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March 17, 2014

What to Expect from Microsoft at GDC

We at Microsoft look forward to GDC as much as you do.  We get to geek out with the best game developers in the world and learn how we can help you be successful.  We’re always working to provide the tools and technologies you need to target the broadest possible market for your apps and games.  This includes improving the capabilities of .NET, investing in partnerships and standards, and creating a more unified developer platform for Windows devices.

Microsoft’s own BUILD event is only a few days away (April 2nd – 4th), but we do have a few things to share with game developers this week.

During GDC you’ll see that we’re working to generate opportunities for game developers of all sizes.  We’ve produced hits of our own for Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone like Halo: Spartan Assault, Shuffle Party and Wordament.  We also offer top titles from big publishers like Rovio’s Angry Birds franchise; EA’s NBA Jam, Mass Effect and Bejeweled; and Gameloft’s Asphalt and Assassin’s Creed titles (to name just a few).

We’re generating opportunities for independent game developers as well.  We’ve improved merchandising and monetization choices for Windows and Windows Phone, helping titles like Hill Climb Racing and Dredd vs. Zombies enjoy higher in-app purchase revenue per download than their Google Play versions and well over a million downloads in less than a year, respectively.

We’re also improving the platform to make it easier to build or port amazing games to Windows and Windows Phone. Already games account for more than 30% of all Windows Phone Store downloads and nearly 40% of Windows Store downloads.  Windows developers have seen a 4x increase in In-App-Purchase revenue over the past year.  This week we’re sharing more about how you’ll build even better games.

For many years the most engaging and visually impressive games in the world have relied on our DirectX graphics technology.  During GDC we’ll share a preview of the next version of DirectX. During a pair of sessions on March 20, we’ll join with several of our software and hardware partners to explain how DirectX 12 will allow developers to squeeze every last drop of performance out a full range of hardware, including Windows tablets, phones, PCs and Xbox One. 

Middleware engines are another great way to maximize investment.  We’re working closely with several top middleware partners to make Windows and Windows Phone part of their offerings.

  • Corona Labs has announced the first beta of their Corona SDK with support Windows Phone. Developers can take the Corona coding challenge at the Microsoft booth.
  • Marmalade will, for the first time, be demonstrating support for Windows 8.1 apps at their booth (#2510).  Microsoft will also be at the Marmalade booth showing how to bring games made with Marmalade to Windows platform.
  • Unity developers can join Carl Callewaert (Unity) & Adam Tuliper (Microsoft) for their session:  “Your Unity Game in More Hands – How to Build for Windows and Windows Phone,” on Thursday, March 20 at 11:30 am. This is a great resource if you’re planning on taking advantage of the current offer for Unity developers.  You can also check out the Unity booth #1402, to learn more about how to bring Unity games to the Windows platform.

Attendees can stop by the Microsoft booth (located in the lobby of the South Hall) to learn more about everything we’re doing at GDC. While you’re there, check out our coding challenges.  By taking a challenge you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes including an Xbox One, Nokia Lumia 1020, Dell Venue 8 Pro and more.*  We have 12 coding challenges for you to learn and have fun building games for Windows and Windows Phone. Some challenges focus on Microsoft technologies like DirectX, HTML5, C#/XAML, Live Tiles, Microsoft Ads and Project Spark, while others features solutions from Corona, Cocos2D-x, Facebook, Marmalade, Rapid2D and Unity.

Finally, we’ll explain how we’re doing more to help Independent developers get onto Xbox.  After launching last August, the ID@Xbox self-publishing program for Xbox One has more than 200 developers working on titles, with several set to launch in the near future.  We look forward to sharing more at GDC and inviting developers interested in the program to apply at .

The Microsoft opportunity for game developers is only getting bigger. Xbox is welcoming more developers to the console. Games are the top revenue generating category for both Windows and Windows Phone, with In-App-Purchase surpassing Download-to-Own revenue on each.  We’re working to give game developers the tools and flexibility you need to be successful across devices.  If you’re at GDC, come by and see us in the lobby of the South Hall.  We look forward to sharing even more about the work we’re doing for developers during the Build conference in a few weeks.


* No purchase necessary. Open only to GDC 2014 attendees. Game ends 3/21/2014.  You will receive 1 entry for each Challenge you take, up to a maximum of 10 entries per person. Must be present to win. See or the Microsoft Lobby Bar at Moscone South Hall for full Official Rules.