As news of yet another developer parting ways with the Windows Phone platform, it might be time to put away the threats, pitchforks and torches and start asking some questions. Freemium game developer and interactive entertainment company Kabam is reported to have pulled out Windows Phone development stating in an email to Windows Central that “Kabam is now concentrating development on AAA quality games for Apple and Android mobile devices and has decided not pursue development for Windows Phones. Kabam is concentrating its resources on the biggest market opportunity, which is Apple and Android devices worldwide.”
While some Windows Phone users gut reaction to the news may be to curse or bad mouth Kabam, others are growing apathetic to the announcement. Games and apps come and frequently go on the Windows Phone platform, but for some reason users are witnessing an increased amount leave in the last few weeks.
Why? Regarding Kabam’s recent departure, this news is particularly troubling to figure out as the company had an agreement with the platform to bring multiple titles to Windows Phone. In the summer of 2014 Kabam pledged to deliver The Hobbit: Kingdom of Middle-earth, Fast & Furious 6: The Game, and Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon. Since their announcement, Kabam has only delivered Fast and Furious 6: The Game.
What new developments have occurred for Kabam to break their pledge? Some speculate that a $120 million dollar infusion from China-based e-commerce company Alibaba may have something to do with this. Conspiratory fantasies like these don’t answer the questions across the board for other disappearing developers.
Sure there are some companies that will never make it to the Microsoft ecosystem, like Snapchat and Pebble. Unbridled bigotry is something Microsoft cannot address on an individual basis and nor should they, but for the rest of the developers, leaving Windows Phone is simply business. Were the API’s found in Windows 8.1 not enough? Are the development prices too high? Is Microsoft focusing too much on desktop Windows 10 development? Are 80 million smartphone devices sold not enough? Does the Windows Phone team have any clue about what mobile trends are developing? Will Windows 10 answers any of these questions?
A year after presenting Windows Phone 8.1 and Microsoft are no closer to telling a coherent story for Windows Phone than they were before Windows 8. There is no clear trajectory Microsoft is on towards addressing many developer concerns. The company has increased Lumia sales at the expense of top tier markets for developer gains. It’s also baffling how Windows Phone is doing relatively well in markets Microsoft has poor reputations for distributing their services.
We can only hope this year, Microsoft can figure out how to sell the story of Windows Phone. Hopefully, Microsoft can also get their services and products like Music, Videos, Bing, Cortana, Maps, Xbox One, Surface, and others to markets where Windows Phone matters at the moment.