Windows 8 Start ScreenIn addition to the Windows 8 events coming up, we’ve got a couple of great Azure workshops coming up as well! Adding Azure to your Windows 8 app can take it to the next level.

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Windows 8 provides a great opportunity for developers, and last week I talked about the app excellence labs which give you the chance to be the first in line in Canada to get your app into the store.

This week I want you to think about the possibilities offered by using Azure with your Windows 8 apps. Azure isn’t just for Windows 8, you can use it for Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and of course PC apps as well. Azure can bring your app to the next level.

Let’s say you are building a game. Even if you don’t think of the game as a multiplayer game, you may still want to allow players to connect by adding a social aspect. I’ll give you a concrete example, where a social aspect to a game has increased is addictiveness.

Wordament is a game on Windows 8 and Windows Phone. It’s a very simple game, you get a grid of letters and you make as many words as you can in 2 minutes. Different letters earn you different scores (just like Scrabble). If you have a competitive nature, you would naturally try to improve your high score. But, a social twist to the game takes makes it far more addictive. All the players around the world try to solve the same puzzle at the same time. At the end of the round, you find out how your score compares to everyone else. You can’t help but try to move up the rankings by playing just one more round. Want to make it personal? You get a list of players with scores close to your and you can tap their names to make them frenemies, now every time you and a frenemy are playing you’ll know who beat who because your scores are listed at the top of the screen. I admit, I got to bed later than planned last night because I just had to beat PicassoCat73 before I quit for the night.

How did they do it? The magic of the cloud! Store the player names and scores in the cloud and then send out the results. Complicated? No. Effective? Yes!

This is just one of many ways Azure can improve a PC or mobile app. There is a social gaming SDK for Azure in GitHub if you want to explore it further or you can take advantage of an upcoming workshop to learn more about Azure or Windows 8!

Upcoming Events

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if you can’t attend one of the Windows 8 events, you can still learn about how to build Windows 8 apps online at the Windows developer center and bring your app to the labs.

P.S. if you decide to download Wordament, my gamer tag is hockeygeekgirl looking forward to having you as my frenemy, but be warned I’ve been practicing!