Microsoft (s msft) is obviously positioning the upcoming Zune HD as a competitor to Apple’s (s aapl) market-dominating iPod touch media player. More evidence of that came out today, as Engadget reports that Redmond has revealed that it will support downloadable apps, including 3D games.
I’m curious about whether or not said games will play nice with their Xbox 360 counterparts, or whether gaming on the Zune HD will at all influence or be affected by the superb 360 gaming experience (minus the occasional RROD, of course). With enough interoperability between the two devices, I think Microsoft could really take some ground away from the iPod touch.
Price is another area where Microsoft could potentially cut into Apple’s business. According to Microsoft’s Zune marketing manager, speaking to the Seattle Times’ Brian Seitz, all games and apps available on the Zune HD will be free downloads. That’s because they’ll either be developed in-house or in tandem with third-party sources, so developers won’t be able to just pick up an SDK and create software for the platform, at least not yet.
Which brings us to the Zune HD’s major failing when compared to the iPod touch. A few select free games handpicked (or hand-coded) by the device’s parent company itself will definitely help the Zune avoid a lot of the chaff and terribly designed offerings available in Apple’s App Store, but it will also stifle the possibility of finding a Rolando, a Tap Tap Revenge, a Fieldrunners, or any of the unique, amazing offerings from smaller studios and developers that managed to do more with the platform than Apple probably envisioned on its own.
In addition to games, the Zune HD will also get Facebook and Twitter apps. Early game titles include Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition, Vans Sk8: Pool Service, and Audiosurf Tilt. Does this latest announcement have anyone feeling more inclined towards Microsoft’s upcoming multimedia device?