Xbox Companion is a forthcoming Windows Phone app that will allow you to turn your phone into a remote control for use with your Xbox 360.
Announced by Microsoft earlier this month, Xbox Companion is still in beta but will be heading to the Windows Marketplace soon. At Nokia World 2011, we were able to get a quick demo of the app in action on a Nokia Lumia 800.
We got to see Xbox Companion being used to pause and play movies bought and rented from Zune and Netflix using the phone. Using Bing Search on the Lumia 800 you can search cast lists, related and featured content, films and TV shows; shows in a similar genre or titles starring the same actors for example.
We got treated to a clip of Fast Five to demonstrate both the remote control functions and the search capability of Xbox Companion.
The app though is still in beta it’s pretty slick. We loved how the controls of the Xbox 360 gamepad were mapped to the Lumia 800’s touchscreen. Controlling the video and navigating the menus of the Xbox 360 was a piece of cake.
This is a pretty big boost to Windows Phone as a platform and will undoubtedly give hardcore 360 owners more of a reason to plump for a Lumia 800 or HTC Titan over, say, the iPhone 4S or a similarly-specced Android phone.
As well as being shown Xbox Companion, we got to have a quick go on the Kinect game Kinectimals, which allows you to sling cute little tiger cubs from your phone to a 360 by the way of QR codes.
After messing around with a black panther and putting a sparkly blue collar on it, we tapped the ‘Transfer to Xbox 360’ option, held the QR code up to the Kinect sensor and within seconds our little critter was gambolling around a virtual savannah with other impossibly cute, territorial predators.
Kinectimals is just the tip of the iceberg apparently; staffers at the Microsoft stand hinted at big things on the horizon, but wouldn’t divulge any further. The use of QR codes and the Kinect sensor suggests the direction that the Big M is headed though. We’re crossing our fingers for a Barcode Battler remake.
The Xbox 360’s controls mapped to the Nokia Lumia 800. This would obviously make using your Windows Phone as a controller for games nigh on impossible. We wonder how else Windows Phones could be integrated besides this and the QR code action of Kinectimals.
We love the ability to search for related films with Xbox Companion. You could have a six degrees of separation-style movie marathon with friends. From the Fast Five you could jump to Doom (via Dwayne Johnson) and from there to The Two Towers via Karl Urban and then X2 via Sir Ian McKellen.
We can’t tell if this is Vin Diesel or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. There’s definitely a raised eyebrow going on there…
This is a black panther cub from Kinectimals on a development version of the Nokia Lumia 710. Isn’t it cute? It’d look cuter on a bigger screen though…
Thankfully there’s an app for that. Tap ‘Transfer to Xbox 360’ on the settings menu to begin the QR-tastic transition.
You’ll need to first activate the scan stone from within the Kinectimals game on your 360 first. When that’s active, you can hold the QR code on your phone up to the Kinect sensor.
Behold; the power of a quick response code coupled with Kinect. Kinectimals for Windows Phone is due to arrive in the Marketplace next week. We’ve heard that it’s already available in the US, but we’ve not been able to access it here in the UK just yet.
As if by magic, our little black panther rematerialises on the big TV screen. Let’s just hope that the lion cubs don’t tear it to shreds (as they almost certainly would do in real life).
Great stuff from Microsoft; of course this fucntionality will be coming to all Windows Phones and not just Nokia ones. We’ll keep you posted on Xbox Companion, which is due for release by the end of the year.