Is it time the Xbox brand went portable?

Why taking the lucrative step of opening up its suite of ready-made downloadable content for on-the-go gamers is a logical choice for Microsoft.


As I sat and played Fez, Polytron’s rather fantastic platformer as recently released on Xbox Live Arcade (review to follow shortly), from the comfort of my sofa, my thoughts turned – it being a Sunday – to work; more precisely to the tangled intersections of overland and underground rail travel that lay in wait for me.

Anyone to have played Fez for themselves might indeed have noticed the marked correlation between the interwoven connections of the game’s stages and the chaos of London’s infrastructure – lucky for Gomez, Fez’s unassuming hero, he doesn’t also have to deal with the chaos arising when overpopulation and a creaking public transport system collide.

But how much more bearable would Monday’s commute be if I could take Fez with me, to while away those delays at dreaded red signals and mitigate the unpredictable wait for connecting trains? ‘Not so’ says the man at Microsoft, presumably happy to let Apple, Android, Nintendo and Sony do battle for hearts and minds on the go – but wouldn’t Fez, and indeed the majority of XBLA releases, work perfectly on a handheld?

Take for example the unassuming size of your average XBLA release, with Xbox 360 hard drive space at a premium for most users Microsoft have been keen to keep the size of their machine’s download-only content on the small side, another convenience if and when it comes to porting that content to a handheld device.

Then there’s the bite-size nature of much of Arcade’s releases, a perfect fit for portable gamers who might not have time to make a distant save point before their final stop. The likes of Bastion, Shadow Complex, Joe Danger, Limbo, War of the Worlds, et al, all presenting forgiving modes of play with autosave points in abundance, and all without long, drawn-out plot expositions which so pad-out home console releases (we’re looking at you Metal Gear Solid).

With Sony’s PSP, and more recently PS Vita, Microsoft at least has a tester out there to see how such a device might work. Sony’s machines are at their cleverest when used in conjunction with PS3, with an increasing number of PSN titles including versions compatible with both home and portable consoles.

A similar system whereby XBLA games are compatible across devices – something akin to Blu-Ray discs shipping with a bundled DVD and digital copy of the same movie – which then synch your progress would not only give the user incentive to buy, but also ensure players find the time to actually get through to the end of their purchase.

What kind of shape might such a device take? Well, who knows what novelties the unofficially coined Xbox 720 might bring. While almost certain to contain some sort of integrated Kinect-type technology, there’s no saying the technology giant will stop there – and surely the lucrative step of opening up its suite of ready-made downloadable content for on-the-go gamers seems a logical choice.

Whether that’s through an extension of the domestic console itself (something along the lines of Wii U), or a separate (but compatible) portable console, or even a licensing agreement with a third party, is up for debate. Whatever the case, isn’t it about time that Xbox fans got their chance to play their favourites whenever, and wherever, they want?

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine