenever.  Monday to Friday nights, if there's a new game, it comes out.

WP7 XBOX LIVE titles however, like the XBOX360 counterparts, are released on Wednesday morning (For us in the West Coast, we normally see the new XBOX Live games release tuesday night).

What the heck are Achievements?
Achievements are like meta games within a game.  You must meet certain conditions in a game to unlock these.  It's something you can use to compare how you are doing in a game against your friends.  It's more for gloating purposes than anything.  A lot of gamers like to gain 100% achievements for a game.  WP7 XBOX LIVE games typically have 200 achievement points.  And lastly, you do not redeem the points for anything (at least not yet in Canada)

I bought the game on my WP7, do I have to repurchase the same game on XBOX360?
Unfortunately, the answer to this is YES.  Even if the title maybe the the same or "close to the same", you will have to repurchase the game on your XBOX360 console and vice versa.  The prices are different on your WP7 and on the XBOX360 console.

Can I use Microsoft Points to buy games or apps on WP7?
At this moment, no.  But I would imagine this is likely in the future..

Recently, some WP7 XBOX LIVE games have gone on sale... For more information on which game is on sale, the easiest place to do it from is your XBOX LIVE Hub on your WP7 phone.  Start the hub and swipe to the "spotlight" page and you should see it.

If you have questions about XBOX LIVE on WP7, feel free to drop a comment and I will do my best to try to answer it.  XBOX LIVE is far too big of a beast of explain it here but at least I hope I covered the important topics for you WP7 owners who don't actually own an XBOX


  1. Just thought I would post a quick question here as you seem to update your site quite a bit. I am also using a HTC Surround, and I am in the Toronto area. Are you having any issues with the marketplace? I can't download any new apps, or update any old apps, and I have tried on both the phone and PC. I have tried rebooting the handset, but still no luck. This has been going on all day.

  2. I have seen this starting last night. Updates don't work, new app installation doesn't work. After you tried to install a new app on your phone, you get the "Can't get this information at the moment..." error message.

    Anyone else seeing this problem?

    I search the web for a solution and there are some suggestion for a factory reset but I do advise against it. My phone is also having some troubles syncing to my hotmail account. I can only speculate that it might be a with Windows Live. Might just have to wait it out.

    I'll keep searching the support websites for a possible solution or cause of this. Stay tuned...