With the latest Zune firmware update, a couple of games are now included on the Zune. Question: How many of you actually play these games? Personally, I’m a bit paranoid about pressing the hardware buttons on my Zune 80 so many times in succession for playing these games, for fear of breaking them. As it is now, both the back and play buttons are slightly depressed from the front surface of the outer case, so I certainly don’t want to have them permanently depressed even further. I tend to baby my Zune 80 so that it will last as long as possible, and pushing the buttons an excessive number of times may not be the best thing.
Living in the Seattle area, I know several companies that Microsoft contracts with to do fatigue testing on their hardware products (e.g., mice, keyboards, etc). Then have specialized machines that repeatedly press keys and buttons on their hardware devices and based on test results they can determine the “life” of the product. So, was the Zune tested in this fashion for pressing the buttons for gaming? Is the Zune tested with the same life-cycle requirements as the PSP or DS Nintendo gaming devices? If I had to guess, I would have to say not. Just something to think about…
It seems that once the game developer SDK was released for the Zune, lots and lots of people began creating unique applications for the Zune devices. Not only games, but other nice utilities (clocks, calendars, etc) are available. ZuneBoards has a list of games and applications available for download from this link. Definitely worth checking out.
The only bad thing, is that you must install Visual Studio Express (a Microsoft developer package) to install these applications on your Zune. Since I have other software development packages already installed on my desktop and laptop systems, I’m a bit reluctant to installing VS Express for fear of it conflicting with my other development environments. I guess some day I’ll be brave and bite the bullet and try installing a few Zune games and apps.
With the recent release of the XNA SDK for game development, a lot of resourceful people have already started creating applications (not games) for the Zune. This link on GotZune.com shows three such applications (e.g., clock, calculator, and calendar). With this capability, a developer could create whatever application they wanted so long as it stays within the boundaries of what is available for game programming. Wouldn’t it be cool to have your MS-Outlook calendar and contacts synced to your Zune? What about having the ability to use a WiFi connection at a local coffee shop to check emails, or web browse? Of course, this is assuming the XNA SDK would allow for such access to the device’s WiFi and other system functions. Also, you’re limited to what you can input using a touchpad control and a few buttons. I’m sure some clever and resourceful developers will come up with some interesting applications for the Zune!
Currently, the only major limitation is installing such applications on your Zune. So far as I can tell, you need to install the Visual Studio C# Express development software on your PC to make a connection to your Zune to upload the applications. This is still a bit too techie for most people, so I don’t think a lot of Zune owners will be installing applications. But then again, a clever developer could probably create an simple installer application to circumvent this issue.
So, stand back and wait for the flood of cool apps soon to be coming our way for the Zunes!
I think we all have heard that games will be coming for the Zune in the near future. A person at ZuneBoards describes how to install games on your Zune NOW. It’s a complicated procedure, but supposedly you can install a few games. Since I don’t play a lot of games (and don’t want to be a guinea pig) I probably won’t be trying this. But, if you’re adventurous and want to try out Zune games now here’s the link to the instructions.
Here’s also a link to the Zunescene.com site that shows a preview of games running on the Zune. And another on Gizmodo.com’s site.