Zune games? You mean the Zune is a gaming platform too? You're kidding, right?
No! I'm serious!
Actually when you think about it, it's not surprising. The Zune is all about digital entertainment. And you can't complete the entertainment picture without games!
Zune games are written using the Microsoft XNA 3.0 technology. This gaming framework is the same one that is used to write games for the Xbox 360 and Windows PC.
Will Xbox 360 games run on the Zune? Probably not in the foreseeable future. While they might technically be able to run, the Zune hardware is puny compared to an Xbox 360 or a PC. It just does not have the resources for the super fancy graphics we get in a console game environment.
Still, there is a lot of potential for games on the Zune. Microsoft has released 5 games that are bundled with the latest firmware update. They are: Hexic, Space Battle, Texas Hold 'Em, Sudoku and Checkers.
Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of gaming on our beloved Zune.
- It's great to have games available to us on the Zune. It's just one more way to keep ourselves entertained on the go.
- Games are not regulated by Microsoft unlike another popular digital media player manufacturer (*cough* Apple). This allows for the development of a community around building games for the Zune. Sure enough, we are seeing tons of free games available for download on various Zune forums. Click here for a list of the top 5 most popular free Zune games available for download.
- The Microsoft XNA framework reduces the complexity of writing games. This opens to door to more programmers and ultimately will result in more games for the Zune.
- Also since Xbox 360 and PC games are written using the same XNA framework, it is possible to have the same games running on the Zune. More than likely it will be the other way around. You'll have games for the Zune that you can also play on the Xbox 360 or PC.
- Did I mention the games are free?
Unfortunately, some of the pros also result in the biggest cons.
- Games are free. This is because they are developed by game enthusiasts who write games in their spare time for fun. And it shows. Most of the games are buggy, unstable and not a lot of fun to play. It takes a lot of time and money to build professional quality games.
- Since community developed games are not officially supported on the Zune, they are not easy to install. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to install Zune games.
- Game playing keeps your LCD constantly powered. This really drains your battery fast. Which can be a real killer if you don't have easy access to re-charge your Zune.
Overall, I'm jazzed at the fact that games are available for the Zune. There is certainly a lot of potential for gaming on the Zune.
We need to start seeing some professionally quality games released, even if this means having to pay for them. And we need the Zune software to natively support installation of Zune games without making us jump through hoops.
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