For many markets around the world, this week marks the beginning of the most frenetic shopping season of the year. It’s no accident that Microsoft has been more visible than usual. The holiday shopping season is a major focus for us, as evidenced by Windows 7 and Bing campaigns as well as the introductions of exciting new products in Kinect for Xbox 360 and of course Windows Phone 7. We know that many Windows Phone developers have gone to great lengths to ensure that their apps and games are in Windows Phone Marketplace this holiday season as well.
We’re heading into one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year and we’re on pace to offer roughly 3,000 apps and games by the end of this week. We’ve also seen a near 80% increase in the number of registered developers since September, with more than 15,000 developers already signaling their intent to bring exciting content to Windows Phone. Clearly we’re just getting warmed up.
The developer community is placing some big bets with Windows Phone this holiday, so I want to take a minute to highlight a few things we’re doing to further promote their apps and games.
1. Find Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games on Bing Visual Search (pictured): We’re using our own popular Bing decision engine to further showcase developers’ Windows Phone 7 apps through Bing’s Visual Search capabilities in the US and UK. This allows anyone with a browser to easily find, view and access the growing list of apps and games available for Windows Phones.
2. Promoting Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games on Xbox 360 (pictured): Last week Microsoft announced that it had sold more than 1 million Kinect devices for Xbox 360 in the first 10 days of availability, adding to the 45 million Xbox 360 consoles already sold. Windows Phone devices, apps and games are now prominent features of the Xbox dashboard that people see on their televisions when they start Xbox and view tabs such as the Spotlight category.
3. Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games on Windowsphone.com (pictured). Microsoft.com is one of the most frequented portals on the Web and Windowsphone.com is the starting point for all things Windows Phone. This site now features an “apps” tab that takes viewers to a Marketplace page that delivers a dynamic list of “featured” and “top free” apps and games. Furthermore, these lists are localized for several markets including: Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, U.K., and the U.S.
4. Campaigns featuring Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games. The introduction of Windows Phone 7 is being supported by an extensive marketing and advertising campaign in several major markets around the world. Apps, games and Marketplace are prominent features of our integrated communication activity.
5. Windows Phone Marketplace on Zune PC software (pictured). With the international expansion of the Zune music and video service on Xbox LIVE, Windows PC and of course Windows Phone, the Zune PC software is now on more screens and in more markets than ever. With every update and download of the Zune PC software, customers are seeing the latest music, videos and apps for Windows Phone in a single well organized desktop experience.
In addition to the things we’re doing to promote apps and games for Windows Phone 7, we’ve added a few features that developers can use to better market their apps and games. For example, developers can now add “deep links” to their Web sites and other marketing material, taking customers directly to the specific app or game purchase page, on either their phone or the Zune PC software, in a single click.
Developers can take advantage of deep linking by installing the Download Now Kit.
This is just a sample of the type of work we’re doing to get apps and games in front of customers. We will continue to generate more visibility in more markets across all of the screens that people rely on throughout their daily lives. Developers and the apps they create are central to the Windows Phone experience and we’re doing our best to show people that Windows Phone 7 features a great list of quality apps that take advantage of the phones unique features to extend the phone experience.
I would recommend http://xappio.com for marketing and promotion of Windows Phone apps. I have used their services for a number of releases. I outsource development and have no time at all for marketing. Using xappio has been a real time saver and provided good results.
These guys don't pay attention to the developer forums or these posts. Even if they did do you really think they can pull some strings. I agree that the apps being promoted appear to be hand picked which is fine but they are picking Live games or partner games and apps. My game jetted past most nearly all of the Live games but will it get any love. Nope, no promotion, display, mention at all. By default the paid list is first then tucked away the free list. If you go into the top list it is all paid apps. All Live games are on the top of the top lists by default and rank is not even considered. If you want the best option to promote your app or others fairly then build a really sweet website that lists the apps the right way. Promote that website so that everyone knows about it. Then it won't matter what the phone market or Zune promotes because people will go to that sweet site for the truth. What is stopping us from building our own market app? Nothing. Build a really kick but market app that is fair and honest and that won't crash or lock up your phone. Then the customers and developers will benefit.
Want a money making idea. Do as I just mentioned and you will be rolling. I would but I lack time. Maybe someone else will fill the void.
@ns4987 We need a lot of things in terms of Zune. Seriously. I also hope they are working on those firmware updates. IE Mobile isn't doing as great as I expected.
@7xperience5 - What we need is a WP7 - P = Z kind of thing :) even in terms of hardware... Why cant nice designs used in phones by samsung go to zune?
I'm disappointed still. If I'm correct, Zune is now integrated with the Windows Phone team. Very bad idea. I hope that when this is all toned down, we get some new features to the Zune HD. Like a updated browser with HTML5 and Flash(that's a big one) and a Youtube app(that's a momentous one) and PLEASE PLEASE we(as in the Zune HD community) WANT you guys to open the app store. Anyways, keep moving on with WP7. It's a great OS despite the huge missing features. I hope when the copy-paste update comes in early 2011, support for hidden networks, tethering and some kind of placement for multi-tasking until it's fully implemented and please, I beg, work on the Zune. Don't keep us in the dark and open the app store like WP7.
The search feature on market place is little annoying at times, we cannot search just for apps or podcasts or music.. it is all in one, you often have your results infiltrated with other stuff that you are not looking for. Also, few options to sort results/apps by rating etc would really help. I am hoping that search will be enhanced in near future.
I LMAO at "Visuo" comment about "squashing apples".
Sure the iPhone and iPad is the envy of the tech world, but the REAL competition to Win-Phone is the Android (mainly it uses the same separate Software and Hardware development WP7 uses)
Android knockoffs of the iPad may be terrible now, but at least they have something, meanwhile I see nothing on horizon on MS camp to compare.
Remains to be seen, but battle may be over before it even started.
(on a side, I heard the "Sync" in action in a Ford truck. I was massively disappointed. Common MS, cant you do better??)
I should add that I'm visible in the US search (for apps in before the deadline) but not in the UK search. Do we have to list our apps for each market?
Is the bing search up to date? I can't find my apps or publisher name in there anywhere.
As a former iOS and App Store user, I feel almost completely satisfied with App & Games Marketplace. The "almost" is because the lack of alternatives to use as payment method. I don't understand why is not possible to buy Apps and Games with MS Points just like musics and videos on Zune and all on Xbox 360. I have a 360 and I always keep some MSP on my account, and I don't feel comfortable attaching a Credit Card to a mobile device which I can lost or be robbed anytime. The same for let ATT bill me. MS Points is great even as a Christmas gift, so please guys, think better about it, or at least make U$ denominated prepaid cards like iTunes. I am sure it will help boost the sales even more.
Again, the Bing Visual Search hasn't worked in a week. No apps release after 11/17 are being shown.It's really a great tool...too bad it doesn't work!
You guys forgot the most important one, actually having the phones available!
Rogers only has one phone, and its not even available yet.
And I'd prefer one with a keyboard, which theirs doesn't have.
I want to get started on development. I'm actually a (slightly) famous UMPC developer and cant wait to get on WinMo7
I would love to see 2D built into Unity. Just based upon the Art committment needed for 3D, I plan to continue working in 2D for some time. There is a very nice solution available called SpriteManager. www.anbsoft.com just updated to SpriteManager 2 and that addon is now sold in the Unity store. It really is an amazing 2D sprite animation solution. There is nothing like it available for XNA. SpriteManager is free open source and spriteManager 2 is for price. Check out the videos at the anbsoft website.
Another very positive path is the newly Delta Engine just announced at TechEd in Europe. It allows full cross platform distribution developing in C#, XNA. Like Unity, it is based upon Mono .Net. I put my WP7 game on hold, however if this engine comes out in 2011, I will finish my game and port to all supported platforms. (WP7, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android, PC). It's definately worth keeping a close eye on. The company EXDream just released ZombieHockey on all mobile platforms....original development only in C# in XNA. benjaminnitschke.com/.../ZombieHockey-on-iPad-Android-Tablet-Windows-Phone-7-iPhone-iPod-Android-and-Windows-PC.aspx
@chaneya my goal is definetly financial success. My current plan is to see where things go with WP7. Getting in early, I hope, will give me some advantage if the phone takes off, like I think it will.
If down the road my games begin to drown in a sea of XBox Live games then I will either look toward other platforms or see about actually becoming one of the XBox Live games. :-)
True the 360 and WP7 models are different right now, but I have a feeling (read, a guess) they may merge. There was just some news that MS was looking for people that could bring Silverlight to the 360. This makes me think they are heading toward having a WP7 like market place for games and APPS on the 360. (Could be wrong here.)
Anyway, I always keep my options open. Unity looks interesting to me, but I won't take a serious look until they add 1st class 2D support, which I understand is on their roadmap.
Good luck with your games and company.
I hear you. I love XNA and I love developing on MS platforms. I think the real decision an indie developer has to make is....Is this a just hobby for you or do you dream of some financial success. I have a WP7 game that uses Farseer about 40% complete and decided to end production. I've decided to move to multi-platform development and am currently working in Unity. I finally made the decision to make that change when MS launched the new Dash update and decided to further gutterize Indie games by placing them in Specialty Shops. They also decided to implement under 18 restrictions for the first time on Unrated Content/Indie Games. My son was no longer able to view the Indie Game Marketplace and thus could not purchase my game or any other Indie games. I posted these issues and to MSs credit they moved Indie games back into Games and now Child accounts can at least view Indie Games, they just can't purchase. This was the last straw for me because it drove home for me the differing philosophy between MS and other companies that have digital distribution marketplaces. MS preached a good game of democratizing gaming but the reality is they are terrified of jeopardizing existing publisher relationships. The fact is however Apple, Valve and numerous other web based companies have indeed democratized gaming both in mobile and PC platforms.
I love doing this as a hobby but I also dream of financial success. Because of this, I formed a company and it would be huge disservice to my company to continue to support MS platforms unless they completely change their business model. The MS business model is made even more difficult because they have two entirely different approval/distribution models for 360 and WP7. So even multi-platform approval/distribution on MS platforms is very troublesome for an Indie developer.
Good luck to you. I love the videos you posted of Krashlander. It looks really great.
@chaneya I wouldn't say I'm suprised. I have followed the XBLIG saga pretty much since it began. I'm not suggesting Microsoft should give "indie" games equal footing with XBox Live branded games. I'm only suggesting they reduce the gap a little and keep from alienating all the would be indie game devs like myself.
Lately, the XBLIG community HAS been able to reason with MS and make some progress. To me that's a sign they are listening.
Maybe my efforts to get Microsoft to consider a more balanced approach to XBox Live vs. Indie games will fail, but I love the platform and think it's worth at least trying.
If at some point I find nothing has changed and all my games are buried beneath 100, 200, or more XBox Live games, then yeah I'll probably move on. I'm not ready to do that just yet.
"With the international expansion of the Zune music and video service on Xbox LIVE, Windows PC and of course Windows Phone"
Will Microsoft provide any timeline about the different country Zune services activations?
So far there is no information given.
Can we expect it for beginning of 2011? mid-2011? end of 2011?
Thanks in advance if you can provide this info.
Honestly Jeff, Are you really surprised? MS defined the marketplace for WP7 back at MIX in early 2010. They were very clear that Indie games such as yours would be segmented separately from Live enabled "Publisher Relationship" games. Now that they are doing exactly what they said they would do, why would an Indie developer be surprised or disappointed. All any Indie Developer had to do was pay attention to the Xbox 360 Indie Marketplace issues. For the record, I have two games on the Indie Game Marketplace on 360..Acid Rain and Acid Rain Heroes. Indie developers have been in constant dismay over MSs decision to separate games based upon Indie vs Arcade (publisher games).
Just be happy that the WP7 team chose Certification over Peer Review. With peer review, as it is on 360, your game would be considered unrated content/user generated content and thus would not be purchasable by anyone under 18. You are also able to freely set a price for your game vs being stuck with only 3 tiers of pricing. That includes a Free option on WP7 in order to boost exposure. There is no free option on 360. I could go on with all the disparities in Indie Marketplace distribution currently on MS platforms but I think you get the point.
If you truly want a more democratized marketplace for Indie development, as of right now, you'll have to develop for other platforms.
Awesome, I'm getting a Windows Phone 7 in january
I agree with jeffweber. There has to be someway that indie xbox live games can get more notice. The marketplace is great, but this is definitely one of my gripes. Maybe have an non-xbox live app of the day or something.
Agree with jeffweber too, I have a non-Xbox Live game myself (Trine's Hangman), and seeing how little focus the non-Live games get, they really do not get much of a chance to show off, regardless of how good they are.
Some easier way for us Indy developers to get Xbox Live achievements in our games is another high wish on my list...for example that you could publish an Xbox Live game with Xbox Live achievements exactly as regular apps, but just with some extra review/test criterias (the achievements must be "challenging" to get in the game), and some extra fees when submitting the app and updates for it (due to the extra test work for MS).
Even for an small developer like me, I would be willing to pay some extra fees to get some achievements and a "Live"-stamp on my game...since I am sure it would have a huge marketing value (never underestimate the selling-power of Xbox Achievements:).
I completely agree with @jeffweber. Non-XBox Live game developers feel like second-class citizens, and it's rather frustrating to be honest.
@soonstudios: Yeah, except it took more time to make the Marketplace unavailable in all regions than it would take to make it available (obviously, imho). What do you need to do to make it available? Add more countries to a dropdown?
I'm not talking about localization. People in many countries don't care about it and smaller countries actually never get it anyway. As for monetary/legal matters I can't talk about the whole world, but if you have the store in one European Union country you should be perfectly fine serving all of the EU. Again, I'm talking about apps marketplace only. Music & Videos are a separate matter and outside of Microsoft's control.
Overall it looks to me like bringing 20th century model into digital marketplace of the 21st century with no apparent reason whatsoever.
Sorry for the rant, but some official and not vague statement on the state of the matter would go a long way towards setting things straight in this area.
@roteague, Zune HD is on Zune.net (www.zune.net/.../default.htm)
But if you are referencing the home page animation...well as a Zune user myself, I don't mind them underplaying Zune HD right now, Zune ecosystem is positioned better than ever before to grow by focusing on XBox and the latest Windows Phone. If you are a Zune HD user, I think you'll agree...adoption is key to better things to come.
New phone is nice, but if you really want to get market share and squash some apples you need to coordinate windows mobile with your tablet division.
And before anyother company makes the move, create a small tab phone like the galaxy tab size, better processor, full gps and it must work as a full phone also.
I, as an everyday person would love to be able to use a tab as a phone, dock it in my car and fire up the full gps app to get to my destination (linked to contacts also be sweet) and be able to web browse and watch video on a decent size screen. so not too big but big enough, i am sure you globe trotters would appreciate a device that does it all.. Now i realize the US carriers didnt let the Samsung Galaxy Tab work as phone here like it does in the EU because the just want to make more contracts, but there are many like me that refuse to do that and want the phone also.. If you cant find a carrier that wants to be forward thinking ( if you could get all to agree you would own the market), then talk to comcast... with their expansion of the their 4g and clearwire wifi backbone they are sure to introduce their own mobile phone service nationwide at some point.
thanks for your time.. hope these ideas fall on the right ears to look into it.
Great post and as a Windows Phone Forum owner, it makes me very happy to see you guys putting in the FULL effort especially during the holidays!
Keep up the great work,
Is this why reference to the Zune HD has been dropped from Zune.net?
Are Windows Phone 7 apps and games are being promoted on Xbox 360 now, or is this a future option? As this isn't the case in the UK (as far as I can see)
The Bing visual search is really great, but it's not being kept up-to-date. It hasn't been updated in the past several days. There are no apps displayed released after 11/17.
Hey Todd, nice post. I have but one comment. It seems Non-XBox Live games rarely (never that I've seen) get featured or highlighted in anyway. I've been watching the marketplace for sometime now and I can't remember once seeing a game featured that wasn't an XBox Live title.
Apps are featured, but never independent games.
I understand XBox games should get more priority, but it'd be nice to occasionally see a Non-XBox game or two get some love. :-)
Same thing with "Related" games when in the marketplace on the phone. The "related" games almost always contain 2,3, or 4 XBox Live games. (and there are only ever 4 shown total)
I developed a game called Krashlander that is currently one of the top Non-XBox Live paid games in the U.S. market.
I'm not looking for my game specifically to get featured, I just don't want to see the divide between XBox titles and Non-XBox titles grow too wide. I love developing for wp7 and would hate to have to move to another platform due to lack of visibility amongst the XBox titles. That would just be depressing.
Concerned WP7 Game Developer,
@Alan I think it was caused by the deadline. They didn't have time to luch more markets. But I see your point and I agree - at least the marketplace with free apps should be available everywhere.
This is all great but what's the reason for App Marketplace (I'm not talking about music & video here) not being available worldwide? Developers are loosing lots of money and consumers are scratching their heads not getting why their new shiny smartphone can't access the marketplace.