Microsoft has launched its new Zune HD device, and with it plans for 3D games playable on the touch-screen portable media player, the most significant strides yet the company has made toward confronting Apple's dominance of the mobile apps market.
In addition to free Facebook and Twitter apps for Zune, Microsoft -- formerly quite secretive about game-related plans for the new Zune -- has revealed a number of downloadable digital games for the Zune HD.
Games like Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition, Vans Sk8: Pool Service and Audiosurf Tilt, a version of the IGF award-winner specific to Zune, are on the way exclusively for Zune HD.
Games can be downloaded either connected to the Zune PC marketplace or via wireless connection. The Zune PC software has itself been upgraded, including the ability for users to purchase or rent both standard and hi-definition films for the device, plus a streaming music subscription service.
Notably, the updates to Zune services include connectivity with Xbox Live's Zune video offering coming later this fall, allowing users to access their Zune music and videos either on their TV, PC or the device itself.
"The Zune business is growing into a comprehensive entertainment service that's no longer tied to any one screen or device," says Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of Microsoft's TV, video and music business. "Zune lets consumers connect to their music, TV shows and movie content and enjoy it on the three screens they use every day."