Understanding the Windows Phone Games Hub

July 6, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Playing games on a mobile phone may not be for everybody, but for many gamers it is the next great frontier of video gaming, something that the games and mobile industries have picked up on. The result has been the development of mobile platforms such as iPhone into successful gaming platforms, something that Microsoft – itself no stranger to gaming thanks to Games for Windows and the Xbox console – was keen to exploit with Windows Phone 7.

The result of this was the Games Hub, a home for all sorts of games from free titles to premium games with integration with Xbox Live. This integration has proved to be one of the key aspects of the platform, proving a major draw for any gamers looking to keep their Gamerscore topped up during a train commute!

There is more to the Games Hub than Xbox Live titles, however.

understanding the Windows Phone Games Hub

Access the Windows Phone 7 Games Hub

When you first launch the Windows Phone 7 Games Hub, you will be provided with a list of games that are available to play. If you purchase any Xbox Live titles at any stage, these will be listed at the top, with other games listed below this.

Any number of games can be installed via the Marketplace, and rather than be added to the Apps list like most other apps, they will be listed in the Games Hub, which makes this a very important element of the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Launching games is a simple task of identifying the game that you’re looking for and tapping it; all games have different control methods, so don’t forget to check the instructions properly in the Windows Phone Marketplace before playing.

Keep Up-to-Date with Xbox Live

If you’re more interested in the Xbox Live side of things, meanwhile, you will probably be aware that the games cost a little bit more when this functionality is present. However, the big titles such as Assassin’s Creed and PES 2011 are available with this integration, which means that you can unlock achievements in the game and have your Xbox Live profile updated with the information and your Gamerscore improved.

To help manage this, an Xbox Live app is provided on Windows Phone 7 which allows you to manage your profile and keep track of your achievements to date. Thanks to this tool you can edit your Xbox Live avatar, check messages and if you have a Gold account you can also chat live with your contacts via instant messenger.

The main meat of this tool, however, is the Achievements list, which reveals an up-to-date summary of your progress across all games that you are playing, both on your phone and on your Xbox 360!

Mobile phone gaming certainly comes into a new dimension with Windows Phone 7, and with further integration between games and Xbox Live expected in future, this could prove to herald the next stage of the mobile gaming revolution!

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