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Aug 11

Windows 8 Developer program – It shouldn’t be this hard, We pass

To sum up really quick, We are no longer going to attempt to pursue Windows 8 developer programs at all. The length of my discussion with their support staff, asking very direct questions only to get vague answers without back up has just brought it to a halt. I thanked them for their time and told them I will not be publishing on their stores.

This is a follow up to my last post :
Windows 8 Developer Program – Part 2 : Response from Support

So per my last email I asked again specific questions, because no where anywhere is it stated that the $99 program #1 included a copy of professional Windows 8 for development (why would it, it would save any user hundreds of dollars), but according to ‘Barry’ from their support staff it does include that. Per the emails prior. When trying to get him to point me in that direction, and also explain to me EXACTLY what I need, after I fed him my current specs, he then came back and said (without ever mentioning the products) that it was some type of subscription where the windows came from. That tells me, that he was talking about a MSDN subscription! $700 a year for the most basic version, which still DOES NOT INCLUDE professional development tools, that version is somewhere above $1200 a year, per person.

My initial question was around the $99 developer program for the Windows 8 store, so now according to ‘Barry’ I have to also have a MSDN Subscription, or at least I need it to have a copy of ‘free windows 8’ – Furthest thing from free. Let me sum up here.

#1) I asked about the $99 program, what does it actually include (Windows 8? or just sell on the store, and which stores)
A) I heard from many web reports that VS pro was reequired to publish to the Windows 8 Desktop store, hence my questions around the ‘free VS’ tools
#2) I then asked if the $99 doesn’t cover the required software, given my hardware specs what tools do I need to purchase so we can develop and publish on their platform
A) Please note that I was actually trying to port my games / apps there. My company does about 6-10 apps a year currently (over 3 platforms, so ~ 24-30 apps).

After my previous email (which you can read from the last 2 posts) they responded with this:

Yes, to answer your questions, it is a full Windows 8, with a developer subscription to the windows store you do get access to windows 8. I realize that having a full year developer subscription is probably not what you are going for right now, I just wanted to make you aware of that. Please let me know if you have any questions. I would be more than happy to help.

Thank you

-Barry

So to re-iterate it’s still not clear above, but it sounds like he’s talking MSDN. As I stated I read all the documentation all the links (‘Barry’ would only give ma link to the entry page, not the details I was asking on), no where is it stated Windows 8 comes with a subscription ($99). So, since it’s been 4 emails, I’m just tired of it, I have way too much work on other platforms, and to be honest I love developing on OSX / iOS. Having been part of Apple for 5 years I’ve come accustomed to their tools and workflows, but more importantly the information you want is very accessible, and if it’s not you will get clear answers from their tech support. I have been in software development / self publishing for 15 years now. It plain and simple should not be this hard, it almost seems as ‘Barry’ is being a bit smug with me, which is infuriating, and just goes to show how Microsoft just really doesn’t give a crud about the direction computers / users have moved forward. It’s not just about enterprise anymore.

Here’s my last mail to Microsoft to sum up my thoughts on the process.

Hi Barry,

For some reason I feel really thick. I have been developing software for various platforms for 15 years and I feel like the Microsoft Process is just beyond me, the information provided doesn’t match anything I’m hearing from you. The program you’re referring to sounds like an MSDN subscription, that was not what I was after. I’m just looking at what I need to publish apps, the $99 windows 8 developer program. The MSDN subscription is $700+ per year.

Even on the MSDN Page (as well as the developer program page) neither state that windows is included. I think since I’ve spent months on this, I’ll just give it a pass and skip your platform(s) all together. It really shouldn’t be this difficult to find basic information.

Thanks for your time.

That’s that, I’m done. I won’t even humor them with a further response, I feel like they are just sitting a bit higher than me, and feel that I’m not worth their time to even answer an email clearly. All said, farewell, good luck with your store, I’m sure you’ll do well with your little indie devs like Rovio.

P.S. – This doesn’t mean we won’t do anything for MS Platforms, right now we will look at publishing apps potentially on web, sell direct (if we can manage the time), or Steam if we have a title we think will fit their platform one day. It’s just a shame we are mobile developers first, and we love new hardware, but as I said before, if it’s that hard to start, imagine what it’ll be like to finish.

If you want to find out more, here’s some ‘tips’ to publish for Windows 8, please note 1 step is ‘read all the documentation’ good luck, I couldn’t even navigate the mess of their homepage even with their support helping. With barriers like this, I see a big delay in getting anything up and running on Windows 8 stores, which is just time / money lost. We make so many apps / games a year we can’t spend 6 months trying to approve something. Anyway, here’s the link for your enjoyment.

Windows 8 Top 10 Tips for Passing Windows Store Certification

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