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Microsoft paying iPhone devs to make Windows Phone 7 games

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
As it prepares to relaunch Windows Mobile 6.x as the new Windows Phone 7 platform later this winter, Microsoft hopes to woo Apple's iOS developers into porting their games to its new phones, and is backing up its hopes with cash incentives.

A report by PocketGamer said that an iOS developer informed the site that Microsoft was offering upfront cash to developers of successful iOS apps if they would translate their games to the new Windows Phone 7 platform.

The site says the costs of reworking games "remains too high," as it involves moving native iOS apps from C/C++/Objective-C code to the Mobile Silverlight/XNA development frameworks that Windows Phone 7 uses.

iOS app portability

Many iOS games make use of game engines such as Unity3D, which could facilitate porting them to other platforms. Apple created an exception for such titles in its revised SDK section 3.3.2 rules designed to outlaw app development using middleware meta-platforms such as Flash and Silverlight.

Top games and applications for Apple's iOS platform rapidly change as new titles emerge and users' interest shift. That makes paying developers to support another platform an expensive gamble, as Sony discovered in its efforts to woo iOS developers into crafting PSP Mini games for its portable gaming system.

The success of Apple's iOS App Store platform is based largely upon its being a large, cohesive installed base of iPhone and iPod touch users who readily buy new, low cost apps as they become available. This strong economic inducement for developers is much more powerful that any portability barriers, as is obvious from the fact that App Store sales have attracted many developers to Objective-C and Apple's Cocoa Touch frameworks.

Difficult to cheat the market

Attempts to cherry-pick successful iOS apps for Windows Phone 7 in exchange for money will likely result in a small number of games for WP7 that don't make much money for their developers, just as Apple's efforts to woo certain game developers such as EA to make games for the Mac haven't resulted in the Mac being a viable competitor in the serious gaming market.

However, Apple and PC game developers have worked together to make it easier to port PC games to Mac users, resulting in a shifting tide that has brought enough new titles, including Valve's Steam gaming platform, to prevent a lack of Mac games from being an impediment to Mac sales. Apple also supports running Windows natively via Boot Camp.

With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is starting from scratch and an installed base of zero, making its efforts to attract developers to its Silverlight-based platform much more difficult. Scant sales of the Zune HD, which runs the same mobile XNA gaming platform as the forthcoming WP7, have also done nothing to attract serious development. And of course, no Windows Phone 7 devices will be able to alternatively boot Apple's iOS.
post #2 of 62
Surprise, surprise. Microsoft has to pay people to develop for its platform.
post #3 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mebbert View Post

Surprise, surprise. Microsoft has to pay people to develop for its platform.

My thoughts exactly!
post #4 of 62
I like that strategy... I like that strategy a lot!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #5 of 62
I'm not sure how well it will work. Unless it's a lot of money, these same developers could make more money creating another successful iPhone game than they'd make from being paid to make a windows 7 game.
post #6 of 62
Poor Microsoft, I feel bad for them sometimes, why are they trying to compete in the mobile space though, don't they have office and windows operating system cash cows??
post #7 of 62
So now the Windows Phone 7 users will have to suffer with half-hearted ported apps just like Mac users used to. But there's still the crappy Quicken effort from Intuit isn't there, and Adobe's sort-of support for the Mac. Still, the irony is quite satisfying.
post #8 of 62
I just don't see this panning out. While MS is starting to "get it" when it comes to creating a mobile platform that both the Zune and WinMobile share that also leverages some of their key desktop technologies (although I would argue they "copied it" from Apple, iOS and OS X), it won't matter. WinMobile is already so far behind that their efforts to woo a few iPhone game developers won't gain them much ground. There just isn't a demand for WinMobile products. And the one segment they do have a strong penetration in - business users - probably aren't going to be spending a lot of money on games (even if they are allowed to installed by their employers).
post #9 of 62
Once again, the Seattle copy-cats are at it again.

My advice to any developer contacted by Microsoft is this; take the money and run!

Microsoft is into game business. The have XBox and they are coming out with another game system to compete with Wii. Let them make their own games.
post #10 of 62
The next logical step is to pay people to buy the phones.
post #11 of 62
wait?

you mean the development platform will not be visual studio? wow. that's news to me.
post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The next logical step is to pay people to buy the phones.

Or alternatively, give them away for free
post #13 of 62
I hope Microsoft doesn't pull a Microsoft on Apple.
In other words, I hope Microsoft doesn't pull a Google on Apple.
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post #14 of 62
why innovate when you can imitate?
an aye for an eye, the truth is a lie; a fish cannot whistle & neither can I.
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an aye for an eye, the truth is a lie; a fish cannot whistle & neither can I.
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post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mebbert View Post

Surprise, surprise. Microsoft has to pay people to develop for its platform.

You seem to lack any understanding of how the game industry works. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have been paying for some games to come to their platforms all the time, and have always done so. The bigger the game, the higher the fee.
post #16 of 62
MS understands the power of playing games on your phone while sitting on the can getting ready to wipe your ass with the new windows 7 phone...
post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The next logical step is to pay people to buy the phones.

Actually don't be surprised if they buy some of the big game titles for iPhone & then halt future versions for iPhone, what they did with Halo.

Difference this time is that people love the Apple hardware about as much as the apps themselves so they aren't just gonna switch platforms cause one of their favorite games left.
post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

You seem to lack any understanding of how the game industry works. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have been paying for some games to come to their platforms all the time, and have always done so. The bigger the game, the higher the fee.

The problem is that this is not the case for the iOS platform. If what you say is true (I don't know anything about the gaming industry) it appears to me that Apple changed the rules of the game for the portable game market and MS is still applying the console platform rules to the mobile game new industry. And I have the impression developers have a complete different set of expectations here.
post #19 of 62
To quote Steve Ballmer himself, "if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

For a company with so much cash coming in, everything looks like a place to spend it.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #20 of 62
I'll gladly port my app to any platform that wants to pay me, as long as they don't ask for exclusivity.
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

And of course, no Windows Phone 7 devices will be able to alternatively boot Apple's iOS.

Wouldn't that be ironic, to have a Microsoft device able to dual boot to an Apple OS...

If that day comes, when that days comes, I will be LMAO.
post #22 of 62
Ouch... ports always suck

I am gonna go ahead and bury WinMo right now. Perhaps they can make windows 8 that runs on top of android (like sense UI).

They have Xbox, why not pay people who develop for Xbox to make native games for WinMo. Would by much easier.
--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
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--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
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post #23 of 62
Microsoft is just sad. Developers! Developers! Developers!
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #24 of 62
Hm, they did the very same thing when the Zune HD arrived... that was quite a success by MS's standards... the E&D division is so successful that their people can afford to retire at 45 now, so the future is bright :-)
post #25 of 62
Unity 3D is a great game engine, but I dont think it will help make games for Windows 7its not one of the platforms for which support has even been planned, to my knowledge.
post #26 of 62
When MS does finally put out their mobile OS who will be selling it? The same folks making the Android phones. How will that pan out?
post #27 of 62
I hope they don't buy Bungie.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

When MS does finally put out their mobile OS who will be selling it? The same folks making the Android phones. How will that pan out?

LG is supposed to be making the reference hardware, or the first "big" Windows 7 phone, but they are right in the middle of releasing Android stuff as well so I wouldn't be surprised if you see two versions of almost the same hardware from them, one running Android and one running WinMobile 7.
post #29 of 62
What Apple/developers need to do is start making/using more Core APIs. That way you cannot simply port over the code as their apps will take full advantage of the iOS and what it has to offer.
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post

I hope they don't buy Bungie.

heh I remember first reporting this rumor long ago under a different username and no one believed me! And then a few hours Microsoft and Google made the announcement and everyone was like WTF?!
post #31 of 62
This is probably just a way to make sure Windows Mobile 7 has some relatively "universal" APPS in their stable before releasing the device. It's pretty hard to get people to switch to you if some apps have become a part of your daily routine. I figure it's companies that make the Apps like Pandora, Shazam, Urban Spoon, and then EA will crank out mobile versions of their typical offerings.

I'm not surprised. I'm also not laughing too hard about it when I can remember a time when I could barely open a word document on my mac. Be gracious losers and winners.
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by zindako View Post

Or alternatively, give them away for free

people may not even want them for free...
post #33 of 62
get interesting. Because while Microsoft attempts to throw money at iOS devs, they simply don't have any current market to entice the devs with. The Zune Marketplace has a handful of entries and no appreciable marketshare (compared to iPod, for example). With an 80 million plus and growing device-user population there, devs have an established market AND demonstrated successes to interest them.

Furthermore they are competing head-to-head with Android - and Android has a substantial headstart. I foresee some more licensing deals pried from handset makers (like they did with HTC) by Microsoft, so they can dampen Android uptake some, but that's all they have to work with. OTOH, it will be nice if Microsoft brought a strong contender to the market as it would draw fire away from Apple and force segment contention between 7 and Android - since their market approaches are more similar than to each other than they are to Apple.

All we need is for HPalm to weigh in as well. All of these are competing on the same sort of platform execution level, different than Apple and much further behind than Apple. Which means they have to spend precious cycles protecting themselves from each other instead of specifically targeting Apple and attacking that ecosystem. Microsoft is losing its marketshare rapidly to Android predation, much more than Apple is. RIM is technically in a class by itself currently, but too many more communication outages and they will start seeing erosion as well. The iPhone 4 is going to strengthen Apple's marketshare and ecosystem, and if they decide to open the ecosystem up to other US carriers, that will help consolidate it's presence in the US markets, and further mitigate Android or 7 growth.
post #34 of 62
Apple: make phones that third parties wait anxiously to be released, then line up to develop for.

MSFT: make phones that you have to pay people to develop for.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

And of course, no Windows Phone 7 devices will be able to alternatively boot Apple's iOS.

What does this even mean? If it's making a comparison, will an Apple iOs device boot Windows Phone 7? No of course not!
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

You seem to lack any understanding of how the game industry works. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have been paying for some games to come to their platforms all the time, and have always done so. The bigger the game, the higher the fee.

I, for one, understand that. But the real story here is not what others do, but how Apple doesn't have to.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by zindako View Post

Or alternatively, give them away for free

You don't quite understand. The idea is to actually get the phone out there.
Giving them away would still result in nobody having one because no one would take one for free.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

wait?

you mean the development platform will not be visual studio? wow. that's news to me.

Where did you get that info in the article, just curious? The entire development is done in Visual Studio 2010 + Silverlight 4.0 + XNA 4.0.

http://www.microsoft.com/express/phone/
post #39 of 62
<eof>
post #40 of 62
ouch. that's the very definition of desperate...
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