After Build we have had many announcements regarding to the Windows Store and the Store Dev Centers. It is not the objective of this discussion to talk about the improvements on the Windows and Windows Phone Store so before go to the dev side let’s just say that now you have the opportunity to build once and deploy for both stores thanks to Universal Apps, and not only that, buy ONCE and have the app on both Operating Systems at no extra cost ^_^

Let’s go through the two major changes on the Store Dev accounts:

1) Credit card validation no longer required for the registration process

This is something that mostly students were looking for years, to be able to create their own developer account without the need to get a credit card for the account verification (remember that for Students the account is FREE thanks to the BizSpark program but requires to verify your identity with a credit card).

Also whenever 1 full year old comes to your account, in the renewal you will have same options for it + now we are enabling PayPal as a renewal or even registration payment for the Windows Store (in markets where PayPal is currently supported).

2) New feedback features: Microsoft is slowly rolling out a program whereby developers can comment on your reviews of their handiwork so you would soon be able to respond to user reviews of their apps and games. Here a funny demonstration

MicrosoftComments[1]

As developer you will receive these kind of notifications where you will be able to control what’s going on with your “open cases”

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But not only that, is not only for debating personal opinions about the app, Windows Phone users are encouraged to report any questionable developer response via the reporting link in the “details” section of the app’s description:

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As a user: remember that your feedback can make the applications you own better as in the end is what you want when you purchase a game or an app.
As a developer: remember that your users own your app because they think that is cool and they like it, they use it, don’t disappoint them and provide them the best quality, the best performance and regular updates.

3) Linking Windows Store and Windows Phone apps to create a universal Windows app

halo universal

Tired to pay twice for the same app? Now with Universal Apps, ‘get once and download for all compatible Windows devices’ customer experience, which we expect to increase both paid and free app downloads across device types.

Also, if you are integrating in-app purchases in your apps, this linked app experience extends your durables and consumables to be used in both stores using the same identifier.

4) App name reservation

Developers now can reserve names for new Windows Phone apps for up to 12 months in advance of release

5) Consolidated price tiers

We have simplified the pricing which is applicable for paid apps and in-app purchasing and expands Windows developer opportunity with the addition of US$0.99 and $1.39 price tiers to Windows Store.

6) Consistent certification policies

7) Reduced certification times: x10 faster!

There it is, we have reduced the app certification workflow time where in most cases the reduction comes to few hours vs. few days (previously).

COMING SOON:

  1. Promotional pricing
  2. Pre-submission validation checks
  3. Touch-enabled device targeting

Summary:

As you can see there are GREAT improvements and changes on both Windows and Windows Phone Store, everything pointing to the same direction, build once, deploy everywhere. You have no excuse to start deploying for Windows Phone and mark your own revenue model and success on the Windows Store!

Happy submission and - May the code be with you -

Sources:

http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/18/microsoft-app-store-developer-responses-roll-out/
http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2014/04/17/you-may-soon-get-a-response-to-your-windows-phone-app-review.aspx
http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/buildingapps/archive/2014/04/14/dev-center-now-open-for-windows-phone-8-1-and-universal-windows-app-submissions.aspx