Windows RT: Perhaps the Game Developer missed the point…

There are a few articles appearing online focusing on the fate of a games developer who has ported a game that has been popular on the iOS and Android platforms but which has “only made £52 in the first week” on the Windows RT platform.

The developer says he’s not going to develop for the platform anymore – because just porting this one app cost them somewhere like £10,000, so it’ll take 192 weeks to break even. He marks that as a complete failure of Windows RT.

But is it really?

Actually I’d wager that isn’t the case, but that this is a poor understanding of where Windows RT fits in and of course it is also pretty new out there without too much fanfare. This wasn’t a much hyped release with lots of stupid marketing and PR. It’s a slow release. Either way, it’s still not the point…

Firstly, the developer has previously released on platforms that are essentially “phone” and/or “mobile” (I’m still not sure if Tablet’s are widely considered “mobile” or not). These are platforms where gaming has already been established as popular and the whole size/format of devices and places and ways they’re used make them ideal for gaming. Windows RT however is not available on phone platforms, and there is plenty of evidence to show that MOBILE gaming (eg Phone based) is popular. Tablet gaming is less popular – although I’d agree that iPad’s do seem to be used for this type of purpose quite a bit in some cases. That’s great. but Windows RT isn’t really on tablets.

I imagine his sales on Windows 8 through the normal store would be equally poor – if his games aren’t designed to ideally suit “Desktop” use, it won’t sell well – and that’s on the number 1 Desktop OS used globally. Not sure you can say “Windows 8” is a failure or “Windows” in general is a failure.

Given that Windows RT is aimed at, and comes on hybrid devices only so far as I can see – such as the Microsoft Surface (which to add to the poor sales in the UK at least is ONLY available on the Microsoft Online Store – bah!) and the odd other new device literally just launching like the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11 (I actually managed to buy after all yesterday), it isn’t much wonder sales are low. Ultimately I believe these devices aren’t really targetted at the type of person who uses a laptop or tablet device (let alone a “hybrid” or “convertible” device). Those people, just like me, are buying them for productivity tasks – eg getting some work done and not for gaming. The size/format of these devices don’t lean well to general gaming use and as I suspect that isn’t going to change.

Given that I own an Xbox 360, 2-3 Android devices and an Android Tablet, a touch-enabled all-in-one desktop, and now the ideaPad Yoga you’d probably expect the Xbox 360 to mostly be used for gaming. Actually, I very rarely play games on ANY of them – the Xbox is more a media hub and mostly for things like Netflix, and I occasionally fire up Angry Birds for 5 minutes on my phone, and that is about as much as I do. I doubt I’m alone on this. That’s not to say some people won’t want to, and indeed can play games, but perhaps the developers mistake was assuming that Windows RT is aimed and and ultimately used by the same type of user demographic as the iPhone/Android Phones and such, rather than the platform.

It’d be good if some of the various “online media” outfits thought things through and perhaps looked into the adoption and reasons people buy/use devices and create some useful news and information rather than just firing off half-baked articles based on a developers moaning, and look at WHY it might not be doing well…

Rant over!

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