Microsoft job post hints at Xbox LIVE gaming for iOS, Android

A few weeks ago, Microsoft sprung a little surprise on us, when it launched its new My Xbox LIVE app for iOS devices, alongside the Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone. At the time, Windows Phone users consoled themselves with the knowledge that the iOS app was less comprehensively featured than the Mango version, and that the real meat of the Xbox experience – the games themselves – remained exclusive to the Windows Phone ecosystem.

However, a new job posting on the Microsoft Careers website, first spotted by LiveSide, appears to indicate that that might not be the case indefinitely. Calling for a developer to join the Xbox LIVE team, experience of iOS or Android development is cited as a bonus for candidates. While this in itself might simply point to development of the existing My Xbox LIVE app for those platforms, the rest of the job posting offers clues that there may be more to it than that.

The posting clearly identifies the goal of bringing “the latest and greatest gaming and entertainment experience to mobile platforms including Windows Phone, iOS and other mobile platforms”, adding that the successful applicant “will have the opportunity to define and design the experiences for the project… and will have the luxury to work with all sorts of mobile devices to create the official Xbox LIVE mobile experiences”.

On the face of it, this certainly implies that Microsoft has plans to make Xbox LIVE gaming available on mobile platforms beyond just Windows Phone. If true, this would clearly remove a unique selling point of the Windows Phone platform. But before we overreact, it’s important to look at this in a broader context.

Back in October, we reported that Sony has been in discussions with Android device manufacturers for PlayStation Suite certification, which would see PlayStation gaming become available on a much broader range of phones and tablets than just the handful of Sony devices currently certified. The prospect of PlayStation becoming the de facto brand for mobile gaming – with a potential user base of hundreds of millions of Android handsets – may well be too much of a threat for Microsoft to ignore.

Should Microsoft maintain Xbox LIVE gaming exclusivity for Windows Phone, allowing Sony to establish itself as the king of mobile gaming with PlayStation in the Android ecosystem? Or should Microsoft be pragmatic, recognising that PlayStation gaming will only make Android stronger than ever, and that it still has to fight for mobile gaming supremacy, as well as trying to build up Windows Phone?

It’s a tough call – have your say, and let us know what you think Microsoft should do in the comments below.

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23 Comments

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The xbox brand will become a staple cash cow for the company, maybe even replacing Windows one day.

If they don't make the brand as pervasive as possible, that will not happen.
I would like to see Zune break free from the clutches of the Microsoft ecosystem as well.

I am sure that, Microsoft will always make sure that those who use a product made my Microsoft will always have a better set of features. Look at Office for Mac vs Office for Windows. our version is way better. Even with MS finally adding Outlook for the Mac, PC's still have a better version.

Windows Phone can play pretty much the same games the Xbox itself can. Even though the iPhone is plenty poweerful to do the same, programming for iOS vs using the nature platform that game was made for, the WP versions will always be better.

They can only be similar. But MS will never let their products work better on other platforms than their own. Especially if you have to buy it. But even if its free. Unless another platform is willing to license certain features, then they won't be able to do certain things anyways.

TechieXP said,
But MS will never let their products work better on other platforms than their own. Especially if you have to buy it. But even if its free. Unless another platform is willing to license certain features, then they won't be able to do certain things anyways.

Excellent observation, I agree 100%.

I definitely see them continuing support for iOS, but I don't think they'd put anything on the cesspool that is Android. Besides, Google isn't helping Windows Phone very much at all either.

Enron said,
Besides, Google isn't helping Windows Phone very much at all either.

That's because it's not worth developing for. How many users are on Windows Phone? Now how many of those want Google products on their Windows Phone? Judging by THIS site, not many.

Kirkburn said,
What ridiculously one-sided arguments you two have.

Thank you for your non constructive argument. Care to throw your two cents in or are you just shooting your mouth off?

UndergroundWire said,

That's because it's not worth developing for. How many users are on Windows Phone? Now how many of those want Google products on their Windows Phone? Judging by THIS site, not many.

Back in Dec. 2011 in a Windows 8 Marketplace conference their own numbers have shown Windows has the numbers of users they want. Why they haven't ported Xbox Live to Windows?

Ricardo Dawkins said,

Back in Dec. 2011 in a Windows 8 Marketplace conference their own numbers have shown Windows has the numbers of users they want. Why they haven't ported Xbox Live to Windows?

Windows 8 will have Xbox Live built into it, they showed part of it off at BUILD, the core APIs that devs use to make their games Xbox Live compatible will be in Windows 8 so any PC version can access the service without the need of a middle-ware app sitting in the background etc.

Ricardo Dawkins said,
Back in Dec. 2011 in a Windows 8 Marketplace conference their own numbers have shown Windows has the numbers of users they want. Why they haven't ported Xbox Live to Windows?

They have already. It's called Games for Windows Live.

UndergroundWire said,

Thank you for your non constructive argument. Care to throw your two cents in or are you just shooting your mouth off?

Sure: Android isn't a cesspool. Decisions to code for Android aren't based on whether Google codes for WP7. WP7 is not a complete failure. WP7 users do use Google products.

Kirkburn said,

Sure: Android isn't a cesspool. Decisions to code for Android aren't based on whether Google codes for WP7. WP7 is not a complete failure. WP7 users do use Google products.

It definitely isn't a complete failure. It's only a complete failure if Microsoft bows out. I don't see Microsoft doing that since they are in the lineup to be #3 by default* since RIM keeps losing market share every quarter. There position in number 3 will still be a very distant number 3. They need to get some sort of foothold into the other mobile OS to get more awareness out there. Like I said before, I definitely applaud Microsoft for doing so.

*I don't see RIM actually failing as a company. Rather I foresee they will go with Android offering Blackberry Services by the end of this year. That would put the BB OS out from the market share and it will be a three way battle with Android (#1), iOS (#2) and WP (#3).

UndergroundWire said,

It definitely isn't a complete failure. It's only a complete failure if Microsoft bows out. I don't see Microsoft doing that since they are in the lineup to be #3 by default* since RIM keeps losing market share every quarter. There position in number 3 will still be a very distant number 3. They need to get some sort of foothold into the other mobile OS to get more awareness out there. Like I said before, I definitely applaud Microsoft for doing so.

*I don't see RIM actually failing as a company. Rather I foresee they will go with Android offering Blackberry Services by the end of this year. That would put the BB OS out from the market share and it will be a three way battle with Android (#1), iOS (#2) and WP (#3).

The same way all the Fandroids predicted Nokia would go with Android and were butthurt when they didn't!!!

I forsee RIM taking a good look at both Android AND Windows Phone and then making a decision, as a company, based on which is the better platform for them. Of course they might not do that at all, as reported on Neowin, they might license BlackBerry services to others instead.

neo158 said,

The same way all the Fandroids predicted Nokia would go with Android and were butthurt when they didn't!!!

I forsee RIM taking a good look at both Android AND Windows Phone and then making a decision, as a company, based on which is the better platform for them. Of course they might not do that at all, as reported on Neowin, they might license BlackBerry services to others instead.

I never once thought Nokia was going to Android. Nor did I ever see such an article stating so on ANY Android site. The only articles I read regarding Nokia and Android were the idiotic statements made by that pedophile looking CEO of Nokia.

And NO, Neowin did not report it. That was BGR.

It was inevitable to see Microsoft doing this. WP is not performing well in sales as to what Microsoft hoped it would. If they sit back and wait any further, Sony can become king of the Android platform in terms of gaming. It's not that hard to understand. I applaud Microsoft for finally breaking out of the exclusive mentality they had going on for Windows Phone.

I doubt WP's sales performance is what spurred this. Even if Steve B. said sales were lower than expected, he and Microsoft knew from the gate that this would be a multi-year battle. They've said time after time that they are in this for the long run, think Xbox.

Xbox Live expansion in inevitable and to think it would remain exclusively on Windows Phone forever is foolish. Microsoft is a platform company, they have their own but they support others as well.

wixostrix said,
I doubt WP's sales performance is what spurred this. Even if Steve B. said sales were lower than expected, he and Microsoft knew from the gate that this would be a multi-year battle. They've said time after time that they are in this for the long run, think Xbox.

Xbox Live expansion in inevitable and to think it would remain exclusively on Windows Phone forever is foolish. Microsoft is a platform company, they have their own but they STARTED TO support others as well.

Keep in mind other than Office for Mac, Microsoft really doesn't offer much of their big products on the Mac. They only put Office for Mac support to keep Apple alive so that Microsoft isn't a Monopoly. They never had Zune support for the Mac until Windows Phone came out, they never had Visual Studio or Front Page or any of their design programs on Mac. Only recently did they start developing for iOS and Android.

UndergroundWire said,
It was inevitable to see Microsoft doing this. WP is not performing well in sales as to what Microsoft hoped it would. If they sit back and wait any further, Sony can become king of the Android platform in terms of gaming. It's not that hard to understand. I applaud Microsoft for finally breaking out of the exclusive mentality they had going on for Windows Phone.

Sony became king in the home console market back in the early 2000s but don't look now because they are in 3rd place in console sales and below Xbox in attachment rates.

Microsoft is becoming desesperate and Ballmer is a joke if he is approving this strategic mistake.

why they don't try to move the Xbox live (at least XBL Arcade) to the PC where they rule and own absolute control of the experience?

UndergroundWire said,

Keep in mind other than Office for Mac, Microsoft really doesn't offer much of their big products on the Mac. They only put Office for Mac support to keep Apple alive so that Microsoft isn't a Monopoly. They never had Zune support for the Mac until Windows Phone came out, they never had Visual Studio or Front Page or any of their design programs on Mac. Only recently did they start developing for iOS and Android.

It sounds like you're just arguing for the sake of arguing.

Ricardo Dawkins said,

Sony became king in the home console market back in the early 2000s but don't look now because they are in 3rd place in console sales and below Xbox in attachment rates.

Microsoft is becoming desesperate and Ballmer is a joke if he is approving this strategic mistake.

why they don't try to move the Xbox live (at least XBL Arcade) to the PC where they rule and own absolute control of the experience?

Because Microsoft isn't Apple and they don't need absolute control over everything. How is expansion desperation? And while I too hope Ballmer steps down (or at least forced to) so we can see new blood heading the company. However, Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Office 2010/365, Kinect, and the new Xbox dash, too name a few, have all been introduced under his leadership, which are all raved about products. They've also been beating estimates and setting new profit records every quarter with no signs of slowing down. Remember all the **** that happened when Gates was in charge: anti-trust, IE6, Windows Vista, again, only to name a few.

Ricardo Dawkins said,

Sony became king in the home console market back in the early 2000s but don't look now because they are in 3rd place in console sales and below Xbox in attachment rates.

Microsoft is becoming desesperate and Ballmer is a joke if he is approving this strategic mistake.

why they don't try to move the Xbox live (at least XBL Arcade) to the PC where they rule and own absolute control of the experience?


They should bring it to the PC but since nobody is really moving in on that territory, they don't need to. You see Sony is moving in on Android right now. That is the main reason why Microsoft is looking into developing on these other platforms. really no surprise.

It could simply be that they're looking for mobile developers and as WP7 isn't exactly taking the world by storm, they're happy to take people with skillsets from other mobile platforms.

I mean, developing for mobile is a lot different than developing for PC or even consoles and in that area, WP7, Android and iOS all share some similarities.