With Steam essentially holding a monopoly on the digital gaming market, would-be competitors have to create more then a few compelling reasons for users to switch over to their storefront. With Microsoft’s Windows Store, there really hasn’t been one as of yet.
Recent releases such as Rise of the Tomb Raider have had users complaining of their Windows Store experience, especially compared to Steam. Key features such as not being able to disable v-sync and not allowing full-screen do not work for Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Windows Store release, while these features work just fine on the Steam. SLI and Crossfire have to be enabled by the developer for each title added to the store as well, which given the fact of how poorly the game has run on powerful systems, is not good.
On Twitter, the head of the Xbox division Phil Spencer states that they ‘appreciate’ the feedback and that they have ‘plans to improve.’ Or course, given the fact that we have heard this song and dance from Microsoft before, this is something that will most likely be taken with more then a few grains of salt.
Regardless, given that Microsoft is hosting a session at next month’s GDC called “The Future of Xbox Game Development for Windows”, this could mean that Spencer’s promised changes are indeed coming.
Dislodging Steam from its pedestal is an all but impossible task, but going at it in such a lazy way wins Microsoft no favors from the hardcore crowd. Microsoft has been doing better recently with listening and reacting to criticism, so I personally place this tidbit of news in the ‘perhaps’ file. Perhaps the Windows Store will get better, perhaps it won’t. Hopefully it does, because Microsoft could provide the competition that a complacent Valve needs to innovate.