New Microsoft Game Connects Facebook Users To Console Gamers

Toy Soldiers, a real-time 3D simulation game set in World War I, was released onto XBox Live today. What makes it special is that the game has a unique feature: players are able to run their campaigns on XBox with the help of players that play the Match Defense: Toy Soldiers game on Facebook. In a first for the connected game world, Microsoft Game Studios has created a game universe where Facebook players can play a Bejeweled-ish casual game to contribute statistics and points towards a given campaign, and this in effect helps out players who are playing the campaign on XBox Live.

The Match Defense Facebook game is a Bejeweled-derivative with a series of innovative features that set it apart. Gameplay consists of switching icons on the game board until they line up in threes, at which point they explode and begin laying down fire on your enemy. There are several enemies that approach your board in real-time, and to really excel you need to match appropriate icons to more quickly defeat the incoming enemies. The dynamic is new, and the graphics and sounds are compelling enough that you’ll find yourself really getting drawn into the action.

The really interesting element is that for each round you complete successfully, you assign points to your chosen side, either the Allies or the Central team, although it seems as if the game will be changing locations and campaigns as the game moves forward. When a player plays the full 3D game on XBox, they also pick a side and contribute points to that side. Each campaign lasts about a week, and it’s really exciting to see how your small game affects the overall battle between the two sides. The timer constantly counts down the time until the end of the campaign, so the game has that real-world time element that makes you want to squeeze in a few more games for your team.

The Facebook fan page has plenty of comments about each campaigns, talking about how big the margins of victory were, and talking about the upcoming campaigns. The fact that all campaigns are run in the real World War I locations brings that little bit more authenticity to the game: there’s a big difference between fighting for a fictional land versus working hard to save France! The sense of community in this game has great potential, as players work together to achieve week-long gaming goals.

In an interview with Kotaku, the producer of the game discusses that this is something Microsoft is looking to do more in the future, and that XBox Live will be added to the mix soon. When that happens, Facebook players will be able to sync their Facebook Accounts with their XBox Live account and increase their effectiveness from Facebook. This is also handy for Microsoft, in that they will now have link information about XBox Live players and Facebook players. Since the gamers will be signing up on Facebook to play the game, Microsoft will also have a bit of information about the players themselves, usable in future targeted advertisements.

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