Home   >   Features

5 tips for launching your mobile game on Windows 10

Jae Chan Shin on going cross-platform
5 tips for launching your mobile game on Windows 10

Jae Chan Shin is CEO of Korean mobile game developer InnoSpark.

In 2015, InnoSpark launched Windows 10 iterations of our two mobile titles Dragon Friends and Hero Sky.

Potentially, Windows 10 has a user base which runs into 200 million and it is already showing a big increase in downloads, particularly in North America and Europe.

For developers, it offers the prospect of multi-screen games working on multiple devices.

Think first

While Windows 10's multi-platform functionality is exciting, it does present some challenges.

None of them are insurmountable but they do require a degree of forethought and forward planning.

Here are five lessons we learnt during the Windows 10 development of our games.

#1: Optimizing game UX for Windows 10 environment

The majority of Windows 10 users will be PC users and the PC environment is totally different from the mobile space.

Therefore a straight port is out of the question, especially in terms of game UX.

As PCs have various screen resolutions, larger screen size and keyboard/mouse options, developers should preplan flexible HUD layout and size.

Also, they should bear in mind that a PC screen enables players to manipulate window size and layout during gameplay.

Windows 10 version of <em>Hero Sky</em> running in split screen on PC
Windows 10 version of Hero Sky running in split screen on PC

Players will expect to switch windows, minimise them and move them, and the Windows 10 version of the game needs to accommodate this playing style.

PC players often use split screens which mobile interfaces will not facilitate. To counteract this, we rigorously tested the UI size and ratio adjustments so that it would run smoothly even in split screen mode on PC.

#2: Legacy code and porting resources

If the game is built with C++ or C# code and has resources developed for previous Windows versions (Windows 8 and under) it is not too difficult to launch a Windows 10 version of the game apart from modifying it to call in the Windows API.

However, the new asynchronized API introduced since Windows 8 operates in a different manner than the API for other platforms, and so might require some major changes in OS to call in API.

If the game has been developed with a Unity3D game engine, adjusting a few settings will make it compatible on Windows 10.

As mentioned later, however, Windows 10 Store requires complex app store resources such as icons and live tiles, as well as .NET native precompilation technology, which can create some issues for Unity3D and Visual Studio.

Unity3D and Visual Studio are not really designed to support the Windows 10 environment, and developers might have to resort to some 'dirty hacks' in order to resolve issues in the development tools.

On a positive note, Windows 10 support of Unity3D engine is quickly improving and as our own launches demonstrate Windows 10 games can be created using these two development tools.

#3: Testing different form factors

One of Windows 10’s prominent features is that it operates on a variety of devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones.

As a consequence of this functionality across a wide range of devices, games for Windows 10 require meticulous device testing.

Developers should also be aware that the Window 10 operating system for desktop/tablets differs in many ways from the Windows 10 operating system for mobile devices.

For smaller indie developers, we recommend testing Windows 10 games on desktop PCs first and then try it on as many other available devices as possible.

#4: App market resources

Windows 10 Store requires some special app markets resources which include various types of app icons - some of which are mandatory and some which are not. Make sure you read the guidelines carefully.

Windows 10 Store also has Live Tiles. These are a great way to get your game noticed by users and can play a key role in a games visibility and success in the Store.

<em>Dragon Friends</em> featured through Live Tile in Windows 10 Store
Dragon Friends featured through Live Tile in Windows 10 Store

Live Tile resources must be prepared in advance.

Bear in mind that meta data such as game description and screen shots cannot be changed after the market review is complete, just like the Google Play Store.

However, the market review process is relatively quick and if changes need to be made you can simply change the relevant meta data and submit for review without any other client updates.

We found the reviews process took just a few days.

#5: App certification before actual game launch

App Certification for Window 10 Store is slightly different than other app stores.

In the case of IAP certification, games need to support Microsoft’s own certification system. It is worth conducting a few compatibility tests with Microsoft’s transaction approval server as the XML data for transactions receipts may be received in a random form out of many.

In Windows 10 Store, the age rating process used to have region specific guidelines and regulations, but the age rating process has been recently streamlined – if the game has been approved through the IARC in Google Play Store, entering the same code in Windows 10 Store will automatically approve the game’s age rating.

However, Korea has a distinct age rating process and requires a GRB approval.

When the game is almost final it should be submitted as a closed app to test the app certification process before submitting the actual game for certification.

#6: Conclusion

Because the Windows 10 store is relatively new, it is a less competitive and crowded market than the mobile app stores and so offers greater opportunity and potential for developers.

It is not entirely straight forward to develop a Windows 10 version of a mobile title, but it is possible so long as the differences between the two platforms are recognised and games are optimised accordingly. Planning ahead is also strongly recommended.

Our own experience of developing for Windows 10 has been a positive one and we hope our insights will be relevant and useful for any developer thinking of working on Windows 10.

Founded in 2012, +80-person strong Korean mobile game developer InnoSpark has launched its socially-oriented mobile games in 154 countries and over 15 different languages.

For more information, please visit