Microsoft has brought changes to the Dev Center to make it more appealing. One of the most significant is making registration lifetime and removing the one year renewal limitation which would previously make you pay a yearly amount to keep your app in the Windows or Windows Phone stores.
Additionally, Microsoft is introducing changes to the Dev Center Benefits program meant to help your apps reach success. It comes in three packages: Explorer, Expert, and Master. The Explorer gets guidance and consulting, gift cards; expert receives advertising offers, publishing contract; and the master offers VIP access to developer marketing and support, early access to SDK. Check out each programs here for more details about each.
Lastly, Microsoft is improving the monetization and performance for ads in your apps. With many developers relying on ad revenue for their apps, this is a significant upgrade. Microsoft, last month, released pubCenter custom reports that allow developers to analyze ad performance by market. Further, Microsoft Advertising has released improvements to matching Windows Phone ads with apps, with initial reports showing a 50% higher total ad revenue for apps. September also saw the release of a streamlined payout process that resulted in 50% faster payout times. Yesterday, Microsoft Advertising Exchange also includes Windows and Windows Phone Ads-in-Apps inventory in 10 markets.
All you have to do to use these new features is make sure your app is using the latest Microsoft Ad SKD. There is a guide to improve app monetization here. As a bonus, ad-exchange platform Smaato has also released a new ad SDK for WP 8.1 XAML.