Game developers on the awesome news of Nokia's Windows Phone deal

More competition better for everyone

Game developers on the awesome news of Nokia's Windows Phone deal
It doesn't really matter what investors, analysts and consumers think of the strategic alliance between Nokia and Microsoft.

From a gaming perspective, the developers' take is key.

A quick survey of those already working on the Windows Phone 7 platform reveals a flurry of different views on the deal.

Tak Fung, founder, Supermono

"I think it's healthy to have more competition in the smartphone market, and it's also exciting for Windows Phone 7 developers," Fung says.

"However it remains to be seen how effective two massive slow moving corporations can actually be when working together on such a scale."

Mikkel Thorsted, partner, Press Play

"Considering our situation, where we already have Max & the Magic Marker and our soon to be released Microsoft Game Studios title Tentacles on Windows Phone 7, this is great news," says Thorsted.

"We believe that Nokia, with its history of making the highest quality phone hardware, as well as their market position, could be just what is needed to get some real momentum going for WP7.

"I must say, it's about time Nokia left the awful Symbian behind and started depending on better software."

Peter De Jong, CEO, CodeClue

"I think the deal between Nokia and Microsoft is awesome news," says De Jong.

"From a developer perspective, Windows Phone 7 is the best platform to create games for, and from a user perspective I think it offers one of the best experiences - I'm quite fond of the OS.

"The deal between Nokia and Microsoft could give WP7 a serious push to market, as Nokia is still the number one handset manufacturer."

Philippe Rapin, founder, Press Start"I see this partnership as a good thing - it could be a sign of concentration in the platforms, which will ease the burden of porting for developers," adds Rapin.

"And, of course, as an Xbox Live developer, it's a great perspective that such a big manufacturer is joining the WP7 boat. It expands market penetration tremendously and that used to be a big question mark when comparing WP7 to Android.

"Besides, I think what the world needs today is one of these spring-loaded morpheus-like smartphone things, which plays Twin Blades. Oh, I'm so sold on that."

Didier Pippel, executive producer, Khaeon Gamestudio"We are very excited about the plans of Nokia and Microsoft for a strategic partnership," comments Pippel.

"This could result in some very interesting opportunities for us as a developer, because Nokia and Microsoft will combine their strengths and expertise.

"What is especially interesting for us is the announced broadening of market segments, Nokia's existing operator billing agreements and, of course, the integration of Nokias' Ovi store with Windows Marketplace."

Eddie Dowse, business development manager, PopCap

"PopCap has worked closely with both Microsoft and Nokia for many years and our games have enjoyed a lot of success, so we are excited about the possibilities surrounding this joint venture," says Dowse. 

"We were a launch partner for Windows Phone 7, building Bejeweled Live out of our European studio.

"We have always been excited about the gaming potential of Microsoft's smartphone platform and are hopeful that this partnership signals opportunities for even more people to experience it first hand."

Sarah Thomson, VP of business development, IUGO Entertainment"IUGO is cautiously optimistic about Nokia's announcement to take on the WP7 OS," adds Thomson. 

"First off, thank you Nokia for finally ditching Symbian and throwing in the towel on the troubled MeeGo platforms. That alone is a great first move.

"IUGO is personally excited to have Nokia pick Microsoft over Android. It's great to strengthen the chances of a third player in the battle between Apple and Google. We like the idea that Microsoft will keep fragmentation to a dull roar rather than the potential for Nokia to produce hundreds of Android-capable handsets that would make developers' lives a living hell…again.

"IUGO has invested early into Windows Phone 7 as a platform with 6 titles to-date. We'd love WP7 to take off so that we're inspired to do more.

"But, on the flipside of this, making the decision and executing it effectively are two very different things. Nokia's track record over the past 4-5 years hasn’t been very good. There have been a lot of missteps.

"Microsoft hasn't had much luck in the smartphone sector either. These facts are making IUGO cautious.

"I do hope that each can compliment the other's weaknesses: WP7 can be an entry into the North American market for Nokia while Nokia can up the ante in handset volume for WP7. If this indeed happens, clearly this will be a win for both developers and users alike.

"No doubt this has made 2011 even more interesting to watch in the mobile space."

David Whatley, president, Critical Thought"I think the Nokia deal has to be taken in context of what's going on at Microsoft," adds Whatley.

"When you look at the recent moves they have made to shake up management and move up engineering talent into the drivers seat, you can see that there is a broad strategic initiative to set up Microsoft for relevancy in key markets where they are currently lagging.

"These things are cyclic, where a company seems so dominate at one point that we run to the courts crying antitrust, and then almost over-night no one cares about them anymore - such as AOL, or MySpace.

"Once they reach this point the conventional wisdom is that they can no longer return to prominance. But I think that any company, with strong leadership, can reinvent itself. Even AOL is starting to show signs of life again through reinvention driven by key strategic acquisitions like TechCrunch and now Huffington Post.

"I think this is a piece of a larger plan that Microsoft has been brewing for more than a little while. Only time will tell how it plays out, but action always better than inaction. From a developers perspective, this is good news because we want the Windows Phone 7 platform to reach its market potential.

"The more hot platforms the better, and the WP7 OS is certainly a worthy contender that isn't just playing follow the leader."

Ryan Morel, CEO, PressOK

"We're North America focused and Nokia hasn't been a strong player here since I was playing the pre-loaded version of Snake on a Nokia device in 2000," comments Morel. 

"So, the question for us is whether or not Windows Phone 7, which is a good OS, and Microsoft's marketing muscle helps Nokia obtain a substantial user base here - and at what cost to the Android and iOS market?

"Ultimately, for this to be a good thing for developers, the overall pie has to grow, not just get cut into smaller pieces."

Andrei Hanganu, lead developer, Revo Solutions

"Biggest problem for now for Microsoft is the number of devices sold, and we expect the deal with Nokia to raise the number of Windows Phone 7 users significantly," Hanganu states.

"We have a title in top 10 so that can only mean good news for us. In my opinion, Windows Marketplace might be a lot better than Apple's App Store and Android Market, simply because the review process doesn't allow it to be filled with bad quality apps.

"Considering all markets are amassing huge numbers of apps, in the future, the quality control of the submissions might prove to be the most important difference.

"We have high hopes for WP7 and the Nokia deal should only make the platform more popular. The only question remaining is whether the hardware requirements will stay the same or lower-end devices will show up."

Jason Doucette, co-founder and lead programmer, Xona Games

"To be honest, I haven't been following the Windows Phone 7 environment very closely these past few months," adds Doucette.

"Based off of the news feeds I've been reading, it appears this is great news. It looks like the agreement goes far beyond just the hardware needed to help bring more phones onto the market - which is good, since competition is always great for the consumer, for prices and selection - but also to include the software.

"I am not sure how the software is going to help WP7 developers directly, but if the phones are going to sell better because of a better general experience, then the audience is going to increase, which can never be a bad thing. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out."
Check back later for further additions.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.