Windows 8 Marketplace - Inquiries and Hopes
Games and Apps
So we all know that with Windows 8, comes a unified Marketplace. Good or bad, I believe this brings a lot of potential to the gaming industry. If rumors are true, and future Windows Phones will be running Windows RT, then they will use the same Marketplace. That means every single device running Windows 8 or Windows RT will have the same Marketplace, if I'm not mistaken. Of course, this means that developers will have to distinguish between apps that will be formatted for small screens (phones) and large screens (slates, tablets, laptops, and desktops). Qualcomm is producing Quadcore S4 processors that are capable pushing Xbox 360 level graphics. This theoretically means that small screen devices running Windows RT will be capable of playing games tantamount to the 360 or PS Vita's graphics.
For the past few years, mobile marketplaces for slates and smartphones have only included lightweight games. I believe that it may have something to do with the way they are coded, the limitations of the hardware, the fragmentation, or the lack of audience that has access to that marketplace. With Windows 8, would it be possible to change that? Could we see the push of console and above level games on the Windows 8 marketplace? For example, could I theoretically buy the computer version of Fifa 2012 or Battlefield or Skyrim on the Windows 8 Marketplace? I am not a developer, and I have no idea if the codes allowed in Windows 8 are capable of producing such games.
If this is possible, I believe the best route would be to eliminate the Xbox 360 and future Xbox hardware. I believe Microsoft should remain a software vendor. The Xbox 360 is not similar to Windows and it hampers the ecosystem, in my opinion. I believe that the Windows 8 ecosystem has the potential to be unique. As it basically is a device agnostic OS, with little to differentiate Windows 8 devices except for the hardware itself. My point being, I think that Microsoft should try and create a Marketplace that blends the roles of Steam, Xbox, and mobile Marketplaces. Steam allows for very powerful games to be played on all sorts of devices. Xbox allows for a unified gaming experience. Mobile Marketplaces allow for a mobile gaming experience, and a wider variety of games.
However, the eliminating the Xbox brings up some beneficial points that it brings up. To begin, it makes sure that everyone has the same gaming experience. Everyone has the exact same hardware, meaning everyone has the same experience. A solution to that would be a well thought out graphical settings system. That would be Low, Medium, High, and Unrestricted. Low being for smartphones, and less powerful computers. Medium being for powerful Windows RT devices and your average laptop. High being for the powerful computer. Unrestricted being for the true gaming PC, and allows for the full PC gaming experience.
So let me give you an example. I buy Madden 2012 on my Windows Phone while I'm out and about and begin to play it. It is on Low settings. Over the cloud, the same game downloads on my other devices. I get to a friend’s house and start playing Madden with him between our laptops and Xbox Live. It is on Medium settings. Then, once I get home, I go on my desktop and continue to play Madden. It is on High settings.
We can see this happen with Windows Phone and Sonic, but it seems like an unpopular process for games that are ultimately different.
But this also brings up that patent the Microsoft was granted a few months ago. Who wants to play Battlefield on a purely touch screen device? It would be a poor experience. But who wants to carry around a device like the PS Vita that is outside the Windows ecosystem and is just something else to carry? I would prefer another solution. That solution is modular gaming accessories. Imagine the PS Vita and Nokia Lumia 900. Morph them together and you get a Nokia Lumia 900 with a detachable "gaming pad". It would have buttons similar to those on the Xbox controller, just with the portability of the Vita's, and the design of the Lumia 900's. Also, let the user's phone be the controller when playing games on other devices. So, for example, when playing a racing game on a large screen device, the user can tilt his or her phone to steer the car.
TL:DR – Create a single Marketplace allowing for games like Angry Birds to Battlefield for the entire Windows ecosystem (smartphone, slate, computer).
Music and Videos
What is happening to Zune and what will the Music and Video App look like in once Windows 8 is released? Will the subscription service just be rebranded, or will it be eliminated?
Personally, Zune Pass and Spotify are very similar. However, the design and integration of Zune is why I prefer Zune. If Zune is merely rebranded, Microsoft should go a step further by offering ringtones in the subscription. It would be great to find a great song, and set it as your ringtone with the press of a button.
Also, anyone remember the Zune Video Pass idea? This was great, as it would essentially be a premium Netflix-Hulu subscription. However, I heard Microsoft tried, and was turned off by the outrageous prices set by providers. My problem with Netflix and Hulu is they cannot replace satellite TV. Their libraries are lacking; they don’t have live news, sports, premium channels, or relatively good movies. My problem with satellite or cable TV is that you are limited to one or a few rooms, it is not mobile (or very poor at it), and missing an episode likely means you’ll have to buy it on iTunes. Microsoft should offer a service that competes with satellite and cable, even if it means offering the same price as them. Even if they have to work with Apple and Google to persuade Hollywood to lax their rules, offering a subscription based service that offers a complete catalog of shows and movies available anytime on any device, would be optimal.
TL:DR – What is going on with Zune, and what would you want to happen to it?