Windows 8 Gets Windows Phone Integration: Why I’m Excited

AT&T CEO believes Windows 8 will boost Windows Phone’s market value

Usually irrelevant, but we’re talking about Windows Phone because of its OS integration.

Developers can now build apps for Windows 8, and Windows Phone, simultaneously

Developers who want to build games for Microsoft’s upcoming desktop and mobile operating systems can, thanks to the announcement of Windows Phone 8. It should mean that mobile games should come to the desktop, rivalling iOS in terms of cross-device transparency.

I’ve spoke in the past about how Microsoft is the only company that can rival and offer desktop and mobile operating systems which can be active. Android has lagged behind because there are too many devices to develop a consistent experience across, and that’s exactly why the iPad – and iOS generally – has been a success. Despite its faults, Windows 8 is consistent. And developers know it.

It should also be interesting to see how the Xbox Live integration grows. Currently, it’s little more than a nod to Xbox 360 owners who want a mobile app to see their friends and achievements. There are games in the Windows Phone marketplace, but they aren’t from Xbox Live Arcade. Where’s Trials Evolution, Limbo or Minecraft? Releasing Xbox Live Arcade games simultaneously on Xbox Live and Windows 8, in particular, would go beyond even what Apple is doing. There’s one downside though: is the hardware going to be consistent? If certain games don’t run on certain devices, then the Android fragmentation problem exists.

More Fish In The Sea

Of course this hinges on whether developers, and consumers, adopt the Metro UI or stay in the desktop. With up to 500 million devices in 2013 running Windows 8 according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, then you have to feel confident someone is going to adopt Metro. Once the first app from a high profile developer is out, others follow.

Look at iOS: Angry Birds makes money, gaming explodes on iOS devices. Likewise with Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. which, while resembling Halo incredibly well, brought an almost-triple-A experience to mobile devices.

I think there’s a lot of potential for Xbox Live on Windows-based devices if Microsoft positions the service as something like Steam. It could be a platform for the much-forgotten Indie Games, despite gems such as Apple Jack and FortressCraft. It’d be a huge platform for small developers.

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Jonathan is a writer on the technology and video game industries. He is comfortable with using Mac OS X and Windows; he began using Windows with Windows XP during his early double-digit years, and started using OS X in 2009 on a MacBook Pro. He began gaming on the SNES back in the 90s.

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