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GDC 2011: Microsoft under strong pressure to release native SDK for Windows Phone 7

GDC 2011: Microsoft under strong pressure to release native SDK for Windows Phone 7
Microsoft's decision - more political than technical - to restrict Windows Phone 7 developers to its C# managed code platform is coming under increasing pressure.

Many game developers we spoke to at GDC 2011 have told Microsoft - apparently in no uncertain terms - the main issue for them creating content for the platform is its restriction on native C/C++ code.

Enabling this would make it much easier to port existing games to Windows Phone 7, as well as allowing developers to build out cross platform tools to handle projects across iOS, Android, Windows Phone and 3/DS, PSP, NGP and other consoles.

Show me the C++

Indeed, what's really annoying developers is that Microsoft does have a native C/C++ SDK for Windows Phone 7. It's not yet available either for tool makers or game developers, as the company wants to maintain constancy across its XNA C# framework for PC, Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7.

However, rumours are mounting that Microsoft will first release this SDK for middleware companies such as Unity, Epic, Havok and Trinigy et al so that developers using such game engines can gain access to the full performance of Windows Phone 7 hardware.

Of course, once this happens, the expectation is that favoured developers will also gain access to the native SDK prior to a more general rollout.

And with Microsoft's new strategic partnership with Nokia making a switch in internal policy more palatable, that decision - especially for game developers - can't come soon enough.

editor-at-large

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.

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