Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been a great operating system and the successor, Windows Phone 8, is even better. Despite having an elegant design and fluidic interface, when people discuss about Windows Phone 7 or 8, the topic of app availability pops up. Windows Phone Store does have many good apps, but the store isn’t as big as Apple’s app store or Google Play Store for that matter. Windows Phone Store has most of the widely used apps and some great quality games too, but the choice is not as wide as what the competitors are offering. Apart from lagging behind in apps availability, Windows Phone Store is also lagging in terms of regions served in the world. The store is growing slowly and Microsoft cannot do much about it because it is entirely dependent on the developer’s interest, and since Windows Phone 8 devices are selling really well, the store will eventually get bigger with more and more developers getting attracted towards Windows Phone app development. Availability regions is however directly controlled by the software giant and they have done their job right by expanding the store to 42 new markets.
The 42 new markets where Windows Phone Store is available includes: Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo (DRC), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Paraguay, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
This brings the total to for the Windows Phone Store to 113 markets which makes it comparable comparable to iOS (155 markets) and Android (129 markets). The news was officially announced in a blog post today by Todd Brix. In the blog post, Brix has written about a series of upgrades to the Windows Phone Dev centre which will be rolling out today and are aimed to help improve the reliability and performance of the Dev Center and the app submission process.
Availability of Windows Phone Store in new markets will directly benefit developers whose apps are marked for worldwide distribution, and will of course benefit owners of Windows Phone devices in those countries as well. The upgraded Windows Phone Dev Centre will now support the two new rating for games in order to be sold in Taiwan and Russia.
The store will now support Taiwan’s Computer Software Rating Regulation (CSSR) game rating system, according to which all the new games and existing games need to have a valid CSSR rating in order to be sold in Taiwan from January 1, 2013 onwards. The CSSR is a self-rating process and the developer is supposed to submit the rating for each his games if the target markets include Taiwan. In Russia, PEGI ratings and rating certificates have been made mandatory. According to the rules, any new game or game update which includes Russia in its target markets should carry a PEGI rating.
What are your thoughts on the WP Store expansion?