The tiles on the Start screen of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series is one of those features that we just can’t get enough of. Aside from the fact that they’re interchangeable and customizable, you’ve also got the mix of live Hubs in there that just make them all the more interesting. In the case of the Game Hub, this live tile is always connected to your Xbox LIVE profile, which allows for your LIVE Avatar to pop his or her head up every once in awhile, just to let you know they’re stuck in there.
As Joe Belfiore elaborates, right from the start you’re shown pretty much everything you’d want to know about your LIVE profile at a glance: notifications, and what your Avatar looks like. These notifications come in real-time, and are in the fashion of a number at the upper-right corner. Once you touch the panel to access the gaming section within your Windows Phone 7 Series device, you are immediately transported to the details of your LIVE content. Right at the start, you’ve got the games that you’ve installed on the device, which you can launch (just like everything else) with a quick tap of your finger. Below those tiles, you’re offered a “Try for Free” tile, which is being marketed directly from the LIVE servers to you.
As you pan to the right in the panoramic view, you’ll reach the Spotlight feature within the Hub. In this area, Xbox LIVE is telling you what’s new and available. Whether that’s cheats, tricks, or what not for a particular game, or new games themselves, this is the area where you’ll find the latest run-down of what’s new for you to take in. As you continue to the right, you’ll find your actual Avatar standing there, waiting patiently for you. Right next to the digital representation of yourself, you’ll find your current gamerscore as well. These are all updated in real-time, so that when something changes (like your Achievements, from playing a game), this screen will update accordingly.
Moving to the right again, we come to the requests section. This is the area that reflects the notification number on the Hub upon your Start screen. In the case of the video, Belfiore has three requests to play games with people. While these may be requests to play games in general, or for friend requests and the like, what Belfiore is showing off in the demo is something we’d heard about before. The asynchronous turn-by-turn gaming, for such titles as Backgammon, where you can play a real game, with real players. Belfiore also mentioned that this gaming experience isn’t just meant for people with Windows Phone 7 devices, but also for those playing the game on the PC. And eventually, the console as well. As long as the title is written with XNA Game Studio 4.0, you’ll be able to play it with your friends. We love where multiplayer games are heading, so let’s start counting down the months, shall we?
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