Windows Phone 7 is the closest you’ll get to a handheld from Microsoft, says the firm

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 11 January 2011 20:36 GMT

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Microsoft has no plans to release a handled gaming platform. It has said this so many times in the past, we’d spend an entire day adding links to the quotes.

However, if you really want a Microsoft game console to take with you on-the-go, consider the Windows Phone 7 as the closest thing you’ll get to it.

According to Kevin Unangst, who spoke with Kotaku during CES last week, MS’s senior global director of PC and mobile gaming called Windows Phone 7 the firm’s “mobile platform for games” and “the same people who make the Halo game, the same development folks, work on this”.

“This, is our mobile console,” he said.

What this means for the phone, and its owners, is more Xbox Live-enabled games, according to Unangst. This is thanks to the phone having a “number of different models made by a number of different companies”, unlike Apple’s iPhone.

While the phone has gained support from the likes of Electronic Arts and PopCap, big names like Activision and Epic are glaringly absent on the phone’s marketplace.

Epic’s Unreal Engine doesn’t run on the device as of yet, and Unangst said MS “continues to discuss the possibility of bringing the engine behind such titles as Infinity Blade to Windows Phone 7, but that nothing has been agreed upon yet”.

He said Epic would have to make an investment to bring it over, because in order for that to happen, it would have to work with Microsoft’s XNA tools.

Epic’s Mark Rein has said the phone currently “doesn’t support native-code games”, and until Microsoft rectifies the situation “gamers who want the best experiences in mobile gaming” should “stay away from their phones”.

Currently, all Apps created for the phone need to meet “baseline requirements”, and have a “physical camera button and certain internal specs” allowing games to “run at a consistent level”

Microsoft planes to continue evaluating these requirements over time.

The phone currently has 5,500 Apps available and more than 30 developers working on content for it, and since it launched back in November, it has moved over 1.5 million units.

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