Visual Studio Brings Gamification to Windows Azure Development

In listening to the developer community, the Channel 9 team at Microsoft has heard the positive feedback about Visual Studio Achievements loud and clear: you want more. More than 80,000 downloads of the extension demonstrated that developers see achievement badges as a fun way to socially share the accomplishments they earn in what can sometimes be the lonely act of writing code.

New badges are available today, so now developers can unlock new achievements when using Visual Studio to write code for Windows Azure. Badges can be earned for proper cloud development usage, mobile+cloud scenarios, social gaming scenarios, or a dozen other developer-related accomplishments.

The power of “What If?”

Both crazy and pragmatic ideas have emerged by simply answering the question “what if?” For example, the Kinect for Windows SDK was created because a community of people wondered, “What if we used the Kinect for interactions other than gaming?” Similarly, Project Detroit was built because the drive-able lounge chair demonstrated on stage at MIX through motion-sensor automation begged the question: “What if we build a car?”

Last January, a great question was posed by a developer in the Channel 9 community who asked “What if Visual Studio had achievements?” on his While True blog. The community conversation sparked by the blog post as well as the Reddit post catalyzed the Visual Studio Achievements Extension. Given the growing importance of developing in the cloud, the team has just released new achievements for development in Windows Azure.

Got to play the game to win it

In the same way that FourSquare and Xbox users earn badges for the activities occurring within the community, Visual Studio now has 15 new achievements for developing applications in Windows Azure, bringing the total number of badges to 47.

Some achievements even seamlessly integrate the previously announced Windows Azure Toolkit for Mobile Development and Social Gaming. The program extension is complete with fun badges, a public leaderboard and built in social media sharing options. With achievements like “Show Me the Cache” for using Windows Azure Caching and “Tired of Waiting In Line” for using timeout features of Windows Azure queues, we’re excited for more people to get started and show off their Azure coding skills.

For MSDN subscribers, Microsoft Partners or BizSpark members this is also a great opportunity to take advantage of the free Windows Azure Benefits.

Links for additional information

· Download the updated Visual Studio Achievements Extension here

· Read more on Channel9

· Check out the latest Achievements Leaderboard

Posted by Karsten Januszewski
Software Development Engineer, Channel 9, Microsoft