Officials from Gizmondo Europe have signed a contract with Microsoft Game Studios to bring many of the company’s titles to the Gizmondo handheld. The first three games to appear on the format will be Age of Empires
and the Rare-developed It’s Mr Pants
, with at least two more titles to come from the deal in the coming months.
The Gizmondo handheld console itself was launched in the UK last month, and is due for release in Europe and North America during 2005. No release date for the Microsoft titles have yet been announced.
The Gizmondo uses the Windows CE operating system, which could account for Microsoft’s interest in the handheld. However, some analysts had expected Microsoft to more heavily support the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and DS as a means to prevent Sony’s increased domination of the games market with the PlayStation Portable.
Thus far, this has not happened, with no DS titles yet announced and only It’s Mr Pants
and Banjo Pilot
pending on the Game Boy Advance – both of which were begun before UK developer Rare split from Nintendo. However, if Microsoft decides to put significant resources behind the Gizmondo then, the device’s future could be looking far more healthy than previously assumed, though it's also possible that a Microsoft had a healthy cash incentive to license the games to Gizmondo's burgeoning console.