Windows 8 Has Momentum For Native Freemium Games. Are you Ready?

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Kevin Ford

January 14th, 2013

NativeX has distributed hundreds of millions of Windows apps.  Now, Windows has gained momentum for supporting native freemium games with the arrival of Windows 8.  In this post, I’ll provide you a brief update regarding the market opportunity, building/porting your iOS or Android game, and services to boost your success.


Marketing Opportunity

There is a lot of buzz in the market about the Windows 8 launch successes, and failures.  My data comes from primary research that was collected when we actually built an app for Windows 8 (that was featured by Microsoft at launch), through developer relationships, and secondary research.

Install Base – On January 8th at CES, Microsoft revealed that they have sold 60M copies of Windows 8 since the October release (VentureBeat).  It’s not clear how many of these are Windows tablets, laptops, desktops, or phones but all have access to the Windows® Store.

Downloads – Microsoft revealed at CES that in the first 2 months of general availability they had 100M+ app downloads (PocketGamer).

Monetization – Existing Live accounts are supported on Windows 8 for handling credit card payments.  Microsoft is leveraging its huge bank of credit card accounts built through Xbox Live Memberships, Zune, etc.  Microsoft’s in-app purchase support is available but only for single item purchases at this time and not virtual currency, yet. They also their own ad product and are allowing third party payment and ad services.

Building or Porting Your App

Microsoft is embracing third party development tools, with the most popular tools either live or at various stages of deployment.  These include Unity, Game Salad, Unreal, Marmelade, and DirectX (using the Sharp DX wrapper).

Unity 4 is available to purchase by all developers but has not officially launched yet (expecting announcement soon).  Unity 4 is not backwards compatible but most developers will have a relatively easy time porting their games over.  Microsoft is providing full integration into Windows 8 as part of its collaboration with Unity.

Most games will primarily run in full screen mode, similar to the classic experience.  However, there is an advantage for Windows 8 games in the form of consistent interaction with the user.  Such interaction includes using a live tile, pinning secondary activities for your game to the OS, search and share contacts that you can publish (makes it easier to interchange data with them, games might share tournaments using this functionality), and search is built right into the OS so apps can listen to search on computer and respond with recommendations from the applications.

Services To Boost Your Success

NativeX has massive distribution and lucrative monetization services for Windows apps.  For select partners on Windows 8, we’ll consider providing some great distribution incentives too.  These are especially helpful while Microsoft perfects its in-app payment solution.

Microsoft is enrolling select partners into an accelerator program that includes access to training, architects, designers, and other support.  They also have dedicated Windows 8 labs.

Interested in exploring the Windows 8 freemium game opportunity further?  We can help you get signed up for the Microsoft accelerator program and will provide you our unbiased perspective on the market opportunity and more details about NativeX’s related services.  Reach out to

Kevin Ford

For all resources have them written by Kevin Ford, Marketing Manager


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