The much-awaited Windows Phone 7 launched last week amid promises that their app market will be far more exclusive than either iPhone or Android. The phones are looking like an excellent gaming platform with brilliant graphics capability and a powerful OS, but social game developer Aurora Feint remains wary of jumping on board. The game developer runs OpenFeint, a large network for social games with over 12,000 registered developers and bragging over 3,300 games.
Their product allows developers to add social elements to their games and link them together. Giving players the ability to watch their friends play, join them in games, and allows developers to advertise for more players on the network. While a Windows Phone 7 phone will probably be a good platform for this sort of product, Aurora Feint is still wary of several elements of Microsoft’s phone launch, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog,
WSJ: Will you make OpenFeint available on Windows Phone 7?
Relan: We get a lot of interest from our developer community about the Windows 7 phone, but there are two reasons why it’s not a slam dunk yet.
One is that people believe that Windows 7 is a great phone a too little too late, so there’s a bit of a wait and see in terms of the developer community. If you remember the iPhone, developers wanted to be part of the launch, but in this case, it’s more “Let’s see how it’s done in the first month.” Microsoft has to recruit more developers, and developers have to believe that the phone is going to do well.
The second is that Microsoft brought a light version of (its own social game network) Xbox Live onto Windows Phone 7, so we’re uncertain as to whether we can have the same market power.
The slow growth of the Windows Phone 7 developer community—probably in part to the “we will be a tighter gated community” effect comes uncertainly by other developers. Certainly, if the Windows Phone 7 begins to sell extremely well, developers will start clamoring at those gates, but right now Aurora Feint’s wait-for-market may be a common play among would be developers.
Especially as the game development company has already done good business with iPhone and Android handsets—both of which already have deeply entrenched developer communities and sell extremely well. Fortunately for Microsoft, there’s no shortage of game developers for Kinect, which is getting ready to undergo a major marketing campaign as the holiday shopping season approaches.