Halo, Other Microsoft Games Will Make Apple Fight For Mobile Dominance

Last Updated Aug 19, 2010 6:00 PM EDT

Microsoft (MSFT) announced dozens of new games for its Windows Phone 7 mobile platform, including a spin-off of its mega-selling series, Halo Waypoint. Apple (APPL) should take notice, as Microsoft has the connections and the goods to make iPhone gaming dominance a thing of the past in short order.

The connections: Let's face it: Apple doesn't have the best relationship with its mobile app developers. The company has been saved by having an unmatched product. It's way too early to say if any Windows Phone 7 product will outshine the iPlatforms, but Microsoft definitely has a better relationship with developers.

Some of the biggest developers on the Windows Phone 7 game list, like Konami, have been working with Microsoft literally for decades through XBox, XBox 360 and Windows PC gaming. Apple, as well as Google (GOOG), is just starting to build a relationship with the heavy hitters. As my BNet colleague Erik Sherman notes, this could be the start of a Microsoft platform renaissance.

The goods: With Windows Phone 7, it's clear that Halo will not be visiting any other mobile platform in the foreseeable future. For Microsoft's mobile strategy, it is the equivalent of Nintendo (NTYDO) having Mario or Donkey Kong featured for a system launch. The smart part is that, unlike Nintendo, Microsoft is integrating its already-burgeoning XBox Live online home console community with the new mobile users, so crossover promotion, creation and communication is going to be available from the start.

Furthermore, as I discussed earlier this week in Gadget Watch, mobile is becoming a credible video game platform for major players like id Software's John Carmack -- perhaps even more credible than game consoles themselves. And Microsoft, unlike Apple or Google, can cull all of its latest hits from other platforms -- like Halo -- to encourage adoption.

Microsoft's real gain here will be based on how well things are executed when Windows Phone 7 launches this fall. As far as gaming content, however, it has its bases covered.

Photo courtesy of commoracy
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