Nokia turns to gamification to attract developers

Is gaining XP and swag enough of an incentive to build apps for Windows Phone?

Nokia has begun incorporating "gamification" into its developer community in a bid to motivate amateurs and professionals to create apps for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 ecosystem.

According to Nick Abbott, head of developer experience at Nokia, the DVLUP program, just launched in Australia, encourages developers to work together to gain experience points (XP) while building out their applications.

"Gamification of development is the best way to think of it," Abbott said. "If you build an app and include in-app advertising, you get a number of points. You publish to particular markets, you get more points.

"As you build up points, you can accumulate enough to win prizes — handsets, giveaways, accessories, even merchandising, where if you score the top in a particular category, we might merchandise your app in 50 of our top markets so you can get exposure."

Abbott said that the program would not only seek to motivate younger, amateur developers, but also professional developers.

"There are depth developers which have branded apps — the big corporate developers, who are building an app to grow their business — and ... breadth developers who are learning how to use in-game advertising or the imaging SDK [standard developer kit] this is a way to look at some of the different technologies and incorporate them into your apps and gain experience points," he said. "It is the gamification of development."

Commenting on developers' willingness to produce apps for the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, Abbott claimed that the platform is gaining traction among both devs and consumers.

Evidence for this could be seen in the number of available apps growing from 15,000 in 2011 to 170,000 as at August 2013, Abbott said.

In addition, developers for Windows Phone 8 now number 200,000 — a doubling in 12 months — while the Windows 8 app store now had five million apps downloads daily.

"The store has increased out to 191 different markets around the world," he said. "What that means for an Australian developer is that there is massive potential across the world.

"With the number of PCs being sold worldwide with Windows 8, there is a great ability to leverage as a developer the code that you write for Windows 8 with the code you write for Windows phone."

Tim Lohman travelled to TechEd2013 as a guest of Microsoft.


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