This morning six new games (well, five games and one app) were added to the Zune Marketplace for Zune HD owners:
• Audiosurf Tilt: Audiosurf creates a rollercoaster ride from any song. Choose any song from your music collection and watch Audiosurf turn it into a unique roller coaster track for you to ride. The song you choose determines the shape, the speed, and the mood of each track. Tilt your Zune like a steering wheel to collect colored blocks and avoid speedbumps. Unlock more than 30 designs, each with its own special theme and color palette.
• Checkers: Enjoy the classic game of Checkers in a beautiful outdoor park setting. Play against the computer or against a friend.
• Lucky Lanes Bowling: Bowl in different game modes: exhibition, blackjack, golf. Play in five different bowling alleys with unique themes, all with the swipe of a finger. Choose from twenty different bowlers and twenty two different ball styles. You can play against the computer or play with up to four friends.
• Piano: Play your own tune, or play along with your favorite music on this electronic piano.
• Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition: Tear through the streets of London, Tokyo, and New York in the Ferrari of your choice using multi touch controls and the built in accelerometer.
• Vans Sk8: Pool Service: From the Admiral to the old abandoned rec center pool, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan know a good bowl to skate. Hit the pools and put these Vans skaters to the test with all the tricks in their bag and achieve hero status once you unlock their pro model skateboards.
The games still have those silly ads in front of them - I can't imagine Microsoft is making any significant money off of the ads, so I have to wonder why they exist in the first place. The app story on the Zune HD isn't a good one, so every barrier Microsoft puts in front of Zune HD customers (or reviewers) makes a bad story worse. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see these apps released, but there's still no open marketplace for developers to sell and give away their creations. The Zune HD isn't going to take off as an app platform until that happens. Microsoft is planning to release a Facebook and Twitter application, so that will please some people, but until they really allow the Zune HD to blossom as an application platform, this luke-warm app experience isn't going to lure people away from the iPod Touch. And the whole "12 seconds to start the calculator" thing has got to get fixed as well - I don't want to show apps to anyone on my Zune HD because that's just embarrassing.