Microsoft gave a free Xbox One to developers attending this week’s Build conference in San Francisco.
But that’s not the only way that it sees the game console helping it score points with developers.
Microsoft disclosed Wednesday that it plans to make it possible for developers to write a single program that can work across Windows, Windows Phone and, yes, the Xbox.
That’s where the console could help Microsoft on the mobile front. There are plenty of mobile app developers who spend their whole working day writing for Android and the iPhone.
But the same developers that ignore Microsoft’s PC and phone often have a different attitude toward its game console.
“Those particular developers may be in their basements playing Xbox after they’re done coding,” said Stephen Elop, the Nokia executive and soon-to-be-chief of Microsoft’s devices unit. That’s where Microsoft’s new pitch of Universal Windows Apps could help Microsoft win over some programmers that have thus far ignored its mobile operating systems.
“Hey, put your app up on the Xbox, and for a very small incremental effort, you’ve got it on all the other platforms,” Elop said.