What is stopping Xbox Live Indie developers from porting their games to WP7?

WP7Connect have interviewed some developers of Xbox Live Indie games and found some were porting their apps to Windows Phone 7 and some saw barriers to bringing their games to the platform.

The developer of The Spirit of Khon, Ep1  complained of the lack of custom shaders, saying:

imageJason: We are not sure, BUT probably not.

Jason: This is due to the game’s reliance on custom shaders to achieve the visual effects. WP7 does not currently let you have custom rendering shaders.

Jason: However our engine is designed to work on WP7 so it’s not out of the question.

The developer of Raventhorne complained of the lack of hardware buttons and revenue-generating issues, saying

imageAejandro: Hi MBGW. We don’t have plans on porting Raventhorne to WP7 anytime soon, although it wouldn’t be that hard to port the visuals…

Aeljandro:..The gameplay would have to be completely reworked to fit on a touch screen. It uses too many buttons right now.

Aeljandro: Yeah. BUT. Anyway, for now it seems the only way to get revenue on WP7 is to be Xbox LIVE branded or to use ad-supported free apps, and the second method cannot be paid yet on non-US countries. We’ve yet to be paid for our game Epic 7 Free.

The developer of Pajamorama complained of lack of real time multi-playing, something that will hopefully improve on Mango.

imageDan: Hi Matt! Thanks for your interest in Pajamorama. Yeah, I’d love to get Pajamorama and my other game Opposites on Windows Phone 7.

Dan: Unfortunately, they are pretty weak single player experiences, and the online multiplayerpart of the XNA game studio was taken out of the WP7 SDK.

Dan: Yes, BUT not only that. I’d have to become a Microsoft approved developer or something, I’m not sure how to get access to that functionality :(

The SpeedRunner developer had a different complaint.

imageCasper: Hi MBGW Thanks for your interest in our game. BUT We’re not sure about bringing Speedrunner to mobile phones, such as WP7, or iDevices for that matter.

Casper: Yes, porting is quite easy, technically… However, translating the gameplay to such a small device can be a bit tricky, especially input-wise.

So the objections are about as one would expect, but also remains issues which Microsoft needs to address if they want to make the most of the compatibility between their Xbox and Windows Phone 7 platform. Many developers are for example still calling for custom shaders, and support for accessories such as game pads could bring in a while new set of developers.

Read more at WP7Connect here.

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