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What you can do to help get game makers on board with Windows Phone

Popular mobile games often take a long time to arrive on Windows Phone - if they ever make the trip at all. Last year I wrote an editorial explaining the delay in porting games to Windows Phone and the market situations that make such delays inevitable. To make a long story short, bringing games from iOS and Android to Windows Phone at the same time as the lead version often doesn’t make financial sense for the publisher… Not that we have to like it.

In fact, one of our dedicated readers doesn’t care to wait-and-see whether popular games like Candy Crush Saga will make it to Windows Phone at all. Tjecco been running a forum thread dedicated to contacting mobile developers about support for Microsoft’s mobile OS for a while now. With the help of other fine readers, he continues to reach out to developers and update the thread with their responses. Find out which developers have recently confirmed Windows Phone support (and what you can do to help) after the break!

Developers to contact

Clash of Clans

Tjecco has done the legwork to find contact information for the following developers and publishers. Companies with an asterisk have published at least one Windows Phone game in the past.

  • 2D BOY (World of Goo)
  • BulkyPIX (Hysteria Project 2, Undead Soccer, Goblins Rush)
  • Crescent Moon Games (Paper Monsters, Monkey Boxing, and more)
  • Fireproof Games (The Room)
  • Gamevil (Cartoon Wars, Punch Hero, Zenonia, and many more)
  • Glu (Eternity Warriors, Deer Hunter, Zombies Ate My Friends, and many more)*
  • GoodTeam - (Empire Defense, Farm Bubble, Diamond Miner)
  • Ironhide Game Studio (Kingdom Rush, Clash of the Olympians)
  • Kabam (The Hobbit: Kingdoms, Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle, Arcane Empires)
  • Kiloo (Frisbee Forever)
  • King.com (Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga)
  • Ludia Games - (Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Jurassic Park Builder, Family Feud & Friends)
  • MADFINGER Games (Dead Trigger, Samurai II: Vengeance, Shadowgun)
  • Mobage (MARVEL War of Heroes, Transformers Legends, Tiny Tower, and many more)
  • PopCap (Plants vs. Zombies 2, Peggle, Bejeweled Blitz)*
  • PlayFirst, Inc (Diner Dash, Cooking Dash)
  • Reliance Games (Real Steel, Ninja Strike, Paper Dash)*
  • Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Max Payne Mobile)*
  • SNK PLAYMORE (King of Fighters, Metal Slug series)
  • Supercell (Clash of Clans)
  • Trickster Arts (Hero of Many)
  • ZeptoLab (Cut the Rope 2, Pudding Monsters)*
  • and many more!

See the first page of our forum thread for each studio's email address and contact page.

Ups and downs: Developer responses

Bravura Quest Rush is reportedly coming to Windows Phone!

Emailing developers about supporting Windows Phone out of the blue has a few drawbacks, but also one big advantage. Sometimes you receive encouraging news for your trouble!  Our forum thread users report that these developers have said yay to Windows Phone support:

  • Digital Tales, Italian makers of beautiful casual action-RPG Bravura Quest Rush have started porting it to Windows Phone.
  • Dirtybit, makers of multiplayer racing game Fun Run says, “We are looking into the possibilities of developing Fun Run for Windows Phone.” Better than a no!
  • Milkcap, creators of whimsical action game Tiki Monkeys will be bringing it to Windows Phone soon.
  • Fluik Games, who publish a variety of casual games like Grumpy Bears and Office Zombie, says they have a Windows Phone title in development.

It’s great to have all of those guys on board. You can bet we’ll be following up with each developer directly in the near future!

On the other hand, readers have received negative responses from Telltale Games (The Walking Dead and Fables), King.com, Halfbrick (who at least gave us Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja), Madfinger, and Supercell. But even those holdouts could come around eventually…

Developer resistance

Transformers Legends (image courtesy of Kotaku)

Again, emailing companies about gaming-related issues can be hit or miss. Many of you probably remember our efforts to get Microsoft back onboard with Xbox Windows Phone last year. Microsoft never answered anybody and seemed unaffected by gamer requests and complaints. Then again, they are rumored to be working on relaxing the Xbox Windows Phone certification requirements. Maybe they did end up hearing us after all.

In my travels to various gaming events, I’ve spoken to numerous non-Windows Phone app and game developers. Their number one concern with supporting Windows Phone is market share. Even as the share continues to grow, many game makers look at the numbers and find them too small to consider. They could just developer a new game or app on the leading two platforms, each of which has a much larger addressable market. That challenge will continue to hold Windows Phone software support back for some time to come.

Still, another perspective tells us that it’s easier to get a game noticed in a smaller market than the massive iOS market. Windows Phone gamers are hungry for titles, and the games we want are often unavailable. Why not try being a big fish in a small pond instead of a small fish in a big pond? Developers can also count Windows Phone Central to cover their quality games, whereas they might not even get noticed by an iOS-specific site.

Can we really make a difference?

Zenonia 4

You might be wondering how likely a developer or publisher is to listen to user requests for Windows Phone ports of their games. In truth, it all depends on the company’s size and workload. A studio with four employees and few active projects could be swayed by (let’s say) fifty emails… Especially if their games use the Unity Engine, a multiplatform engine which makes porting to Windows Phone relatively easy.

A larger company like Zeptolab, though? We’d all like to see them bring Cut the Rope 2 over. You have to wonder what’s the holdup, given the apparent success of their two previous releases on Windows Phone. But 50 emails is just a drop in the pond to Zeptolab and many of the developers I listed at the start of this article. It would take something like a thousand emails (just an estimate) to show the big guys that there is significant demand for their games on our platform. Yes, you have to speak up a lot when communicating with a giant!

You can bet that many Windows Phone gamers (even those poor souls who don’t read our site) reach out to Supercell, King.com, and Mobage asking for Windows Phone games. We just need a lot more players to chime in with the same requests. That’s why you should sign up for our forums if you haven’t already and join the fight in Tjecco’s thread. It doesn’t take much effort to write a polite email, and you never know what good news you’ll receive for your troubles.

Mobile Equality

Perhaps Twitter is more your thing than email. The user-run Twitter account @MobileEquality is dedicated to encouraging developers to support Windows Phone as well. You can follow that account and use the hashtag #MobileEquality in your tweets to developers. Just don't start adding the tag to all your comments here - this ain't Twitter.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

126 Comments
  • Wow, Paul, this article is great!!!! Congrats my friend!!!
  • Congrats?
  • Guys this was created two months ago, I hope WP Central could help us on this. http://WPapps.uservoice.com
  • Very good and imp article.
  • We should make them realise how good windows phone is and how lag free it is.
  • Yeah the emerging platform. But i have a doubt. How well games on Xbox consoles and pcs are launched. Y not for wp then. We ppl as customers of nokia and Microsoft can do write emails to them requesting for the games we want. But we want Microsoft's help in launching such games as they will have better contacts then us to directly reach them. We know Microsoft has influencing contacts. They should sit down and contact the developers themselves
  • "Good" (which is relative, their opinion might be that WP is shit) and "lag-free" won't move a developer to the OS.
  • speaking of lag free, anyone else started having lag issues with subway surfers on NL920 after the latest update?
  • I've kind of always had lag issues with SS but it seems random. Like one game will be completely fine then the next run will have a lag spike out of no where.
  • mine always starts around the tunnel, or when you hit a magnet and a stretnch with coins in all the lines
  • A good read.
  • Well written
  • Thanks everybody!
  • Just a small typo - Rockstar games "Max" Payne...
  • Good catch - fixed.
  • Facepalm*... Bloody typo Nazis.... U know what he means.
  • We always appreciate constructive criticism. It's only rude or useless feedback that we don't need.
  • I've wondered for ages whether someone should set up a "WP app campaign" site. Users would suggest existing apps that haven't appeared on WP, and everyone would vote on which they most want to see. Then each week, the app with the highest vote (and that hasn't already been picked) is picked as "app campaign of the week" and all the users of the site are encouraged to contact the publisher and ask them for a WP version of the app. Perhaps when faced with a flood of interest, some publishers might be more willing to consider it. Anyone fancy setting this up? :-)
  • Someone set up a twitter account, @MobileEquality, that is doing something similar
  • I'd sign up now!
  • This is a good idea.  That way there isn't a bunch of people shotgunning all over the place.
  • I suggested something similar a while back on the forums. I think it's a great idea, and it's also a way for WP developers to see what the users want. So if Rudy, Daniel, etc are looking for a new 3rd party app to work on it could be something we all really want to see.
  • Great idea!
  • Already did that, I hope WP Central could help us on this. http://WPapps.uservoice.com
  • Thank u for bringing this up paul.
    already contacting developer like com2us, game insight and gamevil.
    i especially like inotia and zenonia series.
    i guess it can be a great on windows phone since not many action rpg on windows phone.
    com2us already replied said that considering a lot releasing for windows phone.
    hope really2 come true.
    sorry if my english unfluent
  • When is candy crush saga coming to wp ? Need some clarity.
  • Judging by the article, it's not.
  • There are actually rumors that it might be announced within the next 6 weeks, but nothing official.
  • Haven't seen anyone of my FB friends play it in a while now, so it will probably be on WP soon. :P
  • I salute @Tjecco
  • Thanks
  • Does anyone wishes to have a moment cam app ? The developer never responds.
  • If it is easier to port games that use the Unity engine, perhaps you should highlight which devs are using it so that efforts can be focused on that low hanging fruit.  
  • I agree with the statement "big fish in a small pond, instead of small fish in a big pond"
  • #MobileEquality
  • One other reader here, Coip, also has a similar effort and a similar thread, I think he is focused more on Xbox certification and Xbox achievements for games. Him and Tjecco should combine efforts, granted getting developers to join the platform takes precedence over xbox certification
  • Not only that, but he is also the guy who started the #MobileEquality movement too (check it out here: it's all about making it known to developers that Windows Phone is a platform too and craves their apps), but handed the reigns over to another awesome reader so that he could continue his focus on #SaveXboxWP (details here) which, coincidentally, is also about bringing more games to Windows Phone, albeit more awesome games with Xbox integration--which would be an easy process available to all the developers listed in the article above if the movement achieves its goals of cajoling Microsoft into relaxing the certification process and implementing the ID(at)Xbox program.
  • I didn't know you started that. Cool!
  • days ago, the developers of punch quest (http://www.punchquest.com/) i contact to question is interest for porting the game on WP8 and get the answer http://i.imgur.com/VOv5ZFI.png
  • That's sad, I'll update the forum with their details, we'll keep nagging
  • Great... Contacted all of them and already posted the replies on the forum.Telltale no good news , but majority of other developers are indeed bringing their games over to wp
  • Telltale doesn't make mobile games even for Android, so I think there's no hope at all to WP. They just develop their games to iOS :/
  • I bet they only develop for ios cause they know that ios users tend to spend more than android user, and we just learnt that WP user spend more than android users as well, so we need to point that out to the developers,
  • Great article. Of the list in it, I've personally only played the King.com games and Bejeweled Blitz, but it would be a huge win for WP and all of us users if all of these games came over.
  • Fight club! Wp is a really nice os. I think time will put us in the right place!!!
  • a nice article, but I want Real Racing 3.
  • Help us get the game then, post in the forum, I'll update the list and lets all request the game, force them to listen to us
  • First we have to catch up with the trending games on other operating systems. WP has a small marker share in the world. So first we have to catch up the games that trend on ios. I know that isn't good but reflects windows phone store image. So first catching up with trending games and when after few years we gain a decent market share then revolution of kinect games on windows phones .
  • We do have the number 1 game on Ios on windows phone, Bridge Constructor.
  • They can talk marketshare whatever they want...Windows 8 has more marketshare than any MacOS ever released and many apps aren't there in the Windows store.
  • i have been tweeting developers with hashtag #mobileequality for a while.....
  • Real racing 3 in my Lumia 1520... Lol....
  • Many of the game developers that wont develop on WP are hypocritacal.  They forget when iOS and Android numbers were low and they developed for them anyway.  Now with a new emerging platform, they have gotten too big for their britches and lazy.  Taking the easy road instead of being the pioneers they used to be.  Poo on them and cheers to the new breed of developers willing to take risks with a new platform and audience.
  • I want Dr Driving to come to WP and Subway surfer for 512 mb ram devices..
  • Lets talk about big games and new games that should come to wp. Forget Ss now. Play minion rush or rail rush
  • Well there's a pirated version of subway surfers in the store for 512 mb ram devices: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/subway-surfers/debb2f8e-7b9a...
  • I have seen this one.but is it alright to download?Actually heard that it is a scam and the developer is getting our privacy data through it. Not sure about this though.. 
  • In that case, you may consider installing the original game (patched for 512mb ram) from here: http://windowsphonehub.in/games/wp8-subway-surfers-v1-16-0-0-windows-pho... I installed mine from there but you need a developer unlocked phone (normal or student unlocked) and a developer account to sideload the app. I still don't see how come MSFT approved the above game in the store with the original name... o_O
  • just point out that windows phone makes more money per device than google why? piracy... a vast majority of android users dont buy apps... they just download and sideload for example... when i was android i never bought a single paid app... and none of my friends that are still android pay for anything.... then you can limit access to internet so the developer is getting doubly screwed over a closed os brings in more revenue because it forces the user to support app development.... apple is a great example plus, windowsphone users are very supportive of developers... as long as the app is nice we will pay for it... we do prefer free to play with games though this comment may sound douchish but if a developer doesnt want to officially support wp then fuq em... we will find a way or... in my case, boycott
  • I see your point, but imagine even if 25% (actually more) of all Android users use Google Play apps, its still greater than the 100% of Windows Phone users that use Store apps... Sure, a closed app system helps both developers and the ecosystem itself for growth and I personally agree about WP's user support for the platform. But at the same time, nothing much can be done unless we have a good marketshare, WP is not BlackBerry.
  • You forgot the others guy effort, spamming articles with a link to a fairly demanding thread.
  • Wouldn't it be in Microsoft's best interest to lend a hand in porting the popular titles over. Weather it takes financial support or offering to get it done themselves.
  • Yes, and Microsoft already funds/encourages ports of some popular games and apps. Just not nearly enough.
  • Candy Crush?.? King Bully, no thanks.
  • Frozen free fall is there we need to promote that game. And its better than candy crush
  • I think the social aspect of these popular titles is ignored when suggesting alternatives. Frozen Free Fall is a great game. But does it have a Facebook app that your mom, wife, brother or whomever can use to play with against their friends? Candy Crush does and that is one of the huge selling points right there
  • Excellent point.
  • And windows phone users can't install apps for free
  • Can you please elaborate a little bit better?
  • I think he meant we cannot sideload cracked apps like android
  • No that isn't actually true. You can sideload XAP(s) using Deployer or Windows Phone Power tools if you've a developer unlocked phone and a dev. account...
  • Ok, but in others you can sideload CRACKED apps for free even if you are not a developer, me I have never tried to sideload an app in windows coz I am not a developer, but I have sideloaded lots of apps in the other OS.
  • Well that's true. Unlocking a phone in WP is somehow similar to Jailbreak in other OS, only that security holes are not created here. You do realize WP is the most secure OS only because it resists entries of foreign malicious codes unlike 'other' OS. Just create a dev account even if you're not, to sideload apps as my friends did. Student developer account is absolutely free of cost and can be created easily using Microsoft Dreamspark...
  • Windows Phone cannot install paid apps for free. That's a feature, IMHO.
  • So if market share is the problem, none of these games should be coming out on Blackberry, Tizen, or Firefox devices before WP.
  • Blackberry is just not popular anymore. Tizen and Firefox devices are scarce in main markets.
  • That's my point, if they came to any of those platforms first, then market share obviously isn't the main reason why they don't develop for WP.
  • It's the main reason they don't do it on their own. Getting paid by Blackberry, Microsoft, or whomever eliminates or mitigates concerns about the size of a platform's user base. But no platform holder can afford to just pay every developer to port every game or app.
  • Porting from Android to Blackberry is super super easy, I hear. But those platform holders pay and make deals with developers to port apps and games just like Microsoft does; the idea to port doesn't always come from the developer.
  • Someone is bribing the game developers not to make it for wp. If a developer makes a game he will make his game to run on every platform.
  • it's probably a new Chitauri plot!   sigh...........
  • Don't forget Farm Heroes Saga.. it literally just came out and a lot of people are playing it O.o
  • Unifying windows and windows phone is imp for getting games easily
  • I cannot believe you guys are encouraging the spamming of developers...
  • Groan... Spamming? Encouraging?  Spam is YOU trying to sell SOMEONE ELSE YOUR PRODUCT, not asking for one. Learn the difference. By your definition, contacting your representative in Congress is "spamming". Lame. I have never heard of a company that was like "no, don't send us your feedback or tell us what you want". Most setup a direct contact for that sole purpose. Make use of it. Or not.
  • Except Facebook and Amazon.  No direct contacts there.
  • Daniel, I get what you're doing I'm sure it sounds like a good idea, but to people on the receiving end it isn't anything more than an annoyance. Contact your congressperson is a completely different thing, they're elected to serve you...period. People in this business, well, they're in the business of making money. Do you honestly think it would change their mind to develop for WP if they had little little ROI? Literally, the only thing that happens is you have a core community reach out (a few thousand users) while the actual userbase remains too low to invest in. It's kinda like how the crackberry faithful ''voiced their concerns'' with T-Mobile. Them, along w/ the Blackberry CEO...all they did was annoy Legere. I mean, after the campaign was over, they essentially released a statement saying "hey...94% of people down want blackberrys, chill out and shut up". How often do you see a carrier state how many users jumped ship from platform A to platform B after promotions like this? So yes, I understand what the goal is, but unless things change in terms of sales and/or featureset of WP (can't wait until next month) most people are just going to see this as a huge jump of emails/contacts, that won't change plans that they have for development, that immediately fall off.
  • If I was a developer I would want my game/app in all devices to get more fame/money why would I only develope for just one platform? It's not smart.
  • Porting takes time and money, which might not be recouped due to the smaller market share
  • Not just games . But apps too . VSCO still don't want to get onboard , dammit !
  • Thanks God I'm not a fan of games. Anyway I would like to see all those windows phone game fans playing the games they like!!! Good luck!
  • What about apps?
  • Of course I wanna see apps in windows phone. I have some friends who want to switch to windows phone because for some reason they like it but when trying to talk them into doing it the excuses they make are about lack of apps!!
  • One of the most important articles for the future of Windows Phone that I've read this year. We must admit that Microsoft have been sloppy and shortsighted when it comes to Windows Phone games, but there's still time to make things right. We need users support but also a steady hand from Microsoft themselves.
  • Where's Dead Space ?
  • It appears to have been quietly cancelled.
  • The MobileEquality got Flappy Bird on board...until the guy removed it from everywhere.
  • When I saw the photo before reading the title, I thought Candy Crush was coming to WP.
  • Me too
  • Please add CAVE to the list of developers to contact, they released Dodonpachi Maximum but since forgot about WP, not even updating said game to function on WP8.
     
  • Can you post the request in the forum please, I'll update the list and contact them
  • I want PvZ 2!!
  • You and me both
  • Just bring all the famous apps and games to windows phone!
  • With the increase in WP sales once WP 8.1 is out, i'm sure all the developers will bring their games to WP. Tjecco has been doing a good deed, really appreciate all he has done. At the moment majority of the users would like Candy Crush Saga to get ported over to Windows Phone I guess..
  • Yip candy crush is top of the list,
  • Oh TellTale refused, did they? It's probably because of a lack of money. 
  • If deemo and Cyrus comes to wp8 I will definitely buy it! Altough I bought them in android already
  • all i really want is family feud, i will get started on my campaign to get it now
  • You know who should be on this list? Microsoft Games. You think they would commit to at least four Windows Phone games a year. I want mobile games if Gears of War, Mark of the Ninja, and Viva Piñata. Heck, there should be a whole series of Viva Piñata games.
  • I too e-mailed many developers goodteam studios replied they are porting empire defense 2 to wp:)
  • Could someone just make a tiny bot-net army of say 10,000 to generate and send unique email requests to developers over the course of a few months? Just start with a trickle of requests then build it up slowly over time. :)