NZ game industry: Microsoft pitches new Windows mobile store

'The most significant developer opportunity ever,' says Microsoft technology evangelist Nigel Parker

Microsoft is hoping that game developers will look to its Windows 8 as a platform upon which to launch new mobile games.

At the New Zealand Game Developers Association conference, Microsoft technology evangelist Nigel Parker held a session on the Windows 8. He says the launch of the new Windows game store is an opportunity for developers to premiere new games and “take the first mover advantage”.

Microsoft is inviting developers to submit applications, including games, from early June to ensure that a sizeable number of apps are available at the official launch of Windows 8 mobile in about five months. Parker is running a programme called App Excellence Labs in Auckland from May 28 to June 8, and is currently engaging with local developers to ensure their apps meet Microsoft’s standards.

He says if developers have already created a game using HTML 5 (what he calls “the new Flash”) or in languages such as C++, “getting it ready for Windows 8 is easy to do.” The mobile platform supports "touch" first, and "falls back to mouse and keyboard".

Parker told the session of around 100-people that the Windows 8 launch “is the most significant developer opportunity ever.”

He says the number of users for Windows worldwide is 500 million, compared to 234 million for Android and 112 million for iOS.

Parker says on the Windows 8 mobile platform developers will receive 70 percent of the revenue, and up to 80 percent if their app makes more than $25,000. He says Microsoft research shows that offering customers a free trial can boost downloads by 70 percent, and there is around a 10 percent conversion rate to paying customers.

Last year Microsoft NZ CEO Paul Muckleston told Computerworld that Microsoft will become one of three dominant mobile ecosystems. “If you look across projections of what Google, Microsoft and Apple will be shipping in terms of smart devices, PCs plus slabs, plus phones, plus whatever else comes out in the meantime with a new category, the analysts think around 1.3 billion sockets per year are going out there, so developers will be able to build applications for them.”

* This is the final article in a series Computerworld has run this week based on the Game Developers Conference in Auckland on May 19.

See also Insights from local studios, Indie game development is bad for your health, and Govt support for development increasing.

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