Partner Spotlight : Microsoft

Grads In Games Partner Spotlight : Microsoft

Microsoft have been a core part of the Search For A Star competitions for several years now, with games projects developed using DreamSpark and Visual Studio Online & published to the Windows Store. Each year the finals for the code competition are held at the Microsoft UK Campus near Reading at a showcase & conference event celebrating graduates and the games industry.

Microsoft are a world leader in technology and have driven advances in cloud computing. Alongside introducing new ways for people to interact with technology, their innovation has transformed education and public services, through their emphasis on computer science and technology in academia, and through their support of start-up businesses. Microsoft are committed to making technology accessible to everyone and helping communities to grow.


[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Use professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost.[/pullquote]

One of the pioneering services Microsoft provide both for our competition and students in general is DreamSpark, a program designed to support technical education by providing free Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes. DreamSpark is available for students, educators and academic institutions as a whole. For students, it allows them to use professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost, empowering them with the head start they need for their future career.

Microsoft recognises the importance of inspiring and nurturing young talent. So for educators, DreamSpark enables them to incorporate a varied set of resources to challenge and motivate their students to succeed. The DreamSpark programme provides a cost-effective way of helping academic institutions reduce lab costs and teaching budgets, whilst aiding students to succeed academically.

Visual Studio Online

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]VSO enables you to code with confidence and fix issues with ease.[/pullquote]

Adding onto their dedication for helping students and start-ups, in 2013 Microsoft introduced Visual Studio Online; a free, cloud-based and extensible IDE that can be used for creating applications across a variety of platforms like Windows, Android and iOS. A core tool in the Search For A Star games development projects, Visual Studio Online allows individuals and start-ups to do performance and load testing entirely free of cost. Giving you full control over your source repository, Visual Studio Online provides you with access to thousands of extensions, enabling you to code with confidence and fix issues with ease.

As well as allowing individual developers to create their own free or paid apps, Visual Studio Online benefits organisations by allowing an unlimited number of users within a company to use the service for classroom learning, academic research and open source projects.

Microsoft Azure

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Azure allows you to create and deploy modern, cross-platform applications faster.[/pullquote]

Another valuable service for developers and IT professionals is Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure is a collection of integrated cloud services that includes analytics, computing, mobile, networking and storage. The pre-built templates and integrated tools enable developers to better build and manage their services.

Azure supports a selection of operating systems and programming languages, like JavaScript, Python and PHP, and a variety of devices like iOS, Android and Windows. So whatever your preferred language or set up, Azure allows you to create and deploy modern, cross-platform applications faster.

Microsoft Azure is available free to students & Educators via the DreamSpark programme.


Through their utilisation of cloud technology, Microsoft services like DreamSpark, Visual Studio Online and Azure allow individuals and organisations to reduce unnecessary costs and time, whilst maximising their efficiency in academia and the workplace.

[button text=”Click here to learn more about Microsoft’s cloud services, with tools and resources provided at no cost to you.” color=”blue” link=””]


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