The lack of in-app purchases on Windows Phone 7.8 will speed the move of developers to Windows Phone 8
Part of the new Dev Centre is support for in-app purchases, but this will only be available for apps targeting Windows Phone 8.
Ubergizmo speculates that this means Windows phone 7.8 will also lack the new Wallet app, which is tied into paying for purchases on the new platform.
A bigger and more important implication however is that it will speed the movement of developers to Windows phone 8, even when the legacy Windows phone 7.x population is much larger.
In-app purchasing on iOS and Android generates much more revenue for developers than the purchase of the apps originally, and allows developers to compete with free, ad-supported apps.
If developers can earn more from their Windows Phone 8 apps even with a smaller number of users (say 10 million WP8 vs 20 million WP7.x by Q2 2013) it is likely that support for the legacy OS will drop off much more steeply than previously anticipated.
At this point it is unlikely anything will change, but the wedge which is separating Windows Phone 7.x and Windows phone 8 has just been driven in a bit deeper.
Windows Phone 7 does not have a real in-app payment solution. Even in the few instances where it is available, it has been limited to Xbox Live titles, which are obviously not available to regular developers.
Microsoft does however allow 3rd party in-app payment solutions to exist in Marketplace, and one such solution is cross-platform payments solutions app provider MoVend.
MoVend provides in-app payments solutions that allows developers to activate multiple payments on Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry platforms, using just a single SDK library. Typically, developers who want to enable multiple local payments will need to integrate a lot of different SDKs provided by the different payment gateways, but MoVend streamlines this process by aggregating all these payment channels into one.
They do provide a WP7 SDK, but so far uptake has been poor. Now Microsoft has paired up with Nokia to promote the service.
Developers in in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia stand to win $2000 worth of Nokia Lumia handsets for downloading and integrating the solution into their apps and then submitting the XAP file via MoVendâ€™s online dashboard. Apps submitted will be judged by a panel from Nokia and MoVend based on Design (25%), Usability (50%) and Creativity (25%).
â€œWe are getting really good uptake with the latest Windows Phone 7 phones that are launched in recent months. We want to encourage more developers to develop WP7 apps with MoVend as it will benefit both the users (to have more quality apps) and developers (who can monetize through IAP on the platform). Some of the apps that are launched recently with us are doing really wellâ€¦ and we want to help developers in this region do the same,â€ said Stream Media CEO Chua Zi Yong.
The contest is open from the 2 April â€“ 15 May and judging will conclude on the 23 May 2012.
Read more about the contest at Movend.com here.
Elbert Perez, the successful developer behind the Occasional Gamer company and many very popular games, has posted on his website that essentially the good times is over for early Windows Phone 7 developers, and that it is time to branch out to other platforms.
The gold rush of Windows Phone is now over. With more and more apps flooding into the market the competition is getting harder. Money is not as good as it was, and the quick development method is less effective. Being stuck monetizing just on ad revenue alone sucks. Windows Phone needs IAP and it seems like it will be forever before it shows up.
I have a library of successful games that are screaming to be ported over to other platforms. This makes the porting process easier for me because I already have all the assets and design done for me. So I can concentrate on building the infrastructure of my multi platform strategy. Once I have better understanding on going multi platform, I can resume creating new games
Now as an ad-driven enterprise I can understand why Elbert would feel low this time of the year. Revenue from ads take an extremely deep dip in the first half of the year, after being extremely high at the end of the year, making this period pretty demoralizing. He is of course right that having an in-app purchasing element would remove control of his revenue from random advertising budgets to himself and his users, and this is an issue Microsoft does need to address urgently. The reduced ad revenue however is pretty cyclical, and will average out over the course of a year.
While Elbert plans to spend his time porting his existing games to other platforms, he will be taking his eye off the ball right at the time when the Windows Phone ecosystem itself is getting a great boost with expansion of devices into numerous new markets. This should be the time he consolidates his brand on the Windows Phone 7 marketplace, rather than letting others come in and take his crown.
And lastly of course, there is very little guarantee of a return on investment taking his games to more developed and even more crowded application stores. If he felt Windows Phone Marketplace was getting crowded with 70,000 apps, I wonder how he will deal with 400 and 550,000 competitors on Android and iOS.
Of course Elbert has been nothing if not transparent, and we look forward to seeing how his venture turns out, and of course wish him the best of luck personally.
1800PocketPC has just noticed that Zombies!!! may be one of the first Windows Phone 7 games with downloadable content.
Xbox360Achievements.org lists the game as offering an expansion pack which will add 50 more gamer points and 5 new achievements, listed above.
1800Pocketpc expects the DLC to arrive in the next few months. Hopefully this means Microsoft is close to solving the in-app purchasing issue for developers, a major source of revenue on other platforms.
On Windows Phone 7 we never really had to suffer Microsoft Points, but of course anyone buying music using the Zune desktop client would be all to familiar with the hassle, not to mention anyone playing an Xbox console game.
Microsoft Points are however set to return with a vengeance to Windows Phone 7, in the form of in-app purchases, which have become one of the primary methods developers monetize games and apps on other platforms. This brings with it of course the added complication of not knowing exactly how much it costs to buy that special power or chain mail etc.
Now a rumour by Inside Mobile Apps, quoting a "source with knowledge of the company’s decision", claims the whole Points system is set to be scrapped by the end of 2012, with Microsoft only taking the time to inform developers.
Overall it is great news for consumer transparency, and will hopefully mean the end of having to load up your account with $5 just to buy something for $0.99, not to mention having points left over you cant spend in the end. With the advent of operator billing the excuse of needing a credit card otherwise also goes away.
Does anyone love MS Points and will mourn their passing? Let us know below.
It is not news that A Bugs Village is coming to Windows Phone, or that it will feature in-app purchasing. That much was revealed in a press release by Glu Mobile as far back as August this year.
Today however WPCentral claims that this important feature will not just be confined to this Xbox Live game, as it was with Birds and Beaks, but will â€œdefined the paid DLC tech for everyone elseâ€.
Hopefully â€œeveryone elseâ€ includes normal 3rd party developers, currently already disadvantaged by the high profile of Xbox Live games, and who at present can not take advantage of in-app purchasing.
In-App purchasing allows developers to create free games, who tend to sell much better than paid-for games, and then generate revenue by unlocking features or providing downloadable content to the existing installed base, allowing developers to generate revenue from people who downloaded their apps some time ago.
The feature it not particularly popular with users, but has found a huge following with developers on the iOS and Android platform, where up to 60% of revenue is generated by in-app purchasing.
Have any developers heard that official in-app purchasing is coming to Marketplace? Let us know below.
We have seen numerous surveys saying the app market is increasingly moving to advertising and in-app purchasing to generate revenue.
UnfortunatelyÂ Microsoft does not have a built-in service for in-app purchasing, but there are 3rd party services which provides the facility, such as Linxter, demoed in the video above.
In the video Jason Milgram, CEO at Linxter Inc, talks about integrating in-app purchasing in Windows Phone apps to increase monetization.
Read more about the service at Linxter here.
According to a report by Strategic Analytics, developer interest in the iPhone App store is waning in preference for iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
â€œThe app market is already maturing. Developers are tired of a few making the lionâ€™s share of revenue. Thus, we see strong interest in fresh, emerging platforms and new business modelsâ€¦â€ said Josh Martin, Director of Apps Research at Strategy Analytics.
According to their research the Windows Phone 7 market will grow 167% in developer support, while the iPhone App store will shrink by 26% and Blackberry by 80%.
He notes however that developers are increasingly turning to new and multiple streams of making money, including in-app advertising and virtual goods.
â€œThe platform that best delivers revenue from multiple streams stands the best chance of success in the next eighteen months. For this reason, Strategy Analytics predicts that Apple will introduce carrier billing in emerging markets next year, which will extend the lead it has built in mature regions.â€
Windows Phone 7 does not as yet support in-app purchasing, but already supports carrier billing in a number of regions, and with Nokiaâ€™s help will support it in many more. In-App purchasing is also coming slowly, and has been demonstrated in two Xbox Live games so far. If Microsoft rolls this out to regular developers it should attract many more developers to the platform, and should be one of Microsoftâ€™s priorities for the new year.
Apple has applied for a patent for in-app purchasing. The technique and method for purchasing content while inside an application is summarized as such:
The present technology provides a purchasing interface within an application that allows users to purchase a product from another source without leaving the application. The application offers a product for purchase, and a user, desiring to purchase the product can provide an input effective to cause a purchasing interface to be displayed. While the purchasing interface, or information presented therein, comes from the product source, which is different than the application source, it is presented in such a fashion that gives the impression to the user that they are purchasing the product directly from the application.
The patent would place it at odds with Lodsys, who already has a patent for in-app purchasing which Apple licenses.
In-app purchasing is becoming an increasingly important source of revenue for developers trying to monetise their free applications, and does not yet have a real presence on Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has recently released a game, Beards and Beaks, which does use Xbox Live credits, and may be a work-around for the Lodsys patents, but this has not been rolled out to regular developers yet.
According to Berg Insight In-App purchasing generated 300 million euros last year, will grow to â‚¬750 million this year, and hit â‚¬3.5 billion in 2015, so it is certainly an area which Microsoft also needs to address urgently.
Microsoftâ€™s goal to be the 3rd ecosystem has received another endorsement from analysts today, with Berg Insight predicting the OS will rise to take the 3rd position in terms of revenue generated by Apps by 2015.
|iPhone||Android||Windows Phone + other|
In $ (billion)
Their report, The Mobile Applications Market, predicts 98 billion apps will be downloaded annually by 2015, with operating systems other than iPhone and Android accounting for 38% of downloads, placing Windows Phone in 3rd position.
Senior analyst at Berg Insight,Johan Svanberg, notes free apps will increasingly make up the bulk of these, and that inApp purchasing and ads will be the significant source of revenue, an area which Microsoft has not yet addressed for developers on the Windows Phone platform yet.
The IDC has predicted Windows Phone will overtake the iPhone in 2015 to be the second biggest platform by unit sales, and it is likely app sales will follow this eventually.
Read more at Silicon.com here.
A Bug Village on the iPhone
Press Release: Glu Mobile Inc,Â a leading global publisher of Social Mobile games for smartphone and tablet devices, today announced that Bug Village will be available on Windows Phone 7. Glu’s leading family friendly game with more than 3.7 million downloads on iOS and Android devices to date, Bug Village for Windows Phone 7 will be showcased in the Microsoft booth during Gamescom 2011 inÂ Cologne, Germany,Â August 17Â â€“ 21. Bug Village is the first third party freemium title on WP7 to leverage in-app purchasing.
“We are pleased with the popularity of Bug Village among casual Social Mobile gamers and Windows Phone 7 provides yet another mobile platform on which to grow Glu’s global audience,” said Glu CEOÂ Niccolo de Masi.
Bug Village on Windows Phone 7 will support English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese.
For more information on Bug Village please visitÂ glu.com/game/bug-village.
Beards and Beaks launched with an in-app purchasing system using Microsoft points to buy levels, giving hope to developers that this will be extended to 3rd party games and apps.
While a much wanted featured, it is no real surprise it did not make it to Windows Phone 7.Â In App Purchasing is currently subject to a patent held by Lodsys, who is currently litigating against high profile developers using it on the iPhone platform.Â We expect there is still a lot of negotiation and licensing which needs to take place before this feature could be rolled out to regular developers.
We have seen a number of services offering in-app purchasing for Windows Phone 7 using services like Paypal, but it seems an official version may eventually be coming to Windows Phone 7.
First we have this video from the Portland Code Camp on developers monetizing applications where Kelly White notes that in-app purchasing is on the way, and next we have an agenda item in Microsoftâ€™s Gamefest developer sessions talking about downloadable content and microtransactions.
Keep Them Coming Back: Downloadable Content on Windows Phone
Speakers: Darryl Yust and Tim Gill
Come learn proven approaches for dealing with some of the toughest hurdles in adding downloadable content and microtransactions to your Windows Phone games! This talk introduces the new in-game purchase API for Xbox LIVE titles on Windows Phone. We’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of how the API is used in Beards & Beaks, a shipped game title. Weâ€™ll delve into a sample code framework that helps you implement game-side functionality not included in the SDK library, including the handling of file transfers, tombstoning, serialization, offline scenarios, localization, content ingestion, and fast content iteration.
Micro-transactions are somewhat controversial at present with Lodsys currently suing developers to extract royalties for the use of the feature. They are however widely used by developers on other platforms to monetize free applications.
The wording however suggests this may be an exclusive Xbox Live feature, which may make indie developers feel even more like second class citizens.