In a bid to catch up with Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, Microsoft is seeking to spur development of video games for the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system.
The company says a dedicated group inside its Microsoft Game Studios will develop games for Windows phones, help external game publishers and scout out small, independent game-makers. Developers will be able to use the same tools to make a game for a Windows phone or for the Xbox 360 console, it claims.
Games expected to be available when the first Windows Phone 7 smartphones go on sale later this year include Xbox 360 console titles such as Halo Waypoint, Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst and Guitar Hero 5.
Microsoft is linking the Windows phone games hub to its Xbox Live service, used by about 25 million Xbox and PC gamers to check out new games, keep track of scores and send messages to fellow players.