Posted 06/26/2013 at 9:37 AM
Posted 3 years ago
Keen mobile gamers were given some great news yesterday as Microsoft confirmed it would develop iOS and Android versions of its hugely popular Age of Empires game.
Currently only available on Xbox and PC, Age of Empires is the result of a new licensing agreement signed between Redmond and Japanese gaming firm Klab. Microsoft’s director of programming for the Xbox Live network, Larry Hyrb confirmed in a blog post that the classic historic strategy game would be initially developed in English for iOS and Android before being launched globally. Hyrb also added that there are “plans to release the game in other languages and on Windows Phone in the future.”
The news of the Age of Empires release follows a report earlier on Tuesday from influential Japanese news site The Nikkei that Microsoft will be bringing a host of PC and Xbox games to mobile platforms as part of the deal with Klab. However, both companies in the partnership have since said the agreement is only to develop Age of Empires, with no further titles to be announced.
This is not the first Microsoft game to be made available on rival hardware – both Wordament and Kinectimals are available on the iPhone – but making one of its most successful games available on iOS and Android before its own Windows Phone platform is an unusual move. The Xbox-maker has not clarified why Age of Empires will not be released on WP devices initially, although it’s thought that it could have something to do with extra time being needed to develop a Windows 8 app version of the game.
The fact that Microsoft has decided to develop games for other platforms is not surprising. The Xbox is the company’s biggest earner, but while there is still demand for consoles, more and more gamers are embracing the easily accessible and low-cost alternative of smartphone gaming, and there is a growing belief in the industry that mobile is becoming an increasing threat to consoles. It makes sense then to take the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach.
Reuters report that Age of Empires will be released before the end of March next year.