Why Disney needs to release its Disney+ Xbox app for Windows 10 PCs

Disney+ on Windows 10
Disney+ on Windows 10 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Disney+ is all the news today. With Star Wars, Marvel, and all that original Disney back catalog for just $7 a month, it's an enticing online service. Disney also has done an admirable job of launching on nearly every device available including the Xbox One.

While Windows 10 users can install the Disney+ site as a web app, it's a mystery why users can't use the Xbox app on Windows 10. All apps on the Xbox One are part of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which means with a few tweaks, the Xbox One app can run on Windows 10.

Disney+ Xbox app works on Windows ... so what's the deal?

Disney+ for Xbox

Source: Windows CentralYou can sideload the Disney+ Xbox app onto Windows 10. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Windows Central Senior Editor Zac Bowden managed to get the Xbox file, and it installs just fine on Windows 10 PCs (unfortunately, it has not been compiled for ARM64). While the app is missing some keyboard and touch controls (you can navigate with a mouse), it's also evident that most of the coding is complete for Windows 10. Compared to the web-based Disney+, the Xbox app is using the superior HEVC H.265 codec, which delivers outstanding audio and image quality. It certainly sounds better than the web-based version.

As to why Disney is not opting to optimize and release its Disney+ app for Windows 10, I have no idea. It seems trivial to bring to PC once the app coding is complete for Xbox. And it is.

Going by early reviews in the Microsoft Store, a lot of other people are not happy either. The app sits at just two stars (out of 5) with 17 reviews. However, the complaints are about it not being on Windows 10, not the performance of the app.

None of this is new to Windows 10. Amazon still doesn't have an Amazon Prime Video app for Windows 10, yet it has one for Xbox One. AMC, CBS, Showtime, and HBO all follow the same disappointing path. I have heard from one developer who works on these projects that engagement on Windows 10 is very low compared to Xbox. It makes sense as most people watch TV and movies in their living room, on a streaming box or console

Still, with the push over Windows 10 on ARM and more portable always-connected PCs hitting the market, the desire to watch these services on the go is understood. Apple's iPad has no issue with app adoption. While Windows 10 pales in comparison to the iPad for consumptive media usage, it doesn't help that even if you wanted to use the Surface Pro X or Surface Go for this purpose, you can't.

I'm not sure how Microsoft ever solves this problem. One thing we can do is pester Disney to take the few extra steps and release its UWP app for all Windows 10 devices. In the meantime, our friends at Aggiornamenti Lumia are hosting the Disney+ Xbox UWP app on MEGA, so have at it.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.