Plexipixel helps in redesign, launch of MSN Games Site
Notice anything new on MSN Games lately?
After almost a year of hard work and planning in coordination with the awesome folks over at Microsoft’s MSN Games team, we are very excited to announce the release of the all-new redesigned and social-focused, MSN Games Preview!
“We started working with MSN Games back in January of this year, concepting, sketching and designing -- so it’s incredibly exciting to see 11 months of hard work finally live to the world. It’s been a huge cross-team effort with most of our own Plexi team and Microsoft’s team,” says project manager Kristi Torgrimson.
What’s new about it? Other than a polished new look and feel, the new MSN Games Preview site really emphasizes the social aspect of casual gaming -- allowing users to extend their existing social graphs from both Windows Live and Facebook and personalize their gaming experience, in order to connect and challenge friends who are gamers, while keeping other social activity separate.
With the integration of the new Microsoft Game Hub from Bing, the site combines all of MSN’s casual game platforms into one location, which means that games on all three of Microsoft’s gaming sites - MSN Games, Bing Games and Windows Live Messenger – now appear the same way. Anyone using any of the services can play games on any platform.
The team at Plexipixel worked closely with Microsoft to concept, design and develop the front-end of the new site. The team at Microsoft was amazing to work with, and we were able to solve some tough challenges together with their gobs of expertise and openness.
We used Ajax to allow for the carousel navigation icons to rotate as pages load, as a cross platform/cross browser solution without plug-in requirements. We also designed the header sky scene to change colors throughout the day to match the user's time – from sunny days to starry nights. The design also allows for enhanced customization of the header and other components allowing the business team to brand the site for advertisers, which is all pulled from the cloud on Azure.
Above all, we wanted to make sure that the core audience of casual gamers were still able to quickly and easily access the games, especially those who just want to jump right in and play a quick round for a new high score!
From the MSN press release:
The new MSN Games lets players enjoy the best online games, challenge Facebook and Windows Live friends to beat their high scores, and keep track of their favorite celebrities— all in one place.
Featuring a carefully curated selection of the best online games, real-time entertainment news from MSN Entertainment and an innovative design that even changes throughout the day, the new MSN Games joins a revitalized Windows Live Messenger and Bing Games to make the best casual games more social, more personal and more fun.
The all-new MSN Games site, along with Windows Live Messenger and Bing Games, delivers a socially infused casual games experience that links to a player's Facebook and Windows Live networks and integrates across platforms, offering truly connected gameplay with status updates, game challenges, leaderboards and more. Blurring the traditional line between "casual" and "social" gameplay.
It’s already made an impression. According to this Wired Magazine article:
This might seem like a little tweak, but I think it’s something bigger. The sweet spot for high-volume gaming today is straightforward: keep it simple and make it social. It shows Microsoft’s big push for one identity and one social network, regardless of platform or device.
We’re super excited to finally see the new site polished up and live to the world; now all that’s left is to go play some games!