With the launch of Windows 8 on October 26, the stage is set for the PC to have resurgence in the gaming space. For years, developers have been inundated with news about the need to embrace the mobile space. With Windows 8, all the lines have been effaced as Windows 8 represents a convergence of the tablet, mobile and traditional desktop spaces. In the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8, Microsoft has improved the operating system’s performance and responsiveness.
Windows 8 Applications
The default UI for Windows 8 is Metro. However, Windows 8 comes with a mix of desktop and metro apps. Our favourites Paint and Notepad are desktop applications. The Metro UI is great for tablets but for desktop users, it tends to require a paradigm shift.
In this new world, the only way to get applications and games is through the Windows Store. Don’t get me wrong this is for apps and games that use the Metro UI. For traditional desktop applications, they can be installed the same way we have always done.
For developers, this means they have to get a Windows Store Developer Account. Once they have this, developers can then submit applications to the Windows Store for certification. The idea behind certification is to protect Windows 8 users.
The reason for using a framework is to speed up the development process. The above represent 5 framework companies that are in partnership with Microsoft. appMobi is an HTML5 framework for applications while the other 4 are for game development.
Over the course of the week, I did my research on the above 4 game frameworks and I strongly recommend GameMaker. GameMaker was developed in 1999 and has gone on to be a teaching tool for game development. For anyone interested in game development, I would recommend a look at GameMaker.
The business model for the company is freemium. You can download the free version and when you are ready to go commercial buy a relevant version that meets your needs. The beauty of GameMaker is that using the same program, you can export it to the Mac, Android, HTML5 and Windows 8.
In a move that was out of character for the software giant, the announcement of the Surface Pro tablet came as a surprise not just to consumers but to PC manufacturers. With this move, Microsoft is now setting the precedent that they are willing to compete with their hardware partners by building their own devices.
This reminds me of when Google announced the Chrome browser. The idea was to encourage quicker adoption of web standards by browser manufacturers. It would interest you to know that the Chrome browser is currently the best in the business.
I see a similar trend emerging here with the Surface Pro tablet. I expect the Surface team to work tightly with Windows 8 developers to optimize and improve their hardware. I also expect the Surface to be better than anything their competitors produce.
As far as openness is concerned, the end is near. With Microsoft taking control of its distribution; more platforms are going to close their doors. The tech world is gradually becoming reminiscent of the cold war era with iron curtains being put in place by the giants.
It’s like every giant out there wants to lock you in. Google has the Chrome browser which asks you to sign on with an email account (Gmail). From this one browser the advert sellers can get a glimpse into your online activities. Did I mention they have a social network that they signed you up for when you get Gmail?
Facebook is trying to do the same and become an all embracing platform but is yet to succeed. Amazon has its own devices that ensure you only buy your books from it. Apple well (I am too scared to even try talking about them)
With the launch of Windows 8, it is clear that there is a big market for game developers. Given the current state of the gaming space in West Africa, I would recommend that start-ups look at how to take advantage of the Windows 8 opportunity.
The next 3 years promise to be an exciting time. In the next 3 years we can expect Windows 9 to be in the market. I cite 3 years here because that is usually how long it takes Microsoft to release a new operating system.
It is hoped that in that time the West Africa gaming space would produce serious contenders on the global gaming scene. The news reports concerning the industry are good. What remains to be seen is if there is any substance to the hype. In the years to come, the story of how we used this opportunity to leverage the industry is really how history would be made.