Microsoft has posted online tutorials for developing games and apps for its upcoming Windows Phone 7. In addition, the company also announced its intentions to making Windows Phone 7 a robust gaming platform, placing it in more direct competition with the likes of the Apple iPhone, Sony and Nintendo.
Microsoft continues to ramp up its Windows Phone 7 strategy,
with a new online series of tutorials aimed at game and app developers. The software company also announced its intention to
make the upcoming smartphone platform a go-to destination for mobile gaming,
raising its competitive profile against not only the Apple iPhone but also
portable-games makers such as Sony and Nintendo.
On Aug. 17, the company posted a series of training
sessions, hosted by Microsoft MVPs Rob Miles and Andy Wigley, intended to help
developers create applications for its upcoming smartphone platform. Windows
Phone 7 takes a unique approach to the smartphone user interface, consolidating
Web applications and other content into a series of subject specific hubs such
as "Office" or "People." It will also include a Windows Phone Marketplace
loaded with applications from third-party developers.
"We recognize that providing as much technical content as we
can for the full range of developers is what developers deserve," Brandon
Watson, Microsoft's director of developer experience for Windows Phone 7, wrote
in the posting on The Windows Blog
. "While we plan on having more live
training sessions in the coming weeks and months, we are also committed to
making that content available as quickly as possible to as many developers as
Watson wins this week's prize for most uses of the word "developers" in
All joking aside, the 12, 50-minute sessions detailed in
Watson's posting cover a number of Windows Phone 7 developer fundamentals,
including how to build a Silverlight application and XNA-based games. Other
sessions include "Advanced Application Development" and "Marketing Your
Windows Phone 7 Application."
Along those lines-at least with regard to gaming-Microsoft
used an Aug. 17 showcase at Germany's Gamescom 2010 to premiere the first wave
of Xbox Live games debuting on Windows Phone 7.
"Windows Phone 7 takes a different approach to handheld
gaming," Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox Live at Microsoft, said
in a statement tied to the event, "utilizing Xbox Live, Microsoft Game Studios,
leading game publishers, and innovative indie developers, to create powerful,
shared experiences for everyone."
Microsoft seems to be positioning Windows Phone 7's "Games"
hub as a robust alternative to other smartphone app stores, which offer games
but nothing along the lines of Xbox Live's more community-centric features,
such as customizable avatars and online leaderboards. In addition, Windows
Phone 7 games from the "Castlevania," "Crackdown," and "Halo" franchises will
likely help draw hardcore gamers to the platform.
Phone 7 reached its technical preview milestone on July 18
, with thousands
of prototype smartphones landing in developers' hands. More than 1,000
Microsoft employees have reportedly been testing the platform for months, for
metrics such as battery life, usability and network connectivity.
For Microsoft, that milestone ratcheted up the pressure to
draw developers onto the Windows Phone 7 platform. The company has reportedly
offered cash and other resources in exchange for mobile applications,
particularly games that succeeded on other smartphone platforms such as the
"We are investing heavily in the developer community by
offering as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our
platform," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote to eWEEK July 14. "Where it makes
sense, we do co-fund strategic projects on a limited basis."
Microsoft has also been encouraging developers to build
business-centric apps for Windows Phone 7, likely in the hope of retaining its
presence among both enterprise and small and
midsized business users. Of course, your typical businessperson probably
also appreciates a mobile session of "Crackdown" now and then.