Xbox LIVE three screen gaming arriving with Fast Async service?

By Tom Warren, on 18th Aug 11 11:20 am with 8 Comments

Microsoft detailed a new service named “Fast Async” this week.

Fast Async will improve gameplay for multiplayer, turn-by-turn (asynchronous) Windows Phone games. The service will be implemented by Xbox LIVE game developers who typically create games that work turn-by-turn like Scrabble and Chess clones. The company held back a number of details on the service that will be made available with Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango”, GeekWire’s Todd Bishop managed to gain further details from the company on exactly how this will work:

How will Fast Async work and how does it compare to the current approach for turn-by-turn gaming in WP7? Similar to turn-by-turn async gaming, Fast Async, coming this fall with the Mango update will expand on this experience by enabling Xbox LIVE games to manage game data and sessions in a faster and more flexible way. It will also provide a way for games to find players across screens, without having to wait and watch the matching happen, and will prompt players with clear messaging, when it’s their turn to move.

Will Fast Async be implemented by default in all turn-by-turn games, via the OS, or will it only come in some turn-by-turn games, when developers implement it? Fast Async will only be included in Xbox LIVE titles if implemented by the game developer.

Microsoft also confirmed that the across screens reference will mean that the matchmaking service can be used from “any Xbox LIVE platform, not just Windows Phones.” Given the company’s previous confirmation that Xbox LIVE will feature in Windows 8, this could be the beginning of Microsoft’s three screens and a cloud gaming and multimedia strategy. Microsoft’s bold unification of user interfaces across Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox is just the start of a multi device convergence that the company has been touting for years. “Three screens and a cloud” was Ray Ozzie’s promise, Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect. Ozzie started to use the phrase in early 2009 but the company struggled over the course of 2009 and 2010 to make good of its promise.

Microsoft appears to be on the brink of bringing together this vision with ways to resume games across multiple Xbox LIVE enabled devices and create multiplayer gaming sessions from your PC that can be quickly resumed on-the-go from a Windows Phone. The developer story isn’t clear yet, but some type of Silverlight integration is likely. It’s a powerful feature if Microsoft can pull it off and one that is backed by over 50 million Xbox 360 consoles and 30 million Xbox LIVE members. Expect to hear more about exactly how Xbox LIVE will work in Windows 8 next month at BUILD.

Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" games hub

  • AndyOfEngland

    Hmm, neat!  Could this be the “Discoverable” setting in the 360?

  • Ef Jay

    Hope they dont wait for Windows 8 to really kick this off, plenty of opportunity now to integrate with the Xbox and add the desktop part later. Leverage the Halo Nation now!

    • Murani Lewis

      Mango should usher in the age of real time multiplayer gaming on the Windows Phone platform.  I do know they are working on a way to improve the experience by developing a way to locate the best bandwith automatically and partner each player up with other players that gives the best connection. 

      But that shouldn’t stop them from implementing multiplayer gaming right now.

  • Jasonhughey

    This is a great move for Microsoft which would place them a step or two ahead of iOS and Android (in gaming) if implemented properly. Microsoft has to be agressive to not just equal iOS and Android, but to surpass them (feature and technology-wise. The convergence of Microsoft’s technologies into a single ecosystem (not operating system) that can play and talk and swap information would be phenomenal and could really be a game changer. There are some glimpses nothing subtsantial.

    I subscribe to the Zune Pass and it is a phenomenal service. What if there were a way that I could set up a playlist and play songs on my 360, leave home, get in the car and continue playing the same playlist via WP7 and my bluetooth car stereo, arrive work, fire up Zune for Windows and continue with the playlist? The playlist could have been autimatically saved in the cloud and the data passed back and forth between devices. Imagine the same senario with gaming, Xbox 360 to WP7 to Windows 8, information for the same game, passed from device to device, saved in the cloud. Deeper Skydrive/Mesh integration could allow this with images, documents, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Grandpa doesn’t care.

  • Anonymous

    I thing gaming is vital if they want consumers to buy their phones. They need to get some exclusive mind blowing games for their phones. The exclusive games is what made the xbox the top console system. I think it can do the same thing for the phone. When people take about the number of apps, they are actually referring mostly to games. All the smart phones have email and ability to use social networking. People want good games. Microsoft needs to develop good games for consumer and security and phone management for businesses and they will be set. 

  • racingstripes

    Vision Racer for the win!

  • Anonymous

    Come M$ we need you to hurry up with this Mango devices. We need Nokia to drop like 5 devices in a month to combat the Android growth. Seriously, I don’t use your Windows PC product, but I love your mobile Windows Product and your Xbox. We need some serious hardware, otherwise Google’s Android is going the equivalent of Windows in the Mobile market.