Enthusiastic gamers out there are very well aware of the popular game stores. But no store comes close to matching the popularity of the Steam Store, based on the value it offers them.
Fans of Microsoft’s older games, such as Age of Empires II HD (a 2013 update of a 1999 game) know that it is available on Valve’s Steam platform. But its latest high-profile titles, such as Forza 6 Apex and Quantum Break are presently exclusively available on the Windows Store. Now, Microsoft is planning to release more titles on the popular Steam store.
Why is Microsoft Considering Steam?
With over 3,500 games from a wide variety of genres, Steam is undoubtedly the ultimate platform to launch and distribute a new game for PC gamers.
Microsoft, it seems has also acknowledged this fact and understands that some of its first-party games may do better at Steam.
While talking to Giant Bomb at E3, Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox team said:
“I don’t think Valve’s hurt by not having (Microsoft’s) first-party games in their store right now. They’re doing incredibly well.”
Spencer went on to name both Forza 6 Apex and Killer Instinct as successful titles on the Windows Store. He however also conceded that Quantum Break (from Remedy Entertainment) and Gears of War Ultimate Edition (from The Coalition) can do more better at the Steam Store.
Shortcomings of the Windows Store
Presently, the Windows Store is used to selling games via the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
Currently UWP has some important technical shortcomings such as having no option to disable V-sync and limited support for multiple Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).
More so, the Windows Store’s default setting to using the system drive for all installations was a problem.
With some games requiring 40GB+ space such as Quantum Break, the setting for using the primary Windows partition for Windows Store Downloads was an annoying limitation.
Not to mention, for many gamers with a fast SSD system drive combined with a larger spinning disk for their games, this was an absolute no-no.
Microsoft is working on addressing these limitations continuously. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will allow disabling v-sync and will feature improved support for multiple GPU setups. The latest builds of Store app make it easier to install games on different disks.
Which Games Will be Released on Steam?
To be specific, Spencer didn’t tell the names of games to be sold on Steam, nor their release dates. We can speculate that presently Microsoft plans to release only newer titles on Steam.
UWP and the Windows Store has constantly come under debate among game developers. Some game developers such as Tim Sweeney (EPIC Games) even called UWP a closed platform-within-a-platform that should and will eventually die (even though this isn’t really the case here).
Microsoft selling first-party games built with UWP on Steam will be helpful in proving that UWP apps are not completely tied to the Windows Store. They can demonstrably be sold by third parties.