Microsoft has confirmed its plans to release downloadable apps and games for its new Zune HD device, but only a few titles have been announced, and they won’t be available until November.
The Zune HD went on sale in the US yesterday, alongside new Zune software. The relevant section of the press release runs thus:
"Later this year, Zune plans to release free applications such as Twitter for Zune and Facebook for Zune, in addition to fun 3-D games such as Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition, Vans Sk8: Pool Service and Audiosurf Tilt. Games can be added to Zune HD via Zune Marketplace over the Wi-Fi connection or when connected to the Zune PC software."
The announcement of Audiosurf is intriguing: the original PC game lets people play along with their own library of songs, so the Zune version will surely include a similar feature.
Microsoft’s push for Zune gaming is confirmed by news that it’s updating its XNA Game Studio 3.1 Platform to support the Zune HD, allowing independent developers to create games for the device that make use of its touchscreen and accelerometer.
However, it seems the company won’t be quite as open as Apple has been with its App Store. Zune marketing manager Brian Seitz has told the Seattle Times that Microsoft is working with games firms "on a case-by case basis. It’s not really come one, come all."
There’s even more info over on Mobile Entertainment.