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Xbox One to Windows Phone: Microsoft's new universal apps run on both

Xbox One to Windows Phone: Microsoft's new universal apps run on both

April 2, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Microsoft announced today that its Visual Studio 2013 development environment has, among other updates, been improved to allow developers to create apps that can be easily cross-ported to Xbox One and Windows devices.

These cross-platform apps, now known as "universal projects" within the lexicon of Visual Studio 2013, are intended to allow developers to create software -- a game, for example -- and deliver it onto Xbox One and Windows phones, tablets and PCs using roughly ninety percent of the same code, a common user interface and a single software package.

The update was announced during Microsoft's Build 2014 conference, which kicked off today and runs through the rest of the week at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

It sounds like there's a little wiggle room in the code to allow developers to tweak the appearance and input options of their cross-platform games based on which device they're being played on -- adding in Kinect support for the Xbox One version of a game, for example.

Also, developers can choose to make these apps universal -- buy it once in the Windows Store and you can download it on any of your devices -- or charge different, individual rates for the app depending on which platform you're purchasing it for.

During the event Microsoft also confirmed that it intends to update the Windows Store to improve the shopping experience, with planned upgrades to the recommendation engine, the search tools and the ways that developers can make their apps more discoverable by potential customers.

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