Why Nokia's Microsoft deal is great news for mobile gaming

Xbox gains a Finnish champion

Why Nokia's Microsoft deal is great news for mobile gaming

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has been a critical success, but with only 2 million devices shipped it isn't yet a commercial success.

Meanwhile, Nokia sold 460 million phones in 2010, and has 31 per cent of the global smartphone market.

That's why Nokia saying it's using the Windows Phone operating system for its future smartphones is a big deal for both companies.

Come together

Big deal for them, but what about for mobile gamers and developers?

Well, the good news is that, thanks to Microsoft's gaming heritage and features such as integration with Xbox Live online services, Windows Phone is great for games and easy for game developers to use too.

In fact, from a pocket gaming point of view, especially for non-iPhone users, the link up between Nokia and Microsoft is the best thing that could have happened.

Microsoft provides great software while Nokia makes great handsets, ranging from high-end to the affordable, all of which will now gain access to Xbox Live, Xbox tie-in games, and joint marketing.

Throw in a combined app store - phones will have access to Microsoft's Marketplace and the Ovi Store - and operator billing, so the price of games is added to your phone bill, not your credit card, and there's massive potential.

A third force

But, perhaps, the most important factor in the whole deal is the sheer number of smartphones that will now be able to run Windows Phone games.

At present, it's very hard for developers to make money out of Windows Phone 7 because so few people own the phones. That's why iPhone remains the primary option, with some developers also releasing freemium and ad-supported games on Android.

Combining Nokia and Microsoft will see tens of millions of Windows Phones sold each year, making it a great place for developers to sell games.

Apple and Google finally have some serious competition.