Microsoft says it is committed to supporting the PC gaming stores of the competition and announces today that it will distribute more Xbox Game Studios titles through the Valve Steam market. In general, Microsoft has distributed its games only through Xbox Live on its gaming console platform and through its own Windows store on the PC. Now, Microsoft says it wants to better support player choice and allow customers to buy games in more than one destination on the PC.
"Our intention is to make our Xbox Game Studios PC games available at various stores, including our own Microsoft Store on Windows, at launch, we think you should choose where to buy your PC games," writes Phil Spencer , head of Xbox, in a blog post announcing the change of strategy, the move follows Microsoft's decision to publish its next Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Steam.
"We will continue to add more of 20 Xbox Game Studios titles on Steam, starting with Gears 5 and all Age of Empires I, II, and III: Definitive Editions, " Spencer explains." We know that millions of PC players trust Steam as a great source for buying PC games and we have listened to the comments that PC players would like to choose. "
It's not an unusual move for Microsoft these days, especially since Spencer took over the Xbox division in 2014 under executive chair Satya Nadella, who promoted it again in the fall of 2017 to execute all the The company's game initiatives spanning Xbox and Windows 10.
The two have worked together to build a much more open and cooperative Microsoft, and that has led to many really friendly advances with players in the Xbox and Xbox departments. Windows Xbox games published by Microsoft can now be played on the PC for free, thanks to the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, while Microsoft worked with Nintendo and game developers like Epic and Psyonix to successfully apply the pressure on Sony so that support the multiplatform game. The company is also a pioneer in a new gaming business model with its Xbox Game Pass subscription, and its upcoming xCloud cloud gaming service is ready to present a completely new distribution model to deliver games and possibly update how they are financed. and sell the games.
What is remarkable in this case is that Microsoft is somehow in opposition to Epic Games, a company whose CEO Tim Sweeney once criticized Microsoft for trying to create a closed ecosystem with its Windows universal platform strategy, which He tried to distribute all the software. Including games for PC, exclusively through its own store.
"Microsoft has built a closed platform within a platform in Windows 10," Sweeney wrote in a 2015 op-ed piece in The Guardian "as the first apparent step towards consumer closure The ecosystem of PC and the distribution and commerce of applications that monopolize. "At that time, Sweeney asked Microsoft to allow developers to publish games created with UWP in other stores, and went so far as to say that UWP" can, should, must and he will die. "
Now, it's Epic who is trying to impersonate Steam with his own game store and is embroiled in a controversy derived mainly from its exclusivities, securing with the developers, of course, Epic's approach. It is very different from Microsoft at the time, since it is not the owner of the Windows operating system and it does not approach the level of power and control that Microsoft had when trying to promote The UWP But Epic, which has reached an unprecedented level of power in the PC market due to the success of Fortnite is discovering how difficult it is to dethrone Steam.
On the other hand, Microsoft has completely surrendered in that vision and, instead, is adopting a much more open model. And it extends beyond the game. Microsoft recently announced a partnership with Google to rebuild its Edge browser, once built in UWP, using the Chromium open source framework.
"We also know that there are other stores on PC, and we are working to allow more options in which store you can find our Xbox Game Studios titles in the future," writes Spencer, indicating that Microsoft may publish its games at some point. in the Epic store too. Spencer goes on to say that the company is committed to providing voice and text chat, friend lists and cross games via PC and console for all the titles it publishes in Xbox Game Studios. "In Windows 10 you will find this functionality in the Xbox game bar, which we will continue to evolve and expand," he adds.
In addition to this change to support Steam and competing stores, Microsoft says it is also opening support in Microsoft Store for games created as native Win32 applications, which is the predominant Windows application format and format in the one that UWP was designed to replace. All this, but he assures that UWP will not be in agreement with the studies of games that could have been forced to adopt the format in the last years to better access the main functions of Windows 10.
"We recognize that Win32 is the format of application that game developers love to use and players love to play, so we are pleased to share that we will enable full compatibility for native Win32 games in Microsoft Store on Windows, "Spencer writes" This will unlock more options for developers and players, allowing the customization and control they expect from the open Windows gaming ecosystem. "