Windows Phone ..what was and will be?

Now that Monster Katz has launched, I thought it would be a good time to get some thoughts out there about Windows Phone and our experience with the platform.  You  can also check out this article where I talk to Steve Lesniewski about our experience.

What we thought…

As an initial mobile platform for us, Windows Phone was pretty much a no-brainer given that Monster Katz was targeted to XBLIG so a large part of the code base would work without any issue and the rest would be a matter of API tweaking.   We did consider Android and iPhone but we wanted to get a couple of our other titles released this fall so the size of the effort was a major deciding factor.

Our experimentation with the platform will continue over the next few months as we continue to work to the release of the Survival and Arcade update (more on that in a future post).

What we found…

The input handling was very very easy with the almost macro level API for the gesture aspect.  The rendering, tombstoning, and other aspects of the Windows Phone were so well documented (both by Microsoft and the XNA community) by the time we started it was a walk in the park to get the phone specific code written…I spent maybe half a weekend to get it all written including the storage specifics.

On the performance side of things we had no baseline and were a bit anxious before doing some fully loaded tests.  Wow, what a wonderful surprise it was when the game literally out-paced the XBOX version with just a few hours of performance nudging.   We had spent a decent amount of focus on general performance profiling and specific platform work ahead of time, but still…gotta give the API and platform teams at Microsoft props for a great job.

The graphic and audio content did require platform specific versions to make the grade, so that meant Anna and Cameron had a LOT of work to do compared to the code.  In the end it helped us streamline our workflow a bit so extra benefit there and that is helping out as we work on the updates.

What we see…

With Windows Phone 8 on the horizon I must admit to some angst.  We are not really stoked about the seeming chasm that Microsoft is digging between 7.8 and 8.   The recent news of lagging (and potentially stalling) Lumina 900 sales is a data point that seems to put a lot of question marks on how successful the reboot of the Microsoft mobile market can be.  I just don’t see Microsoft gaining a larger market share by pissing off the small group (we are included in that contingent) who they worked so hard to win over.