Microsoft Opens iOS Window for Xbox Live Fans
Dec 9, 2011 5:00 AM PT
Xbox gamers can access their Xbox Live accounts from their iPhones and iPads now that Microsoft launched the My Xbox Live app for iOS.
Access to Xbox Live has been available on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform since it launched more than a year ago, but this is the first time Microsoft is offering the app on a competing system, although third-party apps have allowed at least partial capability before.
After downloading the free app, users can edit their 3D avatars, chat and send messages to other Live users, update and edit features such as the user profile or friends list, and receive videos, tips and news about Xbox games.
The app is formatted for both the iPhone and the iPad.
While the app doesn't offer all the access that a Windows phone does -- My Xbox Live is an app, whereas the Xbox hub on the Windows 7 is an integrated part of the phone -- it still shows Microsoft's willingness and desire to spread the product to as many venues as possible.
"Microsoft has always been about giving consumers choices. They didn't want to do what Apple did with their phone and say 'Here's your one phone and boom, you're done.' Here, they figured that gamers might use the Live feature on the phone and go home and want a bigger experience on a console or PC, and that's where Microsoft is going to try to play into as many points in the consumer experience, on different platforms," Robert Breza, analyst at RBC Capital Markets told MacNewsWorld.
For Microsoft to get into those different platforms, it requires collaborating with even the toughest of competitors.
"Obviously the iPad and iPhone platform is significantly larger than the Windows [Phone] platform, and this is really about going after the largest installed base to reach more users," Kevin Buttigieg, analyst at Collins Stewart, told MacNewsWorld.
Even if that large base isn't using the Windows 7 phone or a different Microsoft device to access those games, the company is still displaying some influence.
"Microsoft's long-term, clearly stated goal is to dominate every element of your life, from phone to TV to PC, and really make a seamless experience across those. From a gamer's experience, this creates a seamless experience since they're not always going to be sitting in front of a TV, so Microsoft is reaching for that seamlessness, even if it's on another system," said Breza.
Microsoft didn't respond to requests for more comments in time for publication.
Riding the Xbox Train
"Xbox Live has been a tremendous success for Microsoft, and it's been financially designed to expand across that installed base, both on their phone as well as a number of others of internally generated technologies. In the future, I'd expect those individual components to become more tightly integrated with one another rather than other platforms," said Buttigieg.
It may not be the direction Microsoft expected it would head when it launched Xbox in 2001, but it's become an important part of the company's financial success. When fiscal first quarter earnings were reported in October, the entertainment division had seen a 9 percent growth since the previous year and took in US$1.96 billion, mostly revenue from the Xbox 360.
"The market has evolved in ways they probably didn't anticipate at the time, but certainly Xbox has become a successful console and they're using it for a launching pad for additional services," said Buttigieg.