Microsoft is way behind in mobile, and here’s how it’s catching up – CNBC

That idea of universal development is central to Microsoft’s grand plan. In order to take advantage of its full device suite — Xbox consoles, desktops, laptops, Surface tablets, mobile phones and even Hololens for augmented reality — cross-platform game development is essential. Build one version, let the device of choice figure out screen size and controls, and have the software automatically sync so that a user can stop playing on one device and pick up on another.

The Universal Windows Platform, first introduced as part of Windows 10, was on full display at Build.

In March, Microsoft made a move that was as symbolic as it was lucrative. The company shelled out about $500 million for Xamarin, whose software helps developers create apps across all major platforms. (Yes, that means iOS and Android.)

Microsoft knows that if small teams working on tight budgets have to choose where to focus their efforts, most are going to follow the audience — and the money.

Indie developers like Alain-Daniel Bourdages of GreenCod still need to see the results. With Android and iOS accounting for over 90 percent of the market, Windows has to show it can attract users and deliver returns to developers.

“I don’t want the market dominated by two players, so I wish the best for Microsoft,” said Bourdages, whose company’s casual games include “Pinball Deluxe,” “Bad Traffic” and “Snood,” and has struggled to make money on Windows. “As a developer, I want to spend dollars where I get the most bang for the buck. It comes down to market share.”


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