Windows Phone Frustrations

With today’s announcement of Halo: Spartan Assault came many reactions from gamers and games press alike that that inspired me to illustrate my frustrations as a Windows Phone owner. I’ve adapted to the platform because of the superior mobile OS, the great game selection, and the ease of use. However, Microsoft’s decision to devote one of its most popular properties to its own hardware has sparked a lot of anger in the gaming community. My frustration comes not as a Windows Phone owner wholly, but as a Windows Phone owner as a gamer, who’s media ignores the platform completely.

Personally, I’ve owned an iPhone, Android phone, and most recently, a Windows Phone. I’m on my second Windows Phone, upgrading from a Windows Phone 7.5 HTC Titan to the Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia 920. Having experienced every popular phone OS on the market, I can say without a doubt that Windows Phone is the best there is. It is simple, clean, and efficient. It’s the fastest mobile OS I’ve used. Every feature about it I find more appealing than iOS and the iPhone. Everything you need is right on the main screen with the live tile functionality, and when it isn’t, it takes a second or less to find information that you need.

Since owning a Windows Phone I like to make fun on Apple’s popular slogan "There’s an app for that" by saying "With a Windows Phone, you don’t need an app for that." Facebook and Twitter are built into the OS. Do you use Shazam to find out song titles on your iPhone? A similar program is built into Windows Phone’s OS. How about Yelp to find nearby restaurants? A similar feature is built into Windows Phone. Translations, photo editing software, maps, barcode scanners, QR scanners, voice-to-text, web searches, media uploads; Everything you can think of is built in. People criticize Windows Phone for not having the apps that they want, but people don’t realize that they don’t have them, because they don’t need them.

It seems that everyone is always so quick to praise iOS and the software that comes out on Apple’s platform, while overlooking the great things that Windows Phone is doing. A review for Gravity Guy 2 on IGN states its platform as iOS, without even mentioning that it’s out on Windows Phone, even though it came out two months earlier on Windows Phone. Polygon’s own Mobile Watch List only featured the game once it had come out on iOS, and overlooked the game while it was still a Windows Phone exclusive. Titles like AlphaJax, Crimson Dragon: Side Story, Galactic Reign, Skulls of the Shogun, and Wordament, who were initially available as Windows Phone exclusives (or combined with a release on other Microsoft platforms) are basically ignored.

Today’s announcement of a Windows 8 exclusive Halo game (and yes, this includes Windows Phone 8) seemingly sparked outrage among the gaming community. Penny Arcade Report’s Ben Kuchera printed an article titled The next Halo game is coming to hardware you don’t have, and software you don’t want. In this article, Mr. Kuchera explains why it was a bad move for Microsoft to put out a key IP that it owns exclusively on its own platforms, while not putting it out on iOS and Android. This frustrates me. iOS has plenty of exclusives, and Android is so open that anyone can put anything on there. Windows Phone finally gets a promising exclusive title, and Ben Kuchera pans it simply for being an exclusive. He then goes on to state on Twitter that if Microsoft wanted him to buy Windows 8, they should have ported Halo 4 to it, stating that he doesn’t want Windows 8 at all, but Halo 4 would make him buy it. I honestly don’t understand this. So Mr. Kuchera hates that Microsoft is making the new Halo game exclusive, and he won’t use its platforms the play it, yet he would adapt the platform to play a year old game he’s already played on another exclusive platform?

Windows Phone is growing even faster that Android now, and its gaining an substantial foothold on the market. It still has some catching up to do, but it is the newest mobile OS on the market. However, as a gamer and Windows Phone user, the lack of coverage that the platform receives is excruciating. Microsoft constantly is doing great things with the platform, yet people don’t recognize this because it never gets any coverage. From Gravity Guy 2 not getting any attention until it’s ported to iOS, to outrage over Microsoft properties being exclusive to Microsoft hardware, the media won’t give the best mobile OS the attention it deserves. And I, as a gamer and Windows Phone owner, have become increasingly frustrated with this situation.

And as a final note, I would have posted this on the Windows Phone platform forum on Polygon’s forums, but there isn’t one. There is an iOS form, and an Android forum, but no Windows Phone forum. I feel this only helps to illustrate my point.
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