What’s new in the Games Hub for Mango

Continuing its ongoing look at major new Mango changes, the Windows Phone Blog today reveals some changes coming the Games hub:

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Games Hub in Mango is its new look: A cleaner and lighter design that emphasizes your game collection and Xbox LIVE info—the heart of the hub. Responding to your feedback, we also made tweaks to improve the overall performance and speed.


Here’s a rundown of the changes.

Improved Collection view

In Mango, games are neatly organized in the same familiar alphabetical list view as your apps—icon on the left, name on the right. Once you’ve amassed more than 20 games—something that can happen pretty quickly on this Xbox-friendly phone—finding titles you play frequently can become a chore, requiring multiple swipes. Our customer research and your feedback told us people want to quickly and easily get back to recently-played games.

To fix that, in Mango we’re introducing a new Recent category. When your collection exceeds 20 games, the last three titles you’ve played now appear right up top, so you can get to favorites faster.


New 3D avatars

In Mango, we’ve fully integrated 3D avatars into the Games Hub.


Better Xbox LIVE experience

Besides better avatars, all the features previously found in the Xbox LIVE Extras app are now built into the Games Hub. These include:

Improved Xbox LIVE messaging: Read and reply to Xbox LIVE messages sent from another Windows Phone, a PC, or an Xbox console.

Connect with Xbox LIVE friends: Find out if your Xbox LIVE friends are currently online through the friend status view. You can also search, browse, initiate, and respond to friend requests right from your Windows Phone 7.

Integrated achievements and new comparison views: See the recent games your friends have been playing, and compare gamerscores and achievements for all Xbox LIVE games played on the phone, console, or PC.

Edit your profile: Moved to a new city? Have a new motto in life? Now you can update your name, bio, motto, and location right from the phone.

Improved Spotlight content: We’ve improved the news and info delivered to you via Spotlight in the Games Hub. Your window to the Xbox LIVE community will now be complemented with rich and vibrant images!

Improved game request notifications: In Mango, you’ll receive notifications for multiplayer game or turn requests and can track them in the Requests section of the Games Hub.

There are many more shots, and more info, at the original post so be sure to check it out. From what I’ve seen, the new Games hub is more attractive, and looks more like the coming Xbox Dashboard update, which I like. It’s faster, better arranged, and doesn’t require the stupid Xbox LIVE Extras add-on app. All in all, a nice change.

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11 Responses to What’s new in the Games Hub for Mango

  1. banstyle says:

    I keep hearing that the Extras app will still be around, but what exactly will it do if it’s so unnecessary now? Anyone know what Extras will provide that the integrated Hub will not?

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      No idea. There’s a beta version up now, essentially just a lame accessories thing for your avatard.

  2. gpsarakis says:

    Paul, any info on real-time multiplayer games on the phone? I hope they’re not going to try and limit that sorta multiplayer to people who have Gold accounts only or something.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      No, but there’s never been any hint they’d do something like that. On the Phone, so far, Xbox LIVE is Xbox LIVE, with no differentiation between Gold and whatever Silver is called now.

    • banstyle says:

      Knowing Xbox I can almost guarantee they will do something like that. Why else have ‘Gold status’ all over the app like they do? It’s practically celebrated for no reason. Since we don’t know any games that take advantage of real-time multiplayer, it’s hard to say what will happen. They’d have to do some serious promoting first.

      Gold on Xbox has always been the gateway to multiplayer. It only makes sense they will take that structure to WP7 as well.

      • Paul Thurrott says:

        Well, WP is a new platform with zero market acceptance, so adding a Gold subscription requirement would be limiting. Gold makes sense on the Xbox since it’s hugely successful.

      • banstyle says:

        I know it doesn’t make sense but bottom line is always money to MS. Whatever generates cash in the face of global outrage. :) People moaned about Gold on Xbox Live but it was accepted in the end.

        Basically if MS really pushes what it can do with the phone in multiplayer space, does some truly innovative stuff, I think they will surely make us pay for it. But since ‘live multiplayer’ is always in the small print section of Mango upgrades, you are right that it’s unlikely to happen.

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