Microsoft set to destroy Apple in every games market
Still with me? Basically: your desktop computer, console, phone and music player are all computers, but built and managed in very different ways. Interoperability between devices is usually via a communication standard such as USB, Firewire or Ethernet -- their operating systems are just too dissimilar to communicate in any other way. It would be like using a keyboard with your toaster. But Microsoft has just changed that; that's why the video you see in Jay's story is so damn impressive. It's the same game, the same code, compiled to run on three different Microsoft devices. It's integration or hardware feature creep -- GPS, a stopwatch, calculator and mobile phone -- but for software.
Apple, with its locked-down, isolated sandbox is in trouble. Do game developers have any reason to continue working on games for the iPhone or iPad now that Microsoft is offering so much more?
Not only is this a huge boon for developers -- all they have to do is write different code for the device's inputs -- it's also massive for gamers. You can be playing a platform game on your Xbox, save it, and continue playing on your mobile phone on the way to work. Now, given Microsoft's renewed focus on cloud computing, imagine saving your game to the cloud -- head over to your friend's house and continue playing on their Xbox. Or their PC, if they don't have an Xbox.
Can Apple really see themselves competing, with a minuscule desktop market share and 25% of the smartphone sector? Steve Jobs has announced Apple's intent to move into mobile gaming, but can you really see developers siding with the iPhone when Windows Phone 7 is just around the corner? The iPhone has an installed base of about 9 million users in the USA -- would you like to guess at the combined figures of Windows and Xbox?
Interoperability and cross-platform applications are really cool. You hear that, Apple? Whatever happened to the 'unified architecture' of the desktop Macs?
Finally, like the gouging rusty handle of a spoon that seals the deal, is the crusty monstrosity of Apple's iTunes App Store; dog-slow approvals and draconian rules on what constitutes acceptable content. Have you seen Xbox Live and its hippy easy-lovin' Marketplace? Can you begin to imagine the joy of buying a game there, and being able to play it on your PC, console and phone?
Microsoft has already broken the gaming ice, they're no longer the new guys of the gaming industry -- and boy did it cost them a lot with the loss-leading original Xbox -- and now with Windows Phone 7, I think the iPhone has just lost any chance of its continued existence as a gaming platform.