The next billion people to get connected will have never used a desktop computer, says James Pearce

Facebook: Going cross-platform is non-negotiable

Going cross-platform has become non-negotiable for developers, says Facebook’s head of developer advocacy.

Speaking at the Facebook Mobile DevCon in London, James Pearce said it was important to release apps and games on as many platforms as possible in order to reach their audience, as it was hard to know what platform they may be using when they discover your app.

He argued that it had become "an obligation" for developers to go cross-platform, particularly in the case of driving users through Facebook, as more and more users are getting directed to apps from a variety of different platforms.

“Cross platform at this point is non-negotiable,” said Pearce.

“We have to do it and you’ll have to do it. You’re developing for people, and you have no idea what they’re going to use.”

Pearce also stated that one of the major reasons to go cross-platform was because he believed that the next billion people to be ‘connected’ will have never used a computer.

He went on to say that these new users would not just come from developing countries, but all over the world, and they would expect devices to allow for social interaction, arguing social is not a gimmick, but now a mandatory expectation.

“I’m not just talking about developing countries; I’m talking about the next billion people everywhere. You expect this technology to be social,” he said.

“People are going to seek out the experiences that do that for them and they will prefer those experiences over the ones that do not. Social by design is not a gimmick. It’s going to become a mandatory expectation you need to fulfil.”

Facebook engineer Simon Cross also eulogised the benefits of developing cross-platform content, stating it allowed users to experience a single app in a different setting throughout the day or week wherever they are.

He cited statistics from the NPD that claimed the average US household ad 5.7 internet-connected devices, proving that cross-platform was “non-negotiable”.

“By building cross-platform you’re doing two things, you’re reaching into the social graph,” said Cross.

“But critically you’re building your experience into multiple contexts. I have an experience with your app across many platforms throughout the week.”

He added:” In fact, the best apps aren’t apps at all, they’re services.”

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