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This week I had a catch-up with the UKs new MVP for ID@Xbox Simon Jackson @SimonDarksideJ and got into a conversation of monetisation, Simon mentioned he had a section on this very question in his new book “Mastering Unity 2D Game Development” which has been published under Packt Publishing.
Simply put one of the hardest decisions developers need to make about their game or app is how to get paid, sure we love them and they are a part of us but there should always be some sort of reimbursement for efforts.
So the following is a quick run down of the various options available to developers today!
Some of the most common patterns for monetization in games are:
Your game is sold at a fixed price. For big game studios this is generally the only option, especially with disk based delivery and some marketplaces.
The emphasis with paid only means you need a high quality sale portfolio for your game, outstanding game marketing assets (logo’s, screenshots, videos, etc.).
What is also just as important is the blurb about your game, it really has to stand out and draw the player in to make them part with their hard earned cash.
Offering a trial with your game is a great way to entice players in, obviously it gives them a taste of you game before they commit cash.
Be honest about the trial though, there have been many cases and annoyed players where games were published as free but were actually limited trials, do not upset your potential buyers, be up front about it.
You still need a good presence with your marketing and store front, but the trial is also another great option to draw them in.
When going down the trial route, just be sure to only pick a single path and stick to it, either by limiting the game, or only offering so many levels, or even having time limited play. Just don’t mix them.
Another factor in offering trials is that each platform you deploy to may have a different way of providing it, either directly from the marketplace or through marketplace API’s. It’s best to design how your game will behave in trial and link that to a flag or option you can then control separately from the menu or check on startup.
Often the route for a lot of “free to play” mobile titles, this is one option that can be hard to get right. Too many ads and the player will just get annoyed and uninstall it, too few and you are not going to get much back from it.
A key thing to remember about ads is that it’s all about presentation and numbers. You need thousands of ads presented through your titles to make any kind of money back from Ad Providers, better if the player also clicks on the ad as this generates better revenue but you cannot bet on the player doing this.
Warning, do not attempt to fake or force the player to click on ads. It’s a very bad experience and likely to get you uninstalled quickly. Also Ad Providers are clever enough to work out if you are faking the clicks and simply not pay you.
I have seen cases where developers have layered ads on top of each other to maximize ad presentation or use GUI controls in close proximity to the ads tricking the player in to clicking them. These are very bad practices and should be avoided, at best you won’t get paid for your ads, at worst it will significantly get you bad reviews and lower the population of your players.
A few patterns that generally work are:
o Display in a non UI blocking portion of the screen in game play
o Just display in the menu or non-game screens (e.g. inventory, pause screen)
o Displaying ads only in loading screens
o Pop up ads that appear when an event occurs
o Ads on purchase screens
You can mix and match but remember there is a fine line between a background annoyances the player can just ignore if they don’t want to look, to intrusive and overbearing. Test with a select audience and alter your implementation based on their feedback BEFORE publishing.
The terms use by Ad Providers aren’t meant to befuddle you but they do take some getting used to, here’s some of the terms and their meaning:
Fill Rate – The percentage rate at which ads will be sent to your game, if the provider has run out of ads or has none for your ad settings (age, region, language, etc) then this can drop to 0 meaning no ads.
Impressions – This is a figure to denote the number of successfully show ads in your game, be aware that if the same ad is shown several times that some ad providers count this as the same impression, and just check against your own experience.
Click through rate (CTR) – the higher paid option with ads to denote players are actually clicking on ads to look into them.
eCPM – basically a unit of measure of how much you will be paid per click or impression. Usually multiply this figure by your number of impressions to see how much you will get. Note this figure will go up and down based on just about anything, including the weather.
AdTypes – There are various ad types and sizes supported by each provider with different capabilities. Banners are the simplest being a screen area size it will take up when displaying the ad. Others like intersatials are interactive and generally take up the entire screen. Check each provider for what they support and which you want to use.
Another factor to keep in mind is around publishers themselves, they will all perform differently in different markets and languages. Generally Ad Publishers focus on a few select markets or only take advertisements in certain languages, etc.
Some examples of these are:
Microsoft PubCenter – strongest in the United States
Smaato – Strong in central Europe and US but poor in non-English countries.
Inneractive – good mix of support across the globe and mix of ads but suffers from low or poor fill rates in practice (something they are working on)
Google AdMob – strong across the globe but you need millions of impressions to make any real money
There are many more out there such as InMobi, VServe, Leadbolt and others which each have their strengths and weaknesses, only your personal testing will see what publisher works best for you in which countries.
When using advertising it is very important to add your own instrumentation to your title to track how the adverts are doing, don’t just use the Ad Publishers figures from their respective dashboards. That way you can manage yourself what works best for you and alter your plans accordingly. Don’t just publish and let it go, manage it effectively to improve your returns.
When implementing ads there is also no rule that says you have to use only one provider! Always hedge your bets with AdProviders and implement as many as you are comfortable with, structure your ad presentation in a framework so that you always show the best performing adverts first and use another ad network if the current one isn’t delivering.
If this seems a bit much to do yourself, then there are several frameworks out there that will do this for you. These Ad Rotating solutions are fully featured to work with a number of Ad Providers and ensure you always display ads.
One such framework is a solution called AdRotator which is open source and works with most platforms, you can check it out at http://getadrotator.com, There are others also on the Unity asset store, just be sure to check what platforms they support (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc), so you might have to use a few different ones for all the platforms you deploy to. Vserv.mobi (vserve.com) for example can also display ads from other providers and not just its own.
A common feature being implemented in most games these days are in-app purchases, they are simply your paid shop front within the game to unlock levels, purchase rare items or remove unwanted features like Ads.
In some cases in-app purchases have been used to implement trial functionality, publishing the title as free and then offering an in-game unlock option, on console like the Ouya, this is standard practise.
Note, as with the trial system, be upfront if your game is sold as a trial. Players do not like and will aggressively mark down and slam titles that appear free until they are forced to pay to play!
In-app purchases on most platforms come in two forms:
Items that the player can purchase and have a real world item they can own. These are generally single use and you can verify with the marketplace for the platform if the player has purchased them. Although it is advised that you also manage that information locally so as to not slow the game down on start-up while checking. If you can also keep that information on a back-end service in case the user resets their device or transfers to a new one, this is not mandatory however.
Can only be purchased once.
Effectively consumables are in-game currency, items that are meant to be recharged and replenished over time.
The big difference between consumables and durables is that they are not tracked on the server (other than in payment history but that is not available to apps/games)
Can be purchased many times over.
As well as the store/marketplace for each platform there are some online services that will do payment systems for you, saving you from re-creating everything for each platform you support. One such company is called Lotaris (http://www.lotaris.com/) which offer many different ways for players to purchase items and apps, you still however have to publish your app to each platforms store.
WARNING – If you are using in-app purchases be aware that big brother is watching. Employ unethical or illegal practices when implementing these systems could bring to a whole heap load of trouble.
Check the following article for more info: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140402142426/http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2014/05-14.
READ NOW if you plan to or are already using in-app purchases
BitCoin as a practice in games has been rising steadily, the basic premise being that the game is generally free to play and uses some kind of in-game currency which players can earn in the game. This currency usually takes two forms, basic coin which can be earned in-game and premium coin which can only be bought with cash (or for completing rare and special events).
The idea is simple, play through the game slowly as normal but if you want to advance quicker or get ultra-rare items then you need to buy and spend premium coin for those items. In some cases you can also convert premium coin to basic coin to get in-game currency quicker
Although this makes a steady profit in single player or offline games, where it really comes in to its own is with online multiplayer. Seems there is a growing market for people to advance quicker than others or just to beat their friends quicker.
Doing coin systems is generally harder than just doing in-app purchases but makes for an easier to manage ecosystem.
Also see the warning about in-app purchases as this applies heavily to in-game currency/ bitcoin systems as well, if not more.
As you can see there are many options out there to get paid for your apps / games and lots of directions to consider. I’ll leave you with a few points to think on:
· Think long term when considering returns for your app/game. If you have services to support how will you pay for them
· Consider your whole app estate when generating revenue, give bonuses to loyal customer who get more than one of your apps/games
· Never annoy users with “Too Many” or “Too Frequent” ads, be considerate.
· Always ship an option to turn off ads. Offer several pay points for user to support your app/game, you may be surprised how much people are willing to support a good one
· Tie in your monetisation with other channels, promotions, competitions, think out of the box.
Monetisation is more than just about money, it is about brand awareness and the public’s view of your entire portfolio and says a lot about how you want to grow your business and treat your customers!
Simon thanks for the chat and inspiration and congrats on the MVP award!
I had a few question from game developers running into problems with the technical preview of Windows 10.
Windows 10 is now available for FREE via the Windows Insiders program and for MSDN Subscribers. over 1 million users are now running the technical preview.
The problem which I have been seeing is with Developers who are using Windows 10 and Unity3d 4.6 some are encountering the following issues. So I thought the following blog may provide a bit of support in addressing a fix.
Reported issues include
Previous projects now crash when loading them into Visual Studio
New Projects now crash on launch from Visual Studio
To fix the issue you simply need to update DirectX SDK
DirectX SDK Debug Layer: To obtain the Windows 10 Technical Preview and Unity3d version of the DirectX Debug Layer DLLs required to successfully use D3D11_CREATE_DEBUG_DEVICE or the Visual Studio 2013 Graphics Diagnostics feature, download it from here.
This will get integrated in a future version of the Window SDK for the RTM release of Windows 10. Be sure to install VS 2013, Windows SDK 8.1, and/or VS 2013 Remote Debugging Tools in addition to installing this patch.
If your an avid gamer then I would suggest you follow the following guidance also
Win32 desktop games: Such as STEAM
The existing guidance for quality Win32 desktop games running on Windows 7, Windows 8.0, and Windows 8.1 all applies to Windows 10 as well (see Desktop Games on Windows 8.x). Note that there is a new <compatibility> manifest section GUID for Windows 10 (see Chuck Walbourn great post on Manifest Madness).
DirectX 12: If you are looking to try out DirectX 12, you should read the DirectX Developer Blog post and sign up for the DirectX 12 Early Access program.
Web Games HTML5 and Babylon.JS
Web developers: The Technical Preview includes IE11, but there are a few improvements for Windows 10.
Build Universal Apps which support Windows Store and Windows phone
See this post.
The architecture has a logical layout (below). It looks complex, but the blog will hopefully explain it.
When architecting our game your need to consider what the components, described below. Some are apps (the clients), and the rest are cloud services.
The clients are the apps that game players download to their devices. Each app must be developed for the particular device, but they must all have behave the same. The game is the same, just the UI changes.
When building a game today you want it to be played on the most number of devices so, ideally it should be capable of being played on Windows Phone 7 and 8, Windows 8.0 and 8.1, iOS, Android, and Kindle.
To enable maximum platform support communication is enabled using REST APIs. The experience of playing the game should be smooth and seamless. A key factor is to ensure that the client app makes the minimal number of calls (after authentication).
When developing your client its key to ensure that each of the client has a thin hardware abstraction layer (HAL). the HAL must contains the code necessary to display and process the UI controls, along with the code that initiates contact with the Visitor Center and the code that interacts with a Game Room.
The first stop for a player is the Visitor Center. So think of the Visitor Center as the landing page for your game i,e. you’ll find the leaderboard results and a directory of the gamer IDs. You can also find a friend on the system through the leaderboard.
When the player starts the game, the client app authenticates the player with either Facebook or another authentication services (using a username and password). The client app then sends the Visitor Center the identity of the player (via a token). The Visitor center confirms the identity by contacting Facebook or other authentication services to verify the token (and thus the player). Once confirmed, the Visitor Center sends the client app a new URL that goes to the Game Room where the user will be playing.
Note that if the user does not sign I, you may want them to allow them to play as a Guest (guests may be simply unranked or wouldn't be issued persistent stats or friends).
The Game Room consists of 3 APIs that interact with the client.
1) Game: Sends the current puzzle to the client.
2) Post: Receives the user’s individual results from the client.
3) Results: Sends the leader scores and relative ranking of user to the client, along with the next puzzle.
You may want to geo locate each of your games rooms, best practice is to locate each Game Room on the continent with the greatest player base – so European languages are housed in European data centers, for example. The hard cases are English, Spanish, and Portuguese, which have broad, world-wide audiences. English is played from everywhere, but is most concentrated in the US, UK, India, and Australia. Spanish is split between Spain and Latin America. Portuguese is most heavily played from Brazil, but there are still plenty of players from Portugal and other parts of the world.
When a game ends, each client sends the player’s results to the Game Room. The Game Room has an Azure load balancer in front of it that distributes the results to one of its three web roles. Because the results are randomly scattered, they must be gathered into one central spot—the aggregator.
The inner working of the aggregator is an Azure Cache. Caches are used in computing because they take the pressure off a system by holding recently stored data in memory and letting many operations access the data. Because the data is in memory, it can be instantaneously returned to any operation. The cache operates instead of a database engine that would otherwise query for a particular result. Multiply the queries and the database quickly reaches its capacity to respond. Caches are tried and true time savers.
Here’s what happens between the GR and the aggregator.
After a game ends, each Game Room web role receives the individual client results. The web role then sends all of its accumulated results to the aggregator. Note that due to retries, there may be duplicate client results received by the Game Room and received by the aggregator. (Two people sharing the same Gamertag while simultaneously playing using different devices also causes duplicate client results to be received.) Then, the aggregator sends all of the Game Room web role results back to each Game Room web role, as shown in Panel 3 of the diagram above.
Each Game Room web role removes duplicates and sorts the results, and sends the top results and individual results with peer ranking back to the client. After the next round starts, each Game Room writes its buffer of unsorted results to blob storage. Each blob is named in the form <puzzle language id>-<game id>-<instance number>.txt, and consists of Comma Separated Values (CSV) data.
Leader Board Orchestrator (LBO)
The LBO does the heavy lifting for the app. It works in close partnership with the two database stores that conceptually flank it to create the “best of” lists (best of right now, best of the hour, best of the day, best of the week).
When the Game Room and the aggregator have finished the results reporting work, the LOB starts.
It first gets the results of the game from the newly written blob storage. It then processes the data to create in-memory tables that are inserted into an instance of Azure SQL Database. Once the data is inserted into the database, a large number of queries, in the form of stored procedures can be run against the data. To preserve the integrity of the data, stored procedures are the only way used to determine stats. The integrity of the data can also be checked during the process. The LBO can use more than one worker role to process the data. The results can also be compared. If any discrepancies arise, then the worker can be immediately stopped, and a new worker started to retry the processing.
There is another component, although it is more of an infrastructure piece. The “Headquarters” service is used to run tests against the various other parts of the game. For example, it runs the test-bot that makes sure the game rooms (in all languages) are working. It also checks the integrity of the database operations. If a worker role running an operation creates a result that is different from others, the worker is terminated and a new one started. The headquarters handles those administrative and quality assurance duties.
And finally, a server that is on-premises builds and deploys the whole system, every night. The build system is automated, and Azure REST APIs enable deployment. The function is key in protecting the integrity of the system by only allowing only the build scripts to perform the tasks. No one physically should have the permission rights to build and deploy manually.
Azure Blob Storage
How to use the Windows Azure Blob Storage Service in .NET
Azure Cloud Services
Windows Azure PowerShell
Azure table storage
What is a Storage Account?
Azure SQL Database
Visual Studio Online
Batching Techniques for SQL Database Applications in Windows Azure
Cloud Services are just one of Azure’s compute models. Think of a ‘compute model’ as the motor of a vehicle. Every type of powered transportation needs an engine to roll, fly, or sail. In the same way, every Azure app needs an engine to process data and perform tasks. But the motor is specialized to the vehicle’s demands. A compute model serves computing power in one way or another, but is optimized for different service types.
Azure has four compute models, each optimized for different uses:
· Websites: these are designed for only one purpose—to serve websites by executing server-side code such as PHP, ASP.NET, Python, and node.js (along with SQL for databases). You only worry about the website code—not the system that it runs on.
· Virtual Machines: Virtual Machines include nearly everything that a hardware-based system contains—an operating system and virtual disk space, in addition to the virtualized processing power. Like a real machine, you are responsible for installing software and keeping the system patched.
· Mobile Services: a mobile service is a turnkey backend for a mobile or other connected client app. It provides infrastructure for server-side storage, user authentication, and handles push notifications. A single mobile service is often used to coordinate app activities across client platforms like Windows, Android, iOS, and HTML.
· Cloud Services: Cloud services are made of “roles” which are like VMs, in having a system and small virtual hard disk. They have one bonus: you do not have to maintain the operating system. The downside is that any role can go down without warning. Therefore, it is best to code these as stateless entities—with no knowledge of what happened before or what will happen later. Roles should be autonomous and ready to immediately resume the task at hand whenever they start. They are called ‘roles’ because they are adapted to specific kinds of tasks. A web role is built to communicate on the web using IIS to serve websites or web services. In contrast, a worker role only runs the methods of the application—it is a VM dedicated to computing without the overhead of IIS.
Understanding the Opportunity of Cloud
Sign up for a Free One Month Trial via http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
Check our Architecture BluePrints of Cloud Based gaming
One of the most successful word games on phones and tables is Wordament. The game is played by thousands of players, every day. It’s played on Windows phones, tablets, and PC, phones and tablets from Apple, and devices built on Android—including Kindle devices. It’s played around the world in over a dozen languages. And it’s all run on Azure.
Here are some interesting facts:
· It’s been downloaded and enjoyed by millions
· They have about 500 million game results stored
· Every puzzle is unique
· Over 7000 concurrent players have participated at a single instant in time
· After a game ends, the leaderboard for the worldwide session is shown
· During a game, everyone using the same puzzle language plays the same game for two minutes at time—everyone is connected at the same time
· The bits are located in four datacenters around the world
· They roll out a new build every night using “a ton of PowerShell scripts and TFS”
· They log everything. Data is so cheap, their data costs $45 a month
· C# is the only language used to code all parts of the game
So how does the game actually work?
1. Wordament is a game that presents a grid of 16 random, different, letters in a four by four grid. Each letter is on a tile. Each letter has a score. None of the letters are duplicates.
2. To score, you must start at a letter, and connect to an adjoining letter. You can go left, right, up, down, or diagonally. You cannot reuse the same tile.
3. The goal is to spell as many words as you can. Only words that are spelled correctly are accepted. Longer words have higher scores.
4. Every two minutes, a new game starts. Players from all over the world are playing the same game (the same four by four grid). (Different languages have their own grids and games—so people playing the English board only play against each other—not Spanish or Finnish.)
5. When the game ends, results from all players are collected, and the highest scores (and the user names of the player) are shown on the leader board.
6. After 45 seconds, the leader board disappears, and a new game begins.
7. The total playing/scoring cycle is 2 minutes and 45 seconds (165 seconds).
One factor contributes to the success of the game: its smooth playing experience—and this is also a result of the architecture. When playing the game, new games start and stop without missing a beat, and instantly leaderboards are shown. So around the world, such as playing on a train in Africa, you can still get a reasonable response and keep playing. That feeling of effortless response is key to keeping the game going—and that is also a product of the architecture.
So what is the Architecture behind Wordament
see the following 3 part blog at http://msdn.microsoft.com/dn774975
In partnership with Studica, Unity3d has discounted costs. Here’s a link to the page.
Also, Autodesk, creators of Maya, 3DS Max, etc., also have FREE versions of their tools for students.
Microsoft offers DreamSpark to Students and FREE developer accounts to get your apps and games published on Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 for FREE
Microsoft offers BizSpark to startups, and night time project devs working on their own thing.
Get up to speed by undertaking the follow Microsoft Virtual Academy intro to Developing 2D & 3D Games with Unity. This training was delivered by Adam Tuliper, David Crook, Dave Voyles, Tobiah Marks, Jason Fox, Carl Callewaert (Unity) and Matt Newman.
Get up to speed by undertaking the following Microsoft Virtual Academy hosted a Porting Unity games to Windows Store and Windows Phone training event.. This training was delivered by Mickey MaDonald and Jaime Rodriguez.
Porting to Windows is easy and profitable check out the following videos..
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/Inside-Unity3d-for-Windows-Phone -- is an interview with Tautvydas (one of the Unity devs for Windows Phone)
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/The-Bridge -- is the winner of our Unity contest and also the Unite 2014 award for best 2D game.. You gotta get this inside story (especially if you were an XNA fan before)..
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/The-Veil -- is the winner of 3rd place on our Unity contest..
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/Owlchemy-Labs -- Alex Schwartz is a creative whiz.. super cool, super eloquent.. and a one to watch
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/Zoo-Tycoons-Friends -- is a solid story on our own Microsoft Studios Zoo Tycoon friends game.. Matt Roberts from the Zoo Tycoon team show how they reused their C# logic on Unity and Azure..
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/Luc-Bealieu-of-Frima-Studio -- these folks are super creative.. they are the publisher for the Nun Attack series of games, and Zombie Tyccoon
· http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/The-Game-Blog/The-People-Behind-the-Unite-Conference -- has an interview with our dear friends at Unity Carl and JC
The new D instances have solid-state disk (SSD)-based local drives and faster processors relative to many of the A-series instances.
The D-series instances can be used as VMs, as well as web or worker roles in Cloud Services, and are well suited for applications that demand faster CPU performance, local disk performance, or higher memories. Please note that the SSD drives in the D-series are non-persistent.
For more information, visit the Virtual Machines webpage.
To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Machines Pricing Details webpage
If you are new to Cloud and Azure try Azure with a Free one month trial* Sign-up for free and get €150 to spend on all Azure services http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
Want to learn more about Cloud Services undertake one of our FREE Microsoft Virtual Academy Session http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com
Free on a Tuesday attend one of our UK specific, learning Webinar http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2014/09/19/getting-started-with-azure-webinar-every-tuesday-lunchtime-live-demos-of-websites-cloud-services-vms-and-mobile-services.aspx
If your a educator or researcher you apply for a FREE Azure academic pass from www.windowsazure.com/education
The Microsoft UK team are spending every Tuesday to teach you how to use free cloud computing resources from Microsoft Azure cloud and cloud computing concepts.
So why not learn how to develop beautiful, interactive and fast websites using Microsoft web tools and platform!
You also have the option of attending our physical Camp so here is a list of our events for Sept and Oct.
At this Web Camp, you’ll learn how to develop beautiful, interactive and fast web sites using Microsoft’s web tools and platform. You will also learn how to deploy and scale your web sites with the cloud.
Getting Started With Azure
The Azure Weekly runs every Tuesday from 12:30 – 13:30 (UK timezone) and is aimed at the techie who has not yet had any/much exposure to Azure but who just wants a leg-up to get started.
Getting Started With Azure
Getting Started With Azure & Guest Speaker Richard Conway from Elasta Cloud – Big Data
The Azure Weekly runs every Tuesday from 12:30 – 13:30 (UK timezone) and is aimed at the techie who has not yet had any/much exposure to Azure but who just wants a leg-up to get started. We have invited Richard Conway, MVP for Azure, to show you how to get started with Machine Learning on Azure
Getting Started With Azure & Game Development Guest Speaker L.Deane Gateway Interactive
The Azure Weekly runs every Tuesday from 12:30 – 13:30 (UK timezone) and is aimed at the Game Developer who has not yet had any/much exposure to Azure Cloud Services
Getting Started With Azure & Guest Speaker P.Norris from Madfellows
The Azure Weekly runs every Tuesday from 12:30 – 13:30 (UK timezone) and is aimed at Game Developers who just wants a leg-up to get started. Madfellows use Azure cloud for game data storage and content distribution. Speaker soon!
Building Websites With Azure
New to Azure? Are you a web developer? Find out how you can use tools in Visual Studio to deploy websites into Azure. This introductory webinar will teach you everything you need to know about getting up and running and developing web applications in Azure
So if your looking for the Windows Phone Emulator to test your apps or games please follow the links below.
Windows Phone 8.1
Windows Phone 8.1 development tools
The Windows Phone 8.1 development tools are installed with Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows with Update 2 or later and Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 or later. New features include universal Windows app development for all Windows devices—universal app templates, a full-featured code editor, a powerful debugger, emulators, rich language support, and more, all ready to use in production.
Get Visual Studio Express 2013 for WindowsGet Visual Studio 2013 Update 3
Windows Phone 8.1 Emulators
The Windows Phone 8.1 Emulators package adds six emulator images to an existing installation of Visual Studio. With these emulators installed, developers can test how apps will run on phones running Windows Phone 8.1. This package requires Visual Studio 2013 with Update 2 or later, Windows 8.1 (x64) Professional edition or higher, and a processor that supports Client Hyper-V and Second Level Address Translation (SLAT).
Download now (1.14 MB, English)
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 Emulators
Add six emulator images to Visual Studio 2013 so you can test how your app will run on phones running Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. (Requires Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 or later.) Learn more about Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 Emulators.
Download the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 Emulators
Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone SDK 8.0
Tools for developing apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices. Get details and additional languages
Download now (1.02 MB, English)
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Update 3 Emulators
Adds five new emulator images to an existing installation of Windows Phone SDK 8.0. With this update installed, you can test how your app will run on devices that have Update 3 (version 8.0.10492 or later) of Windows Phone 8. This update requires either Visual Studio 2012 with Windows Phone SDK 8.0 and Update 4 or later, or Visual Studio 2013 with the optional Windows Phone SDK 8.0 option selected during setup. Get details and additional languages
Download now (942 MB, English)
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Update for Windows Phone 8.0.10322
Adds four new emulator images to an existing installation of Windows Phone SDK 8.0. This update requires either Visual Studio 2012 with Windows Phone SDK 8.0 and Update 4 or later, or Visual Studio 2013 with the optional Windows Phone SDK 8.0 option selected during setup. Get details and additional languages
Download now (920 MB, English)
Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone SDK 7.1
Tools to help you develop apps for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 7.0 devices. Get details and additional languages
Download now (3.37 MB, English)
Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update
Brings additional functionality to Windows Phone SDK 7.1. With this update, it’s easier to develop apps and games that are optimized to run on 256-MB devices. Get details and additional languages
Download now (290 MB, English)
Windows Phone SDK Update for Windows Phone 7.8
Adds two new emulator images to an existing Windows Phone SDK installation. This update supports Windows Phone SDK 7.1 and Windows Phone SDK 8.0. With this update, use Windows Phone 8 Start screen experience in your Windows Phone 7.5 apps. You also can test how your apps will run on Windows Phone 7.8 devices. Get details and additional languages
Download now (1.1 MB, English)