Crikey, that was fast. Microsoft, not usually a company to move quickly, has shown off its new cross-platform gaming tech, just a few weeks after getting us all excited about the idea at Mobile World Congress. The software behemoth is aiming to explode the mobile gaming market by introducing games that span Windows 7 Phones, the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 PCs.
Microsoft's senior vice president of technical strategy, Eric Rudder, demonstrated a working version of the technology at the company's Tech·Ed Middle East conference in Dubai, Trusted Reviews reports. Rudder presented a simple platforming game running on three Microsoft platforms -- a prototype Asus Windows Phone 7 Series mobile, an Xbox 360 and a Windows 7 PC. The game, developed on Microsoft's Visual Studio software, presented a virtually identical experience on each platform, adapting to the different control inputs.
The newly debuted technology takes advantage of Microsoft's cloud infrastructure to allow gamers to play from their last saved game on any of the three platforms. Tied together by your Xbox Live account, this allows you to begin playing your particular game of choice in front of your home TV on your Xbox 360, continue on your mobile phone on the way to work, and finish your level on your lunchbreak at your work PC.
The technology presents advantages for the development community too, since Rudder explained that the demonstrated game was developed in Visual Studio, where it shared 90 per cent of its code across the three platforms (the final 10 per cent comprises mostly of each format's unique control inputs). Although this means the games won't be your state-of-the-art desktop experiences, developers need only create one game to immediately have access to three potential markets.
What wasn't mentioned, however, is the more exciting possibility of complementary mobile games that can interact with certain elements of full Xbox or PC titles, such as the mooted World of Warcraft iPhone game.
Rudder expressed Microsoft's excitement for the technology: "I think that the work that we're doing and commonality of the platform across all of our offerings... is really going to create a new wave of applications unlike anything we've ever seen. We talk all the time in the tech industry that the best is yet to come, but I really think the best is yet to come."
Watch Rudder's presentation in this video: