As you heard at Build and read in this week’s post Distributing Windows Apps to the World from Todd Brix, we released a read-only preview of the new Windows 10 Dev Center this week. In this post I will provide more detail on what to expect during the preview and what you need to do to prepare for the upcoming migration of your accounts and associated app metadata.
The biggest difference you’ll notice when looking at the new Dev Center preview is that there is one unified dashboard. Here you’ll be able to submit and manage new and existing apps with Windows 8.x packages, Windows Phone 7.x and 8.x packages, as well as Windows 10 packages (when the final dev tools are available) from a single dashboard. Additionally, managing your Microsoft ads and the capability to promote your apps will to move from pubCenter to Dev Center, so you have a single place to manage your apps.
Another benefit of the new unified approach is that your reporting and payments will be integrated and you will no longer need to enter your app’s description and other metadata in two separate places. If you have linked apps that share identity in both Windows and Windows Phone Stores today, these will be managed as a single app with multiple packages (for example, one app with a package for Windows Phone 8.1 and a package for Windows 8.1).
Please note the next time you visit Dev Center you will see multiple dashboards (example below). This is a temporary situation while we are in preview and until your accounts and metadata are migrated. You’ll choose the option on the left if you are looking to publish new or manage existing Windows and Windows Phone apps. I would encourage you to also choose the option on the right to check out the new reports, available for read-only preview. Please read the Dev Center FAQ for more details about the preview.
We will transition accounts to the new unified dashboard experience in waves over the coming months. You will receive an email notification when your account is migrated.
Changes for ALL Windows and Windows Phone apps
Action Recommended: Apps that are not linked
If you have apps in both the Windows and Windows Phone Stores today that are not linked, and you would like the apps to display as one app to customers viewing the store on Windows 10, you must link them now before your account is migrated. By linking your apps, you will have the opportunity to upload a Windows 10 package for the same app that can be distributed to all Windows 10 devices – PCs, tablets, and phones.
Action Recommended: Desktop app listings no longer supported
The unified Dev Center will not support desktop app listings. Desktop app listings previously submitted will remain published in Windows Store for customers on Windows 8 and 8.1. You will not see these apps in the new dashboard preview, but you can still access them in the current dashboard. Review and update any Desktop app listings now. Once your account migrates to the new Dev Center, you cannot modify the listing. However, you will be able to file a support ticket to have the listing removed by Microsoft after migration.
Action Recommended: Unified payout information
If your payout information is different in Windows Dev Center and Windows Phone Dev Center, when your account is migrated to the new dashboard, the data used for your payout payment instrument will be from the Windows Dev Center. If your account only has Windows Phone payout information, that will be used. Review your payout information to confirm it has the values you want to use once your account is migrated.
The updates below are for your information, no action is requited at this time.
Live in new Dev Center: ‘Promote Your App’ pubCenter functionality moves to Dev Center
The functionality to manage ads-in-apps campaigns in pubCenter has moved to Dev Center. If your apps integrate ads-in-apps, or you create ad campaigns, you’ll start using Dev Center as the single place to manage ads-in-apps. The ‘Promote Your App’ capabilities are fully operational in the Dev Center preview, ads-in-apps creation and reporting will be moved from pubCenter to Dev Center at a future date.
Read-Only Preview: App count
Your total app count in the unified dashboard preview could be different from what you see in the current Windows dashboard and Windows Phone dashboard:
- Only published apps and in-app purchase products will appear
- Most Windows Phone beta apps have not been migrated
- Updates published in the current Windows and Windows Phone dashboards take about a day to appear in the unified dashboard
Read-Only Preview: Crash reports
Your apps will likely show a higher number of crashes than before. The existing crash reports only show the crashes that include crash dumps. The Health report in the dashboard preview counts all crashes, even if the log was not available, and thus provides a more accurate view of the number of crashes or application hangs.
Individual market selections available
In the new dashboard, you’ll be able to define in which of 242 Windows Store markets your app is published. Today, the Windows and Windows Phone dashboards support different sets of markets, including a market called Rest of World (ROW) for the Windows Store. With Windows 10, we will eliminate ROW and give you full access to all markets individually. If you had previously selected ROW in the Windows Store dashboard, your app will continue to be available in those markets, but each market will be listed individually.
New app categories
With Windows 10, app categories will be adjusted and expanded to accommodate new user types and associated content types (e.g. business customers) and to aid customers in more easily discovering your apps. As a result, current app categories will be mapped to the new Windows 10 category list. You’ll want to take a moment to review the mappings below to understand where your apps will appear in the Dev Center and ultimately in the Store on Windows 10.
Note: The Store displayed on Windows 8.x devices and Windows Phone 7.x/8.x devices will not change and continue to show the same categories as today.
Windows Phone 7.x or 8.x categories that have a different category for Windows 10
|Windows Phone 8||Windows 10|
|government + politics > commentary||Government + politics|
|government + politics > legal issues||Government + politics|
|government + politics > politics||Government + politics|
|government + politics > resources||Government + politics|
|health + fitness > diet + nutrition||Health + fitness|
|health + fitness > fitness||Health + fitness|
|health + fitness > health||Health + fitness|
|Lifestyle > art + entertainment||Lifestyle|
|Lifestyle > out + about||Lifestyle|
|Lifestyle > food + dining||Food + dining|
|Lifestyle > shopping||Shopping|
|News + weather > international||News + weather|
|News + weather > local + national||News + weather|
|Utilities + productivity||Utilities + tools|
|Travel + navigation||Travel|
|Travel + navigation > planning||Travel|
|Travel + navigation > tools||Travel|
|Travel + navigation > with kids||Kids + family > travel|
|Travel + navigation > language||Education > Language|
|Travel + navigation > mapping||Navigation + maps|
|Travel + navigation > navigation||Navigation + maps|
|Games > classics||Games > Action + adventure|
|Games > Family||Games > Family + kids|
|Games > sports + recreation||Games > Sports|
|Games > strategy + simulation||Games > Strategy|
Windows 8.x categories that have a different category for Windows 10
|Windows 8 PC||Windows 10|
|Books + Reference > Kids||Kids + family > Books + reference|
|Music + Videos > Video||Photo + video|
|Music + Videos > Music||Music|
|Government||Government + politics|
|Games > Action||Games > Action + adventure|
|Games > Adventure||Games > Action + adventure|
|Games > Arcade||Games > Action + adventure|
|Games > Card||Games > Card + board|
|Games > Kids||Games > Family + kids|
|Games > Family||Games > Family + kids|
|Games > Puzzle||Games > Puzzle + trivia|
|Games > Racing||Games > Racing + flying|
New algorithms and app rankings
The Windows Store will begin using new search algorithms with Windows 10. Initially the Store will tune and adjust search to maximize exposure for the most relevant apps to users. As a result of the new algorithms and tuning, some apps could display in a different slot in the ranking when searched, or in the algorithmic lists (e.g. Top Free, Top Paid). You will also see a new list, ‘Top Grossing,’ which gives more visibility to apps that generate revenue via in-app purchase.
Per market pricing
If you established per-market pricing for your apps on the Windows Phone dashboard, they will automatically be carried over to the unified dashboard. Note that for customers on Windows 8.x, the price tier base value will be used for all markets.
App promotion notification emails discontinued
Emails informing you of upcoming Windows Phone app promotions will no longer be sent. Windows 10 supports a dynamic system that will display personalized app recommendations for users. As a result, Store operations will no longer be able to guarantee that a customer will see a specific app promoted on a specific day. You’ll stop receiving these notices later this calendar year.
Changes ONLY for linked Windows and Windows Phone apps
Linked apps are published in both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store and designated by you to share the same identity. Customers can purchase linked apps once to use across Windows and Windows Phone devices. The indicator that exists today (‘Get once, download on compatible Windows devices too’) will no longer exist in Windows 10.
With Windows 10, these apps will be managed as one single app in the Dev Center. If you have packages for both Windows and Windows Phone today, they will be combined into a single app with device-specific packages. During this integration, the Store will use the following principles when integrating metadata and settings.
Action Recommended: Age ratings
The stricter third-party age rating will be used. If a linked app has different age ratings for third-party agencies (e.g. ESRB, PEGI), the app will display the stricter (higher age) rating. If the age rating information varies between the linked Windows and Windows Phone versions, we suggest you make them the same now, to minimize user confusion.
Action Recommended: App categories
If your linked apps are published in different categories for Windows and Windows Phone Stores, the app will be published in the category and subcategory that most closely matches the one in the Windows app. If you have an app in this situation, make sure the Windows category and subcategory is the one you want to use for your linked app.
Action Recommended: App descriptions
When descriptions are available from both the Windows and Windows Phone Store in the same language, the description from your Windows Store app is shown to your Windows 10 Insider Preview customers. In the rare cases where your supported languages differ for each Store, some customers might see a description from your Windows Phone app, if that is the only description you provided in that language.
If you want to update the description that your Windows 10 Insider Preview customers see to let them know about experiences that work across multiple devices, you can do so by updating your app description in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores. For apps with shared identity in both Stores today, you’ll want to make sure to update the description in your Windows Store dashboard so that your Windows 10 Insider Preview customers will see it.
Action Recommended: Non-Microsoft IAP API for in-app purchase
All new app submissions that include in-app offers for digital items that can be consumed in the app must use the Microsoft IAP API starting on June 29, 2015. This applies now to Durable and Consumable items, and will apply to in-app purchase Subscriptions when they become available. Apps that have already been submitted to the Store have one year to move to the MS IAP API. Read the Store Policies for more details.
Action Recommended: Trial offers
Windows and Windows Phone trial offers will be merged as part of the integration in a way that aims to prevent giving customers a free trial that your apps might not have been coded to support.
If your linked apps offer a trial, the trial license information will be merged based on the table below. Also note that if trial functionality differs between Windows and Windows Phone today, some app changes may be required on your part to ensure your app continues to work as expected following the migration, per the following table.
|Windows app||Windows Phone app||New trial setting|
|No trial||No trial||No trial|
|No trial||Infinite time||No trial|
|Infinite time||Infinite time||Infinite time|
|Infinite time||No trial||No trial|
|Time-limited trial||Infinite time||Time-limited trial (Windows 8.x and Windows 10 devices), and No trial (Windows Phone 8.x devices)|
|Time-limited trial||No trial||Time-limited trial (Windows 8.x and Windows 10 devices), and No trial (Windows Phone 8.x devices)|
The updates below are for your information, no action is required at this time.
If your linked apps are published in different markets for Windows and Windows Phone, the app will be published to all markets where it was available, in either of the two Stores. For example if your app was published to Mexico for Windows Phone and not published to Mexico for Windows, it will be available in Mexico once the integration is complete.
If the app or in-app purchase price of a linked app is different for the Windows and Windows Phone version, the Windows price will be used. If you are using per-market pricing for your Windows Phone app or in-app purchase, those prices will be used for the specified markets.
All Windows and Windows Phone app screenshots and app descriptions will be migrated. The appropriate screenshots are displayed to the user based on the Windows 10 device they are using. However, all Windows 10 devices will see the app descriptions that were provided for the Windows app. The only exception being if app descriptions were not provided for a specific language for the Windows app. In this case, the Windows Phone descriptions will be used on all Windows 10 devices.
Dev Center Roadmap
This week’s preview release is only the beginning. Additional features and capabilities are planned; some will launch with the release of Windows 10, while others will be available at a later date. Here’s a snapshot of what’s planned:
- Ability to submit Windows 10 apps and games via the new single submission flow
- View and manage your previously linked apps as a single app with multiple packages
- Single payout across Windows and Windows Phone apps
- Ability to respond to reviews for all apps and post public responses
- Integration of ads-in-apps setup and management reporting, previously available in pubCenter
- Generate promotional codes to aid you in driving app promotion
- Support for in-app subscriptions to offer features charged periodically to users
- Integration with analytics to understand your app usage patterns
- Campaign tracking to provide insight into where your downloads are being generated
- Ability to distribute your apps to organizations, for example small businesses
- And when the toolkits are available later this year, you will be able to use the unified dashboard to submit and manage apps created with any of the Universal Windows Platform Bridges, with the same standard app submission flow, management tools and reporting
The unification of the Dev Center dashboard is intended to simplify app submission for you and is designed to give us the opportunity to add functionality and make changes at a rapid pace – all enhancements you’ve been asking for. I’d like to recommend that you try the new dashboard preview and share your feedback through user voice or through the Dev Center feedback button in the bottom right of the dashboard . Your insights will help us in completing the initial release.