Microsoft demos future Windows Phone and Xbox integration

By Tom Warren, on 22nd Aug 11 6:52 pm with 29 Comments

Microsoft has revealed how companion devices will work with the Xbox 360.

The software giant is planning a new dashboard in the coming months that will enable a “discoverable” option for Xbox 360 consoles. The option will allow Xbox owners to allow companion devices like Windows Phones to discover the Xbox 360. References to the feature first leaked in a development build of the new Xbox dashboard last week. GeekWire has captured a Microsoft demo at the company’s GameFest conference in Seattle recently. The demo shows how Microsoft plans to bridge Windows Phone and Xbox 360 gaming using QR codes. The demo shows how the company’s upcoming Kinectimals for Windows Phone will work alongside the Xbox 360 equivalent.

Microsoft previously revealed, at Mobile World Congress 2011, that the company is planning a variety of ways for Windows Phone users to link up to Xbox 360 games. The software maker demonstrated its Kinect Adventures title alongside a Windows Phone 7 user controlling aspects of the game. David Treadwell, who introduced the video below, told attendees of the GameFest keynote in that this type of gaming is an example of the “connected companion experiences” that Microsoft is planning in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jimmycooper Jimmy Cooper

    Hmmm, odd that they aren’t using MS Tags instead of QR…

    • http://twitter.com/NorrathReaver Shane Nokes

      Total guess, but I’d say that’s because QR codes are entirely pattern based and monochromatic…as opposed to Tags which not only take into account the pattern but also the ‘brightness’ factor of the colors used to make up part of the code.

      It would imagine it would be harder to scan those in since every TV would have a different brightness setting or could have different color temperatures…although I could be off-base with that guess.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ParkerReno Parker Ciambrone

      Nope, MS Tags are designed to work on screens, too.  They also are available in monochrome, so it is strange they are using QR.

    • http://twitter.com/NorrathReaver Shane Nokes

      Are you confusing monochrome with greyscale, because Tags are both pattern & chroma-based, so having just black and white would not work for a proper Tag.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Jimmycooper Jimmy Cooper

      You can definitely make black and white Tags.

    • http://twitter.com/NorrathReaver Shane Nokes

      I just did some digging and you guys are right…I’d never seen the b/w ones before. It looks like they require 98 triangles to work as opposed to the 50 triangles on a standard pattern & chroma based tag.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ParkerReno Parker Ciambrone

      Nope, MS Tags are designed to work on screens, too.  They also are available in monochrome, so it is strange they are using QR.

  • Anonymous

    As cool as this is, I don’t understand why there is a need to transfer via a code.  Why not transfer via WiFi or th Internet?  This would be a perfect use for a cloud service.  No matter which device you are on (Xbox, Phone, or PC) you can login and get your panther.  Why the complication of taking a photo???

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611639321 Carlos Ribeiro Da Fonseca

      Well, I’m guessing here, but to allow you to transfer your animals to your friend’s Xbox? Using logins you can only tranfer to your Xbox…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611639321 Carlos Ribeiro Da Fonseca

      Well, I’m guessing here, but to allow you to transfer your animals to your friend’s Xbox? Using logins you can only tranfer to your Xbox…

  • Avatar Roku

    Why is any of this scanning even necessary? I can make changes to my Avatar on the phone and it shows up on the Xbox with no problem. Why don’t they just use the internet to sync changes?

    • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

      I’m thinking the same thing. When I heard of QR codes, I thought it was to have some augmented reality. so your “kinectimal” can show up on your table or something, not this. What happened to the cloud sync?

    • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

      I’m thinking the same thing. When I heard of QR codes, I thought it was to have some augmented reality. so your “kinectimal” can show up on your table or something, not this. What happened to the cloud sync?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001825207750 Jason Hughey

      The developer in the video states, “We wanted to use a simple metaphor, cause
      everyone knows how to take a photo. Even if you don’t know much about data
      transfer. Or you have never done something like this before, everyone knows how
      to take a photo so it should be really simple”…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ManGastaS Helio Gastao

    lame

  • Anonymous

    Probably has something to do around the fact that this requires absolutely no setup whereas to transfer via xbox sync you’d need to be on the same gamertag account on both devices, etc and for Wifi your xbox would need to be configured to link with the phone and security comes into play, etc.. that’s my guess at least, that they wanted to keep it all as simple as possible with no setup necessary

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001825207750 Jason Hughey

    The good thing about this is that Microsoft is leveraging their technology to expand the user experience across devices in a unique and innovative way.  The more developers see ideas like this, the more compelling applications they will be able to deliver in a unique way across multiple devices.  Regardless if you like Kinectimals or the way the intergration works, the technology is there and I am sure that better experiences will come out of this.  This is something that could really differentiate the Windows Phone brand from its competition. 

  • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

    Also, maybe you could take your device to someone’s house and want to
    show off your animal and its customizations?  That way with a QR code
    you just show the kinect and it imports it directly over.  I think as
    someone else said, it’s to keep it as simple as possible.  For younger
    kids, whom this targets, that’s a good idea.

  • Anonymous

    the cloud should handle syncing of game data like this… i feel like the windows phone team dreamed up this (more annoying) scenario simply because you “use” the phone in order to sync the content (and that somehow (to the windows phone team) translates to avg consumers literally seeing the value in the windows phones)

  • BucksterMcgee

    Interesting that they didn’t mention that the transfer can happen automatically (without QR codes) if you are using the same live id on both the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone, which they have explained in other posting is an option for this particualar game.

  • Morgan

    This is fun and cute and all but how about the ability to use your WP device as a remote control for media playback etc. That’s what I would like to see.

    • http://thommck.wordpress.com Thom McKiernan

      You can do that with windows home server or upload your videos to skydrive to stream back to your phone. Not great I know but it is possible

  • Mister Twister

    Hey! I was there this morning!

  • Anonymous

    If a child of 5 is going to do this, as he mentions, why not use the term “Grab from Xbox” or “Bring Cub With You” instead of ‘Transfer’. What’s with all that text? Is a 5 year old going to read all that? Did you read all that text?

    “To transfer your current cub from the Xbox 360 version of Kinectimals, first go to the scan stone on Lemurla. Assuming you have already have [sic] a cat selected, activate the corner selector.Press the button below when you are ready to take a photo of the image displayed on the TV.”

    That seems like an awful lot for a 5 year old to have to read in order to simply bring his/her cub along. Keep it simple! Even in demos.

    • Morgan

      Actually it is scary how quick kids learn this stuff. My 3 year old can navigate without issue on my WP7 device to get to and play games (even knows how to swipe my incoming texts out of the way), my laptop with touchpad and knows what button to click and double click, and Xbox360 to get to movies on netflix. Most impressive is that I only had to show him once or twice and he just picked it up from there. Since children are growing up with this tech, they seem to get it rather quickly and easily. I understand where you are going with this but I would argue using language like transfer teaches them for the future of computing. Young kids these days are picking up and understanding tech faster than you are giving them credit.

    • Anonymous

      You make a good point…

      I often find myself in discussions about how smart some kids are. My position is always that the kids aren’t really especially smart, but have been exposed to more than other kids have. Kids will take in as much info as you throw at them. Give them nothing and they learn nothing. Give them everything, and if they’re interested, they will suck it up. Parents need to stop denying their kids opportunities to learn.

      I remember when I was first introduced to computers in 6th grade, a group of us (5 or so) basically ignored our teacher, and were programming games, after a couple of weeks. I look back sometimes and think “WOW”, but really it’s just human nature. Because I was interested, I read a lot as a kid, and never fiction. Always encylopedias, atlases, and from 6th grade, every computer book I could get my hands on.

      If you go back to the 1800s (historical diaries), you’ll be amazed at the level of maturity and responsibility kids as young as 8 displayed. I see the same in kids as young as 6. What I don’t see in their cases though is parents refusing them the opportunity to learn.

    • Anonymous

      You make a good point…

      I often find myself in discussions about how smart some kids are. My position is always that the kids aren’t really especially smart, but have been exposed to more than other kids have. Kids will take in as much info as you throw at them. Give them nothing and they learn nothing. Give them everything, and if they’re interested, they will suck it up. Parents need to stop denying their kids opportunities to learn.

      I remember when I was first introduced to computers in 6th grade, a group of us (5 or so) basically ignored our teacher, and were programming games, after a couple of weeks. I look back sometimes and think “WOW”, but really it’s just human nature. Because I was interested, I read a lot as a kid, and never fiction. Always encylopedias, atlases, and from 6th grade, every computer book I could get my hands on.

      If you go back to the 1800s (historical diaries), you’ll be amazed at the level of maturity and responsibility kids as young as 8 displayed. I see the same in kids as young as 6. What I don’t see in their cases though is parents refusing them the opportunity to learn.

  • http://thommck.wordpress.com Thom McKiernan

    A few things annoyed me with this video
    1) The presenter didn’t use the new mulit-tasking switch to get back to the game when he accidentally hit the search button. He could have just pressed/held the back button! Doe sthis guy even use a WP7 phone normally?
    2) They didn’t use the more attractive Microsoft tags
    3) They made the user take a photo. Bing Vision let’s you just hold the phone up to the screen and it would pick up the tag. Even easier than taking a photo! Also, if the photo is blurry then the child has to re-take it. With Bing Vision it would work first time.

    One thing I did like were the gestures used to turn the cub around. I haven’t seen any apps use multi-touch gestures so far

  • http://thommck.wordpress.com Thom McKiernan

    A few things annoyed me with this video
    1) The presenter didn’t use the new mulit-tasking switch to get back to the game when he accidentally hit the search button. He could have just pressed/held the back button! Doe sthis guy even use a WP7 phone normally?
    2) They didn’t use the more attractive Microsoft tags
    3) They made the user take a photo. Bing Vision let’s you just hold the phone up to the screen and it would pick up the tag. Even easier than taking a photo! Also, if the photo is blurry then the child has to re-take it. With Bing Vision it would work first time.

    One thing I did like were the gestures used to turn the cub around. I haven’t seen any apps use multi-touch gestures so far