I have left Microsoft and this blog is no longer under my control. All of the content should remain for some time however and any new updates can be found at http://davedev.net.
-Dave, September 2013
Updated April 29th, 2013 – Official registration links added for each week. Registration Is not required but helps us in planning the event.
As part of the Philly Appathon contest and Keep The Cash you can get free help developing your app and time to network with your local community peers. Each workshop will include a session on app development (60 mins) as well as open lab time (2 hours). Bring your own apps to work, use one of the free starter kits we’ll cover, or just hang out for the open dialog.
Every Wednesday night in the Microsoft Malvern Office from 5pm-8pm during the months of May and June
May 1st – Tips and tricks on designing a great Windows Store App. Register Now
May 11th – Philly.Net Code Camp
May 22nd – Overview of Azure Mobile Services and how you can connect your own Windows Store or Windows Phone Apps to take advantage of structured storage, authentication and push notifications. Register Now
May 29th – Developer overview of what’s new in Windows Phone 8. Register Now
June 5th - Taking advantage of the new Maps control and Camera Lens features in your Windows Phone 8 App. Register Now
June 12th – Philly.Net Hands on Labs
June 19th – Philly.Net Meeting
June 24th-26th – MADExpo Register Now
Hope to see you there!
Update April 3rd, 2013 – The contest is now for BOTH Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 Apps!
I am pleased to announce that Microsoft and Philly.NET are hosting another Windows Store App contest! Since the launch of Windows 8 the Windows Store as given developers the opportunity to sell their apps while using the same skills and languages they are familiar with. Since its launch the number of apps in the Store has more than quadrupled and just two months after GA, has passed the 100 million app download mark. Now is the time to get your app into the Store!
Here are the details:
Prizes will be awarded as follows:
You can enter as many apps as you publish into the contest. All Windows Store and Windows Phone apps also count as entries for the Keep The Cash contest meaning everyone who publishes an app for the contest is also eligible to receive a gift card.
Recently, I posted a game to the Windows Store based on a course I authored for Lynda.com. The game was primarily meant as a learning tool for the course but in letting my young kids play I found it to be entertaining enough that some other parents might want to use it. It’s not a complex game by any means but if I hit my target audience right (parents of young children) it should provide enough entertainment for a while. I also tried to add additional value by making it totally free and with no ads (which I don’t believe should be in kids games and usually get blocked via parental controls regardless) .
The Windows Store gives a lot of free metrics on your apps and with it being almost a month since I published the game I thought I would share some of the numbers I’m seeing.
Some things to keep in mind:
Overall, as of today after being in the Windows Store for 28 days the game has had 2,179 downloads with an average rating of 4 stars.
If we look at the details we see the usual spike that occurs when an app is new. Everyone gets this and its why it is important to make a big splash in the beginning. It’s much harder to generate awareness and excitement for your app after it has been in market for a while. These numbers were higher than I expected since my game was not featured, is from an unknown publisher, had no marketing, community or awareness around it, is in the most populated category (games) and in the fairly niche a family subcategory. The family subcategory had hundreds of games already in it and doing a search for Balloons there were several Balloons orientated games similar to my own. Yet, a couple thousand folks checked it out and as you’ll see below actually used it as well. There were also 9 people who chose to leave a review but more on that in a bit.
There are a couple of interesting things that are going on here.
We also get stats for age and gender. As you can see from the chart I hit my target audience (parents with young kids). The highest downloaded age group is 22-40 years old and then you also see higher downloads in the 41+ group (older parents and grandparents). What I got a chuckle about too is where the gender difference are highest is in the 22-40 age range with men being about a third more than women. That bar is exactly where I fit, a dad with young children and makes me feel that if I make a game for myself that appeals to me then my peer group would also follow. Another great stat to point out is that over a third of the download come from outside the United States. For the next release of the game I am going to publish to more countries and will be curious to see how these numbers change.
So we now know a little bit more about who is downloading our apps and from where. What about the longevity of our app? All apps get used less and less over time and this is one of the reasons to add new updates, features, as well as interesting gameplay. The chart below reflects the downloads chart so we can assume the people playing the game on any given day are largely made up of new users.
What is very interesting to me though is the breakdown between people using a mouse (desktop or older laptop) and people using touch (tablet or newer win8 laptop). In watching my kids play the game (like my oldest here on a Surface) I noticed it was a lot easier to get points than with a mouse. In fact, before publishing the game I upped the speed of the balloons to ensure it wasn’t to easy on tablets which trying to maintain a reasonable level of difficulty with the mouse. While I can’t be certain I believe these charts are showing me that people with tablets lose interest faster because they progress through the levels and scores much faster. In fact, one of the reviewers as we will see below gives a suggestion to this very problem.
Out of the 9 ratings 7 people left a high score while 2 left a low score. What I appreciate here is the people who left the low score gave me feedback! Feedback that I can incorporate and fix in the next version of the game. The Windows Store also lets people revise their ratings if they decide to change it at a later date.
As I mentioned above about the usage statistics between mouse and touch the one reviewer gives a great suggestion. The game is simply too hard with a mouse and if I added a difficulty setting he/she would gladly change the rating. Since I’ve coded the game to have a global settings already for max and min balloon speeds this can easily be tweaked with a slide control in the settings. The other reviewer (while in German) points out that the music gets very annoying. Since the game started out as a learning example it only has one track. This will definitely be a feature I add in the future, whether it is to add more custom music tracks or allow the user to pick their own from their music library.
The last statistic I want to share has to do with my About page in the Settings Panel. In my recent post on Settings Panels I discussed how you could include content locally or call out to external website content via an iframe.
I hope you got something out of these numbers and if you’re working on your own Windows Store app you can expect the same kind of analytics for free. Happy Coding!
I had a ton of fun in Washington, DC last week hanging out with the local developer crowd and talking Windows Phone 8. Can’t wait to see all the apps hit the Windows Phone Store!
I’ve posted all five session's slides here and the code we wrote here.
If you missed the event there are more coming to your town so stay tuned!