Silverlight isn’t dead, it’s the heart of Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Xbox


Microsoft’s three screens and a cloud dream is finally coming true.
Like a fairy tale, Microsoft’s Metro and Silverlight story could result in a very happy ending for the company and its close partners. Microsoft’s tile based user interface will now feature on the company’s software that powers phones, PCs, tablets and TVs. Microsoft revealed its Windows 8 Start Screen user interface earlier this month. and less than a week later filled in the missing piece of the puzzle, Xbox. The unification of the Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Xbox user interface is an incredibly important one for Microsoft as a company and its strong user base. Microsoft is hoping its Metro magic will enchant users worldwide into sticking with Windows over Chrome OS/Android, OS X/ iOS and others. Backed with its strong SkyDrive and Windows Azure cloud offerings, Windows 8 and Windows Phone could please businesses and consumers alike.

Microsoft’s bold unification of user interfaces 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. Facing increased competition from Apple and Google, Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 in February, 2010, just weeks after Apple boss Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPad. Microsoft struggled to provide a decent answer to the iPad throughout 2010 but struck back earlier this month. Windows 8′s new Start Screen interface and integration will run across the desktop, laptops and tablets. Despite Microsoft’s struggles over the past few years, every cloud has a silver lining. Microsoft’s saviour will come in the unlikely form of Silverlight.

Silverlight is the application development platform for Windows Phone 7. Developers use it to access the hardware aspects of Windows Phone devices and native phone functionality. Silverlight can also use the XNA framework and access Xbox LIVE. Microsoft’s E3 announcements appeared lacking on the face of it, but lurking in the background the company just revealed a key element of its three screens strategy. The new Xbox dashboard uses Microsoft’s tile user interface and the company deliberately revealed a new “apps” section of Xbox LIVE. The apps section contains existing Xbox applications like Netflix, Facebook, Hulu and Zune but also hints at a future of new applications with a Marketplace mention. Microsoft has been working hard with content partners to ensure its new live TV service goes off with a bang when it launches later this year but it has also been secretly integrating Silverlight support into Xbox. Microsoft previously revealed in November that it was planning to bring Silverlight to the Xbox as part of the next wave. The company has been suspiciously quiet about its Silverlight Xbox plans ever since. WinRumors has spoken to several company insiders who have confirmed that Microsoft is forking code from the Windows Phone 7 Silverlight stack directly into the Xbox dashboard.

Silverlight apps for Xbox will likely be made available later this year alongside the new dashboard. The support would allow Windows Phone developers to port across their applications with little effort required. There’s even talk of Kinect support to allow Xbox and Windows Phone applications to be controlled in a similar way to a multitouch screen. Whatever Microsoft has planned, Silverlight is at the heart of the Xbox applications Marketplace. Windows 8 also follows a similar path. Microsoft threw its weight behind HTML5 in Windows 8 by revealing that its new Start Screen will be powered by HTML5 and JavaScript based web apps. Microsoft failed to mention Silverlight but this is an important part of the Windows 8 Start Screen. The software giant is readying a new application model codenamed “Jupiter” that will allow developers to create Silverlight based applications, deployed as AppX packages (.appx). The packages will be part of a new Windows application store, pre-installed with Windows 8. Windows Phone 7 applications will port across to AppX with little effort from developers. Microsoft’s BUILD conference in September will be the launch pad for Microsoft’s true three screens and a cloud strategy. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, previously described the next-generation Windows as risky. Next-generation Xbox and Windows Phone is equally risky, it’s lock users into apps across devices or lose out to competitive solutions from Apple and Google. Will Microsoft hit back against stiff competition or risk all for nothing? September will tell.


Microsoft reveals Xbox LIVE will be built into Windows 8


Microsoft has revealed that its Xbox LIVE service will be built into PCs in the future.

Mike Delman, Microsoft’s vice president of global marketing in the interactive entertainment business unit, revealed the company’s plans in an interview this week. Speaking to The Seattle Times, Delman confirmed that Windows 8 will include Xbox LIVE integration:

New Xbox LIVE UI and Bing demo


The Xbox dashboard will be upgraded in the fall to include a new live TV option, Bing search and a brand new user interface. The interface mirrors Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 UI and will include live tiles throughout. Perhaps the biggest improvement is the introduction of Kinect functionality across the dashboard. Kinect users can simply use their voice to search for things on their Xbox or in the cloud. “You say it, Xbox finds it” is the way Microsoft describes its Bing integration.

Craig Davison, Xbox LIVE Director of Marketing, demonstrated the functionality on Wednesday in a video posted to Microsoft’s YouTube channel. “We’re bringing in the intelligence of Bing into the search process” says Davison. The demo shows off Bing Search on Xbox and a peak at the new user interface for the Xbox. Bing on Xbox will initially be available in English in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. Microsoft says it’s committed to bringing voice search to as many languages as possible in the future.

Are Consoles Holding PC gaming back?

Patrick Batch the executive producer at EA’s DICE studio gave an interview to

when asked if consoles are holding PC gaming back, Bach replied “Yes, Absolutely”, and added “That’s the biggest problem we have today”. He went on, saying that most games are made for the lowest common denominator (i.e. consoles), and that console games are generally ported to the PC with some higher resolution textures.

Bach stressed that DICE is expand »doing the opposite with Battlefield 3, the PC version is the lead version and the console versions will be scaled down, as opposed to console version being scaled up to the PC.

Batch went to say that despite favouring the PC platform, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions will look just as good as anything on the console market today. Bach also commented on whether the Frostbite 2.0 engine will be licensed out to other developers, which he denied with a firm “NO”.

Call of Duty Black Ops on Xbox 360

I waited, it came….I ripped opened the rapping, all the time praying that this would take the bad taste left in my proverbial mouth after the shoddy single player mode in Medal of Honour. Hurriedly I put the CD in, and was gob awed by the opening graphics. About 6 hours into the game, and I am bored!!

Drat but I feel cheated again… thank goodness for read dead redemption :-).

So in short I will keep the cd about for the occasional multiplayer, but that’s it.

So I  score Call of Duty Black Ops on Xbox 360 an okish score of 60 out of 100.. its ok, but no earth shaker.