Microsoft’s Windows operating system is the go-to for PC gamers, but some aspects of Windows 10 have fallen short. One of the biggest criticisms is the Microsoft Store (Windows Store), that offers games and apps in a one-click install. Microsoft publishes all of its first-party games through the store, and PC gamers are forced to buy these games exclusively from the store.
Unfortunately, some games come with odd restrictions that you wouldn’t typically see in regular desktop PC games. These range from not supporting overlays from apps like Fraps or Discord, to no Nvidia Shadowplay support in some titles, and even no sound when you alt-tab out of a game in some Microsoft Store games. The download and install procedure for Microsoft Store games is often buggy, with failed installs and error codes a particular headache for some PC gamers.
All of these issues have led to Microsoft promising to do better. “I think we’ve got a ton of work to do on Windows,” admitted Xbox chief Phil Spencer at XO18 this weekend. “Windows is something I’m very committed to, I’ve heard the feedback about our Store. I’m going to take a bigger leadership role on what’s going on with the Windows Store, make it really tailored to the gamers that we know want to see the best from what we have to offer.”
Spencer’s promises to fix the Microsoft Store come just months after he also revealed the software maker is “reworking” its Xbox app for Windows 10. The existing Xbox app is great if you’re used to Xbox, but PC gamers demand more functionality like fine controlling party chat audio and being able to update games automatically. Microsoft’s Xbox app on Windows 10 lacks the ability to control game installs and updates, as this is all handled by the Microsoft Store which regularly fails to update games automatically.
There’s clearly a lot of work to be done to improve the PC gaming experience on Windows, and Spencer’s hints show that Microsoft has heard the feedback loud and clear. Steam dominates distribution of games on PC, and Microsoft has started publishing some of its first-party games there. Titles like Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves are still only available on the Microsoft Store, while Quantum Break made it to Steam two years ago.