Microsoft taps Unity, Marmalade, and Havok to help developers port Android and iOS games to Windows Phone

Microsoft taps Unity, Marmalade, and Havok to help developers port Android and iOS games to Windows Phone ...

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on Wednesday, Microsoft has been trying to woo game developers into porting their existing Android and iOS games to Windows Phone. To further this end, the company has underlined what Unity, Marmalade, and Havok are showing off at GDC.

Here’s what the three game engine companies have been showing off:

  • Unity announced the Unity 4 open beta for Windows Phone 8, which lets developers try the new tools, provide feedback, and begin Windows Phone 8 game development. Popular titles built on the new platform and available in the Windows Phone Store already include Drift Mania Championship 2 (Ratrod Studio), Windows Phone-exclusive Fling Theory (Coding Jar Studios), and Orcs Must Survive (Echoboom). Temple Run is supposedly coming soon.
  • Marmalade released a new beta of its Windows Phone 8 SDK and announced the first two games ported from Android and iOS: 6th Planet (Monkube) and Propel Man (Spiel Studio).
  • Havok doesn’t have a new announcement, but it has been showing “striking graphics demos” and talking up Microsoft’s platform. “At Havok, we are all about enabling immersive 3-D worlds, highly realistic and interactive character simulation, and cinematic visuals,” Andrew Bowell, Head of Product Management at Havok, said in a statement. “The Windows Phone 8 platform provides the access Havok needs to really optimize down to the metal and to allow developers to create rich content and enhanced gameplay experience.”

Microsoft also underlined that the Cocos2d-x community, the makers of the popular cross platform open source 2D game engine for mobile developers, released a new version of Cocos2d-x for Windows Phone 8 aligned with the Cocos2d-x v2.1 API, while PowerA today announced Windows Phone support for its MOGA controllers designed specifically for mobile devices. The new MOGA SDK for Windows Phone will be available “soon” but no release date has been given.

Microsoft has a ton of experience in wooing developers, and it has to pull out the big guns if it’s going to grab third place in the mobile world. Statements like this certainly help:

Window Phone 8 unlocks a world-class game developer platform with support for native code, which enables porting of existing games quickly – in some instances in as little as a few days from iOS and Android. And, with the convergence of the Windows Phone and Windows gaming platform enabled through a shared Windows core, developers are telling us they can reuse over 90% of the same code to deliver games to a global device market.

As important, Windows Phone customers enjoy gaming with over one-third of all app downloads and 60% of Windows Phone Store revenue originating from games. In fact, almost half of the top 50 Windows Phone developers create games for the platform.

While those figures are certainly positive, it’s still not enough. Microsoft has a long way to go if it’s going to ensure developers build games for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone all at once.

See also – Nokia CEO: There are now 130,000 apps available for Windows Phone and Microsoft says Windows Phone 8 increased app submissions by 40%, to keep full staff on for holidays

Top Image Credit: M. A. Makky

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