Updated: 04/30/2020 by Computer Hope

Platform may refer to any of the following:

Software on a table.

1. With computers, a platform is a set of installed hardware and software on a computing device required to run specific software. It's called a platform because it defines a set of capabilities upon which the software is built.


A platform may also be called a computing platform or a digital platform.

Why is a platform important?

For a developer, the platform provides a basic set of capabilities they can use when writing their software. The developer targets a platform, assured that if the user's device meets those requirements, it runs the intended software.

After software is developed for one platform, it can also be ported to another platform. Porting software is usually a complex and labor-intensive process.

As a user, the platform helps categorize a computer's abilities and allows them to know if a product is compatible with their computer. Platform requirements may include a specific operating system, CPU (central processing unit) type, or installed software libraries. For example, a video game may be designed for a platform like "a computer with a 64-bit CPU, at least 8 GB of RAM (random-access memory), running Windows 10, and DirectX version 10 or later." Only computers that meet those requirements can run the software.


The system requirements list the platform, hardware, and other software required to run a program or hardware device.

All software is designed for one or more specific platforms. Depending on the platform requirements, the software may be accessible to a broad or narrow group of potential users.

What is a device platform?

A device platform is a general description of the supported type of device. For example, when describing a game, a list of supported platforms may include the following devices.

A device platform gives the user a quick method of determining if the software would run on their device. However, in the case of a computer, the user should still read the system requirements to make sure their computer is powerful enough.


A company may indicate their software is supported on all platforms when it's web-based, which means any device capable of running the supported browser can run the web-based software.

.NET framework

2. In software development, the term platform may refer to a software framework that provides unique capabilities to a developer if it's included in their software.

For example, the Cocoa Touch framework provides tools for developing software that runs on iOS devices, such as an iPhone or iPad. The tools facilitate tasks specific to an iOS device, such as processing its touch screen input, connecting to the Internet, or sending the user a notification.

Super Mario Bros

3. A platformer is a popular genre of video game where the player controls a character that must jump from one platform to the next. Examples of platformer video games include Earthworm Jim, Celeste, and the Super Mario series.

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