The PC software conglomerate wants more independent developers to flock to its new OS.
Windows 8 is kind of a problem. The last operating system was a great update to the maligned Vista, but Microsoft desperately wants to compete with the touchscreen ease of Apple's flagship iOS. Windows 8 is optimized for such screen touching, but unfortunately it comes along with terribly restrictive certification process and ignores the fact that most Windows users don't give a damn about touching the screen. We like the PC platform because of the accuracy of the mouse and keyboard, damn it. Game developers from Notch to Valve's Gabe Newell have come out against Windows 8, but Microsoft is still trying to court smaller development outfits to make games on the platform. The carrot dangled in front of the independent game designer? Well, money, in the form of the Windows 8 "Power Up" Game Apps Competition which will award prizes to the best game designed on Windows 8 in the UK submitted between now and December 14th.
One first place winner will receive a free PR campaign, a trailer worth 4,000 pounds, a £500 gift card, some mentorship sessions and a free phone, while second place earns £250 Visa Gift card and the phone. "The prize structure has been developed around the strategy of supporting the indie game space in the UK and fostering a vibrant and successful industry by giving developers and their titles the best chance of success through profile and discoverability," said the announcement. Also, discoverability is totally a word.
What depresses me about Microsoft's plan for Windows 8 is that it seems to blindly chase its chief competitor's success. Apple products are great because they know what they are designed to do and do those things well. Microsoft still has an incredible market share, but the initiative to ape Apple with the touchscreen interface of Windows 8 and the certification of games creating a wall between developers and the customer alienates the exact people who prefer PC. The whole reason the PC is a great tool is because Windows has allowed a mostly open platform for any software maker or hardware manufacturer to use.
Take that away, and you might as well buy a Mac. *shudder*