Making Real Money Building Windows 8 Apps

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By Kevin Ashley

Making money with Windows 8

Kevin Ashley

Making money with Windows 8

Why should developers build Windows 8 apps? Card Games Chest is one of my Windows 8 apps, together the apps are making more than $30,000 per month in ad revenue and sales (in-app purchase and ads, apps are free), the top app alone made around $20K. The apps enjoyed a hockey-stick growth in the number of downloads. Windows 8 was launched just a few months ago, and already it’s generating revenue for the first apps in the market.

Today I want to share a few tips with you on how to maximize and sell your apps in the Windows Store. For a deep dive into these techniques and development tips, check out my book Professional Windows 8 Application Development, I wrote it together with my colleague and friend Doug Holland and other authors. The book includes examples of in-app purchases, trials, ads and other monetization techniques, some of which I used in my apps, as well as practical development chapters on nearly every aspect of Windows 8 development. Also, GenerationApp is a great resource from design guidance to coding resources, get help making your app stand out.


What to expect from the Windows Store? The Windows Store helps you build, deploy, distribute, and sell your Windows 8 apps and in-app products. As a developer, you also have the option to monetize your app through ad revenue using the Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows 8 (as I have in my apps!). Integrating the SDK into your app is quick and easy to do – with a few lines of code, you can quickly get ads being served in your app in a non-intrusive manner.

On the paid apps and in-app purchases side, one significant advantage of the Windows Store, compared to the Apple or Google stores, is that your revenue share actually increases, as you make more sales. You take home 70%, and Microsoft commission is 30%, same as Apple or Google, but once your app starts making $25,000 in revenue, you take home 80%. As your app scales, you can expect to take home more, for example on a $1 million revenue, you’ll be taking home $97K more in revenue than your Apple or Google competitors. As a developer I like that.


So, for example you have a game. Games are typically trial enabled, and may have in-app purchases in them. What it means is, you can let your customer download the game for a limited period of time, and then ask them to pay. You can also include paid levels or products into your games, or consumable products spent while playing the game, for example magic items, credits or gold.

As a Windows Store apps developer you have a rich set of APIs to sell your products and test the app, before it goes into the store.

Professional Windows 8 Application Development book has an example called Paint Shopping app, in Chapter 11. That example illustrates techniques used to monetize your apps.


Windows 8 is a fantastic operating system, fast, fluid, with beautiful modern design targeting both tablet and desktop, sensors, NFC support, amazing new concepts built into user interface both touch and desktop, and did I mention: it’s fast! I can also re-use most of my code for Windows Phone. The beauty of Windows is that it spans across all kinds of devices: from phones to tablets, to desktops, to servers and gaming consoles, such as XBOX.
For general Windows information: http://www.microsoft.com/windows

From design guidance to coding resources, get help making your app stand out with GenerationApp, a program by Microsoft to help and connect developer community with Microsoft programs.

Windows is very developer friendly. You have plenty of languages and modern technologies to choose from, and the development tools, Visual Studio and Blend are stunningly good! You can use JavaScript and HTML5, C#, XAML and .NET, or C++. You can also use many of the frameworks to build your apps, most of them support Windows.
For Windows Development, go to: http://dev.windows.com
For Windows Phone: http://dev.windowsphone.com

Some developers ask me about the best PCs to choose: visit a Microsoft Store, check out some new models available there. I personally like convertibles, and the touch screen is highly recommended. There’re so many vendors, that it really becomes the choice of your lifestyle.
Go to: http://www.microsoftstore.com


If you are developing apps for iOS or Android, or just starting to experiment with development, or have some experience building code, welcome to Windows 8! We have a rapidly growing marketplace, excellent tools and an incredible community. Only your creativity is the limit to what you can achieve.


Windows Phone is a great companion device for your Windows 8 apps. I recently built a top app for Windows Phone as well, and I think every developer should consider both Windows 8 and Windows Phone, because they are also part of the ecosystem and augment each other. The apps are very easy to port from one system to another.

This article was reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. This site does business with Microsoft Corporation.

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