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 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, at blog post announcing the change of strategy The move follows Microsoft's decision to publish its next publication. Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Steam.
"We will continue adding more than 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've heard the comments that PC gamers would like."
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 of the company's gaming initiatives , Xbox and Windows 10.
The two have worked together to build a more open and cooperative Microsoft, and that has led to many really friendly advances with players in the Xbox and Windows departments. 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 new business model for games with its Xbox Game Pbad subscription, and its upcoming xloud cloud gaming service has been introduced in a completely new distribution model to deliver games and potentially update how they are financed and sold. the games.
What is remarkable in this case is that Microsoft is a bit opposed to Epic Games, a company whose CEO Tim Sweeney once criticized Microsoft for trying to create a closed ecosystem with its Universal Windows platform strategy, which tried to distribute all the software, including PC games. , exclusively through its own store.
"Microsoft has built a closed platform within a platform in Windows 10," Sweeney wrote in 2015 online. The Guardian, "As the first apparent step toward blocking the consumer PC ecosystem and monopolizing the distribution and commerce of applications." At that time, Sweeney asked Microsoft to publish games created with UWP in other stores. He went so far as to say that UWP "can, should, should and will die".
Now, it is Epic that is trying to supplant Steam with its own game store and is involved in a controversy, mainly because of its exclusivity contracts that it protects with the developers. Of course, Epic's approach is very different from Microsoft's at the time, it does not own the Windows operating system and it does not have anywhere near the level of power and control that Microsoft had when trying to push the UWP. But epic, it has grown to an unprecedented level of power in the PC market due to the success of Fortnite, discovering how difficult it is to dethrone Steam.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has completely renounced 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 choose more in which store you can find our Xbox Game Studios titles in the future," Spencer writes, noting that Microsoft will eventually publish its games at the Epic store. Spencer also 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 will continue to evolve and expand," he adds.
In addition to this change to be compatible with Steam and competing stores, Microsoft says it also opens support in the Microsoft store for games created as native Win32 applications, which is the predominant Windows application format and the format that UWP was designed to replace. All this, but ensures that UWP will not agree with the studies of games that have been forced to adopt the format in recent years to better access the main functions of Windows 10.
"We recognize that Win32 is the format of the application that developers use to use and players love to play, so we are pleased to share that we will enable full support for native Win32 games in Microsoft Store on Windows," writes Spencer. "This will open more options for developers and players, allowing the customization and control they expect from the open Windows gaming ecosystem."