The Windows 10 Store is an awful experience for core gamers, and it needs to change

Surface Pro Microsoft Store
Surface Pro Microsoft Store (Image credit: Windows Central)

While some progress has definitely been made with Microsoft's app store offerings, the current format is clunky at best, counter-intuitive at worst. Our Executive Editor Daniel Rubino recently discussed the notion on the latest episode of Ask Dan Windows, and it's a question I often see thrown around on reddit, Twitter, and other networks.

Step into any PC gamer's community, and you will see near-universal revulsion for the Windows 10 Store as a solution for delivering video games. I'd argue that a large part of that mentality is due to latent anti-Microsoft sentiment, but the way the Windows 10 Store is set up doesn't do Microsoft any favors.

Things have improved, but two years after Windows 10's launch, the Store is simply unpleasant to use not only if you're a core gamer, but even if you're a mobile gamer, serving nobody in the process.

Core PC games need their own storefront

Perhaps the most obvious thing I think Microsoft should do is either give core Xbox-enabled PC games their very own exclusive storefront or bake them into the existing Windows 10 Xbox app. The reasons for this are numerous, but the potential solutions are sadly, a little murky.

The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) isn't Universal

You can't tell at a glance whether a game on the Windows 10 Store is for "PC" or "Mobile." By lumping all games together into one big, hideous mess, Microsoft has devalued the quality PC content that does exist in the Windows 10 Store. Microsoft might feel that "games are games," but not all gamers want to play all types of game. Furthermore, not all Windows 10 Store games are available on all Windows 10 Store endpoints.

Protip: A large portion of these Windows 10 games aren't designed for PC.

Protip: A large portion of these Windows 10 games aren't designed for PC.

Additionally, some (a lot of) "games" are in fact shovelware designed to siphon money from bored commuters, rather than games. These are often known as mobile games, yet Microsoft's store doesn't make the differentiation until you enter the store listing. This results in some awful user experience that has core PC gamers fleeing the store in favor of more tailored experiences, like Steam, or GOG.

Mobile games simply have a different audience

Of course, there are exceptions, such as Fallout Shelter, Tiny Troopers, or Minecraft, but the vast, vast majority of the games that make up the Windows 10 Store are throwaway touch-based games left over from the Windows 8 era, either crammed with ads, pay-to-win microtransactions or are simply just abandonware. What business does Resident Evil 7 or Astroneer have sitting next to games like Candy Crush Saga? None. And Microsoft isn't helping either market by putting them all in the same pot.

Mobile games rose to the fore in an age of perpetual connectivity, where human beings simply can no longer tolerate even fleeting moments of boredom. Games like Candy Crush are designed to require the least amount of involvement possible since they know mobile gaming is performed in a transitory way, during dull stints on public transport, or while slacking off at work. At any moment, you'll have to put the game away, and mobile games are designed around this pick-up, put-down mentality.

Core games are designed for a different purpose - fun. And thus, serve an entirely different market to the likes of Angry Birds, particularly on PC.

Microsoft might have data that suggests otherwise regarding engagement, but this is about appearances and usability. When gamers dive into the Windows 10 Store, core PC gamers, looking for games they're likely not looking for a quick jaunt through MicrotransactionVille 6. Until Microsoft realizes (or accepts) this, the Windows 10 Store is never going to be seen as a credible solution alongside services like Steam, GoG, or even the oft-derided Origin.

The Windows 10 Store has a bad reputation, and it's getting worse

Another hard truth for Microsoft is, the Windows 10 Store isn't good, and people are aware.

The issue here is one of curation, though. There are some great apps in the Windows 10 Store, such as Instagram, Slack, Polarr, Readit, MyTube, the list goes on. They're just hidden in a deluge of awful apps left over from the Windows 8 days. Clearly, Microsoft is only keeping them around to pad the numbers.

These are bad things.

These are bad things.

Finding good apps can be a chore, and to some degree, it's understandable that Microsoft would want quality games like Halo Wars 2 to sit front and center in among the junk to elevate the store's image. It's also understandable in the sense that, if Microsoft wants to court developers into using UWP, then they need to make good on the promise that there are hundreds of millions of Windows 10 users active in the store. Even if they're looking for Facebook Messenger, perhaps they'll see the latest Telltale game with Xbox Live integration advertised and make an impulse purchase. The more traffic into the store can only be a good thing, right?

I'd argue that if a PC gamer's first experience with the Windows 10 Store is a bad one, they're never going to come back.

I'd argue that if a PC gamer's first experience with the Windows 10 Store is a bad one, they're never going to come back. The fact that Halo Wars DE and, likely, Halo Wars 2 are coming to Steam, suggests to me that the Windows 10 Store is already far below Microsoft's expectations for engagement on the gaming front, and the situation probably won't be improving anytime soon.

As it stands, UWP games delivered by the Windows 10 Store represents a great feature for console gamers who enjoy Xbox Play Anywhere. However, I'm not sure whether it's worthwhile for PC-exclusive gamers to wade through the swamp in order to find the few decent games on there, particularly when they're already deeply invested in Steam.

The Windows 10 Store's design is still, really, really bad

After two years of Windows 10 Store updates, it's still a terrible app. It's ugly, uninformative, and worst of all, inconsistent. Not the best first impression if you're a Steam user. Or well, the user of any app store that isn't the Windows Store.

Some games have Xbox Live banners on them to inform you that they have achievements, while some, don't. You can't filter by PC and mobile "casual" games, and the games tab often lists titles that handle poorly without a touch-screen, on PCs without a touch screen. It's just tragic and feels like the entire store is another one of Microsoft's big afterthoughts.

Steam: it's just better.

Steam: it's just better.

You can sense the lack of quality a mile off. Compare the Windows 10 Storefront to the rich, vast wealth of dynamic information, curation options, and filters you receive on Steam. The two aren't even vaguely comparable. It's like summer interns designed the Windows 10 Store, while Steam plows ahead.

I've been defending the Windows 10 Store for years at this point. I was willing to accept its basic levels of functionality during the first iteration, and the second, and maybe even the third, but we're getting to the point now where it actually needs to be more than just a side project. We still can't gift games or apps, the search functionality is too keen to offer irrelevant results, and the filters and collections are buried below the fold. You can get a list of all the best weather apps, and all Xbox Live-enabled PC games, but average users will have given up long before getting there - and this is something I saw time and time again from working in the IT industry.

Microsoft: you can't just lump all games together

When it comes to issues of curation, there's no simple solution, particularly where UWP is concerned. While some games clearly live in a core gamer's library, like Gears of War 4 or Forza Horizon 3, there are games which tend to bridge a gap between casual/mobile/pay-to-win and real, actual games, such as Plague Inc. and Fallout Shelter. Where do you draw the line if the plan is to create separate stores?

The logical conclusion would be to just slap any Xbox-certified games in the Xbox app, which indeed, has its own store. There's a tab for Windows 10, but it includes crapware and shallow marketing ploys like Minion Rush. The store in the Xbox app should be solely for actual games, which live up to a minimum level of, you know, being a real game.

It's time to admit that some games are different to others, for the sake of your users, present, and future.

Of course, this would present a problem for Microsoft. The company needs games like Candy Crush in its store if it is the plan to keep pushing Windows-based touch devices to consumers, and limiting certain game's visibility would undoubtedly tick off some of the bigger mobile publishers. I'd argue it's worth doing in the long run, though, particularly if UWP is ever going to be a credible method for delivering big PC games in the future - which represents one of the few remaining drivers of PC growth. There are plenty of motivating factors as to why Microsoft would want to keep the stores merged, but I think the positives of splitting them up by far outweigh the negatives.

Let the Xbox app be the place where real games live, that have proper controls designed for mouse, keyboard, and controller. Give touch games their own tab in the Windows 10 Store, so that at least if people don't want to see them, they don't have to. And what's more, it would help mobile games gain visibility they desperately need. It's time to admit that some games are different to others, for the sake of your users, present, and future.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Ahhhh. More of what I have been saying, but have been called an idiot for. Time for new leadership. This one has been a dud.
  • Someone please give me some good news about my platform....
  • They fired Nutella
  • They need to find a way to partner with steam. End of chat.
  • I've said they should but then all doing, but after they fire Nutella..m he'd destroy it
  • this article is so aggressive... sure store can be better but it is not that bad....they just have to manage it better... category game for minimum Graphic card that it needs will seperate them so FAST... forza and fifa 17 are far away from Candy crush or cut the rope... but it can be done just one Store update!
  • It's aggressive because people are tired of the same status quo of crap not getting fixed. Time for these people sucking up paychecks and not doing anything, to get out.
  • aggressive? IF the Windows phone / mobile community would be "aggressive" then MAYBE the whole platform wouldnt be DEAD. Praising Microsoft for little things but ignoring big bugs or stupid decisions is BAD for everybody
  • People are aggressive in the Windows Insider program. Telling MS W10M don't work good on their phones. Microsoft then excluded those phones from the update instead of fixing it. So I don't think aggressive is the right way with Microsoft.
  • That is Microsofts fault and stupidity; and I resent this 'blaming Insiders' BS for Microsofts lack of care and utter stupidity when it comes to a lot of stuff.
  • No way is the right way. MS Band 2 was a popular product and its successor got canned anyways.
  • It's a shame people actually believe this nonsense. Feedback from the Insiders Program had no influence on whether or not any particular device receives the Creators Update. Devices with identical hardware are still being updated. The important criteria is the release date of the device. Anything past the official support period is dropped. Any device still in the support period continues to receive updates irrespective of the experience reported by Insiders.
    At this point it's hard to take many of MS' public announcements seriously.
  • The Store is horrible just like Games for Windows Live was horrible, Microsoft kept telling those brave soul users they were going to fix that as well... now they are lucky if the developer patched GFWL out and allow them to download from another store.   Microsoft can't compete when there is already an established competitor in the particular market.   I can see the MS Store for downloading apps for a Windows Phone, I just don't see it as a platform for PC games in a UWP wrapping.   PC users don't really need the store.... large PC developers generally will not target the Store anyway for obvious reasons.
  • Plus UWP does not allow Mods which is a huge part of PC gaming, so its a fail just on that front and Microsoft does not seem to get what PC gamers value.
  • It all adds up to its (the Store) is a no go on many fronts, not just gaming. MS's stance is an "app" mentality the problem is Windows is generally being ran 99% on PCs in which most people have the ability to install real programs with usable full screen and a full web browswer i.e. an "app" mentality in a "program" eccentric eco-system. There simple is very few customers that need or want this and also there is negative incentive for the larger sofware companies and publishers to support UWP or the Store like Adobe, Autodesk, Epic, Valve, EA, etc. UWP is a bigger problem than navigation of the store... many users just aren't going to even consider it.   At the end of the day, MS doesn't want to compete or can't compete.... why did they scrap GFWL completely?   They knew they couldn't compete.
  • Not to mention the whole point of a desktop Store is to supplement a Mobile one. Without a Mobile component in the equation, why bother with a desktop Store? Apple tried it and it didn't pan out all that well, and they have the iPhone.
  • Yup!!!!!!!  What the freak do I need an app for, I have a full screen computer.
  • I disagree, Microsoft doesn't need to fix the Store.  This is exactly how they ran Games for Windows Live.   Of course, not sure why someone would buy a PC game from an app store to start with but that is just my take.   If one wanted to play their games long term... skip the Store and skip UWP.
  • 'Not sure why someone would buy a PC game from the app store' Because thats the only way to buy games like Horizon 3 and Halo Wars 2?
  • Zeem, if those games are worth it to you... by all means... I would imagine there are many Games for Windows Live users who regretted ever installing that client.   MS can't compete where there is an established player, eventually they always bail. Literally, MS left GFWL users out in the cold.  
  • Perhaps not for long, if the sales are complete trash and Halo Wars 1 on Steam shows significant sales, it won't be long before other MS games join it on Steam.
  • "It's like summer interns designed the Windows 10 Store."
    I feel like that's insulting to interns... But jokes aside this hits the nail on the head. I love Windows 10, and I love gaming; I want to love the Windows 10 Store, but it's just terrible. Combine that with the lack of AAA titles and it's not hard to see why it's struggling. I feel like a lot of problems could be solved if Microsoft required all future Xbox games to be Play Anywhere, which would make it easy to fill the Windows 10 store with high quality games and easy to curate by placing them all in a Play Anywhere section.
  • "required all future Xbox games to be Play Anywhere" Good luck with that, many of the large developers/publishers already have stores and no reason to arm your competitor up with more incentive to make a closed system.   All that will do is, decrease the number of Xbox games.   MS doesn't control the market... this isn't the 90s.   If they want a good store, they need to compete.... unfortunately, as we saw with GFWL they either can't or won't compete.
  • Ubisoft and EA in particular would be against that. As much as EA supports Xbox, it sells PC games in its own store.
  • Nothing prevents them from selling them through both. Ubisoft continues to sell their games through Steam. Realistically they'd rather stay on Xbox and lose platform exclusivity than stop developing for a major console; it just doesn't make financial sense. I don't see a scenario in which they'd give up millions of copies at $60 a piece with a small licensing fee in order to preserve the $5 they save selling it through their own store.
  • I agree that the Windows Store needs some tidying up and filters, but there's no reason why it can't surpass Steam with some tweaks. Steam itself is a very ugly platform that doesn't fit with any modern design scheme even though it has had much more time to mature. The Windows Store has a big advantage over Steam in that developers can leverage the 'UWP' functionality to overcome a lot of D3D quirks like that horrific screen flashing when tabbing into a fullscreen D3D application. And with the Steam platform becoming more homogenous with a lot more desktop software available on the platform there's no reason why Microsoft can't attempt the same. Most, if not all, of your arguments can be alleviated with the inclusion of some basic filters and categories.
  • You live in a dreamland if you really believe what you wrote. The Windows store is complete trash and that includes the whole UWP idea that severally limits AAA games that use it, no "basic filters and categories" are going to fix that. Not to mention the fact Microsoft has to overcome the legacy of the GFWL disaster that turned nearly every PC gamer against them.  
  • I agree with Goldn3agle. Simple filtering is the real issue. Better free, price sorting, popularity, genre, system requirements based on the current device and some TLC would go a long way. I also think it's important to the ecosystem people can see it runs on PC, Phone, Xbox & Hololens. I love Resident Evil 7 a lot. However, AAA Games will only run on a few of our home's PC's and not any of our tablets or phones. Does it mean I shouldn't see it? Absolutely not!
    The reason we should see all games is to encourage upgrades. Window shopping helps every platform and because of Windows Central's Forza 3 Hotwheel's expansion article yesterday, I loaded the demo on our lowest powered PC to see how it'll run. I could have left Store to search websites for min requirements but I wanted to see for myself. 24 hours later, I'm heading out to purchase more ram and a better video card.
    For anyone that remembers PC stores years ago. It was like hotrod shops. Idiots like me were dumping thousands a year just in hardware upgrades for small advantages or pi**ing rights for people that didn't even play games. Igniting that spark would help this industry and why I believe MS went back to the PC. As for games like Candy Crush, It can have the same effect. Sure it won't sell the new Scorpio console but I belie it's being used nearly as much as Solitaire was and it could encourage console users to load it on their phones or purchase tablets.
  • They really need to start allowing Phone/Mobile only games to run in a window on Desktop/Tablet machines like iOS and Android did for its early tablets.
  • Aggressive but needed article. I am happy using the store and like Windows 10 but would never buy a game on Windows Store. GOG or Steam is just a lot better for gaming. Also the Store has a lot of quality apps but I need to stumble upon them to find them. The store is not even very good at suggesting apps to me.  I know numbers have been the media attention but keeping high quality would have been a much better strategy imo. Right now they try to reach number by allowing low quality apps. I think it's better to have one and not be average on both.
  • Fully agree with the article. No disrespect to other writers on this site but when I listen to the podcast and Jez is a guest on it I get the distinct impression that they aren't understanding the issues with games in the store the same way as Jez does. It's nice to read an opinion on it that does aggressively state the shortcomings.
  • I don't know about everyone else but I'd like to see some moderation to ensure that the games we see are actually legal and not simply people porting games from android or even ROMS from older consoles that they don't legally have the right to sell. I don't mind paying for content but I'm not handing over money if I remotely think that the seller is just ripping off other people's IP.
  • Finally Windows Central comming up with some real articles that hit at the ugly truth that is parts of what Microsoft is doing instead of only singing praises of everything Microsoft as used to be the case not so long ago.
  • My main problem with the Windows 10 Store is the download speed. I have no idea why but when I download or update something on the store, it's realllllly slow. Most of the time it won't go over 200 kb/s, but for some reason that will be enough to make my internet connexion completely unusable for anything else. Even checking my Facebook becomes 1998 slow. So I wouldn't see myselft downloading a game that takes a couple of gigs. I'd have to dedicate my whole internet connexion only to that for a whole day. As a comparison, when I download a game on Steam it can easily reach 3 mb/s, and even at that speed it doesn't slow down the rest if my internet. I can still check my Facebook or watch movies on Netflix without any problem. I really don't understand how the Windows 10 Store can possibly slow down my whole internet by downloading only 200 kb/s, but it does so consistantly on both my Surface Pro and my Desktop computer.
  • Aaah
  • Completely agree on the slow download speed of the store. Just yesterday I was updating 15 apps and it took over 30min to update; and these were apps that have less then 100mb each. With Steam and GOG I always max out my connection when downloading, but the Windows Store and sometimes with Windows Update as well it always takes forever; just don't get what **** servers Microsoft is using for these key services.    
  • The way the Store downloads is mysterious. I have cable internet with a very stable connection. In Steam and GOG this translates to constant download speeds. Downloads in the Windows Store take ages to start, usually take a short sprint and then come to a halt. There are several start-stop cycles like that and then way too often the download fails.  It's also extremely annoying that Windows Store does not ask where I want to store the game. Like a lot of people I have a small SDD for the OS and a big HDD for games and media, with a carefully set up directories. The Windows Store puts everything on the small SDD.
  • Actually, if you go in Settings / Apps / Apps & Features, you can select the default location where to install apps from the Store. You can also select individual apps that are already installed and move them to a different drive.
  • Oh, to select the default location where to install new apps it's actually in Settings / System / Storage, then click on "Change where new content is saved".
  • Thanks. It's a bit unlogical to put it there and not in the Store app and you can only select the drive, not a folder, but it's better than nothing.
  • Very true that bro!! +1
  • I would be in favour of breaking down all of the types of content into different apps. I still open the Film & TV app when I am considering renting or buying a movie, before remembering I need to go to the store to get it and then back to Film & TV to watch it. I'm assuming the reasoning is as mentioned here: you go in for an app and then see a movie or album you want and impulse purchase, making them more money. Barring that, at least design it better, like giving the games section lots of easy filters to quickly show only Xbox One games, or by genre, etc. I could also use some clarity on which games are available in what spot. On the somewhat rare occasion I do buy games, or even just to download my free Games with Gold, I always end up doing it on the console because I don't remember whether I should go to the Xbox app, the Xbox SmartGlass app, or the Store app (I know I can always do it from a browser but by that point I've gotten annoyed).
  • The venom in this article towards the Store is unwarranted at best. The Store has come a long way since win 10 first launched. It's actually one of the better looking and functioning core apps on Windows 10. Does it need improvement? Yes. Is it as awful as this article would have you believe? Absolutely not!
  • Looking good and offering a good service aren't the same thing.
  • Yes, I totally agree, but I think this article was a too aggressive and almost unfair to the work put in to bring it to where it currently is.
  • I've been giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt for too long I feel.
  • The article was definitely overdue Jez. You hit the nail on the head and a lot of PC gamers went into Xbox games coming to the Windows store with giving them the benefit of the doubt though still cautious due to memories of GFWL. What Microsoft should be doing is using Steam, GOG, Origin, etc from the viewpoint of a PC gamer and ask "How would you do this on our store?" and see how much they can't do.
  • Agree, whole thing feels like a low priority atm.
  • "It's actually one of the better looking and functioning core apps on Windows 10. " That right there shows a lot just how **** the whole app situation is on Windows 10, when you regard the broken mess that is the store as 'one of the better apps'.
  • I guess it depends on what you compare it too. The Windows Store is not much worse than the Android Store, but as specific game stores Steam and GOG Galaxy both offer much, much more, both in technical and storage options and on the level of a personalized store front, with deals based on games you already own and what curators and friends recommend.
  • MS appears to have no one even updating or refreshing the store.  Again, this is a huge problem of having (what appears to be) a workforce that doesn't really use your product from a consumer standpoint.  Even on WM10, there ARE some decent games on there but good luck finding them.  Same could be said for W10.  They need someone or a department who actually handles the store and combs through new submissions.  Especially now that (at least from what I've read) Apple is starting to screw over developers, it would be a good time to take advantage of that...but then again, this is Microsoft.
  • This has been the recurring theme for years, it's time to just accept that Microsoft has no clue about consumers, with the exception of the Xbox. Their real focus is the Enterprise, expecting them to be competent in the consumer space is a waste of time. In any case, I bet all this will be forgotten after next week when Microsoft holds their next magic show......
  • This feels like a moan fest, sure the store could be different but if Ms designed it differently then other people would moan about the change. " it was much better before"..."I wouldn't design it like this etc", "its all Nadella's fault" (because he sits with every team member, right just like your ceo). Crikey I'm not about to leave the windows eco system or windows mobile but seriously thinking of leaving windows central.
  • So you think it's fine as is?
  • Yah and the tiles make things so chaotic. I'm sorry but they should have some design rules set in that follow the lara croft and deus ex tile design. Those are great they let your eyes filter out everything else and focus on the one thing. I love transparent tiles on my phone. I am not a fan of the chaos of all the different tiles. And everyone I know thinks the same thing.
  • Yeah, it just looks terrible like it was designed by a middle schooler in 2006. Microsoft can do much better.
  • I can't find the Xbox games that you buy once and get on both Xbox One and PC. I also bought Thimbleweed Park on Xbone which is meant to support this but I find no info on the PC version anywhere in the store.
  • Thimbleweed Park launched on Xbox One already but hasn't launched on Windows 10 yet. It is a Play Anywhere title, though, so when it does launch on Windows 10, you will automatically own it.
  • So in summary I don't think anyone at Ms is trying to make the store look bad nor attempting to fail mobile, desktop, media or games. They get things wrong but they also get things right and try to learn from their mistakes.
  • While I certainly don't disagree that the Windows Store is bad, I just had to laugh that you actually think Steam is a good example.  I HATE Steam. I hate it passionately. I tolerate it simply because, for the longest time, that has been the only way I could get the games I wanted (which are admittedly few, because I am so VERY particular as to the type of game I feel like blowing my time with).  There was a time when Microsoft's Store had much better categorization, which I think is the biggest weakness it currently has.  I don't care if everything is lumped into one store.  In, I much prefer having only one place to go to search for anything.  The big fail as I see it is the inability to set a persistent set of filters so that I only see the types of apps or games I'm interested in.  Of course, the next logical challenge is the question over whether those filters should sync across all your devices or be device-specific.  The virtue there could be, with device-specific filters, one could set filters for only mobile type apps if you're on your phone, and exclude mobile if you're on your PC.  The other issue for me is the abysmal ratings system.  It really doesn't reflect the quality of the apps.  And the tyranny of small numbers reigns supreme.  It's pretty ridiculous to have your search sorted by highest rated, only to find a ton of really horrible apps floating to the top only because they got three 5-star  And all three of those votes were probably the developer, his wife and kid.  Of course, I don't find Steam to be much better in that regard.  And I DESPISE any system that makes suggestions.  There has yet to be the algorithm that comes even close to suggesting something I like, much less would spend money on.  It's a futile effort and it needs to go away.  Let ME search...when I'm actually interested in getting something new...using my OWN paraments, and give me plenty of parameters to choose from so I can narrow the search.
  • Beatifully said. I agree.
  • I didn't say Steam was great, but it's certainly better than what Microsoft is offering so far.
  • Finally someone noticed!
  • Very nice article. I have to agree with everything you say. I think the Store looks decent now and it really flies on the recent updates but there's a lot (I mean a lot) of work that needs to be done for the sake of consistency, filters, usability, "find"ability, etc. It's still really rough and it doesn't get enough updates to excuse it. Look how far Groove Music has come! The Store should have come twice as far by now, because it should have priority over any other system app.
  • So... Am I the only one that has been using Steam since it came out and finds it so archaic and bad? Sure, for core gamers its way more useful for their games catalog but other than that my collection is a list with a tab next to it from the store with the installation of it launch button instead of the price. Now purely on the windows store as an app store I find it much more pleasant than any other app store. I hate the store on my Shield K1 tablet. Win 10 store is much more pleasant. So there is no need to judge it the same as a core gamer's home screen and an appstore. As a store its fine. It's almost as the Xbox one and I like the way its evolving. My solution? Either give a "Gamer mode/skin" for a better experience and focused only on actual games and also exclude the crap. Stick the Game Mode toggle button on there somewhere to be accessible instantly and call it a day and then get on from there. It's a simple and quick start. Just my two cents.
  • Give Jez a gaming PC (finally) and he see's the wood from the trees! But yes, he's right on everything.
  • Jez, you lost me when you claimed Fallout Shelter is a "real" game but then put a big X over Roblox in your one image.  Fallout Shelter is absolutely standard mobile trash.  Yea it can be fun for a bit but it is just like many of the games you criticized.  As for roblox, if you had kids you would know that its not just a simple "i have a few minutes to play a roblox will do"  Kids can spend hours and hours in that game in a single session.  It has pretty good world/game building tools where users can make their own games within the game.  It's not a game I particularly enjoy but my kids (and I'm pretty certain many other peoples kids) have played it more than almost any other game besides minecraft.
  • I 100% agree with you that I screwed up on Roblox, I made that graphic at like 4AM in MS Paint and just didn't recognize the icon I guess.
  • Windows Store is a joke for all apps, not just games. It is filled with absolute garbage, akin to someone running a market at a landfill. Speaking of games, side note, Dawn of War 3 is available today for recent ASUS graphic card buyers, not in the Windows Store :). That store may have something called Hammer Dawn 4,000,000: War of the War.
  • "You can get a list of all...Xbox Live-enabled PC games" Sadly, even this isn't true. If you click the "Xbox Live Games" button, it takes you to a list of some Xbox Live games, omitting many others like #IDARB, Rocket Riot, Stealth Inc 2, etc. I'm sure those games that have been omitted have extremely low sales on the Windows 10 Store due to the lack of promotion (you'd only ever find them if you knew they were there already and got lucky with the search bar). It is mind-boggling to me. Instead of cleaning up the Store experience, Microsoft has puts the nail in the coffin by releasing on Steam their exclusive IP like Quantum Break (after they told us they wouldn't) and Halo Wars: DE, thus taking away the only reason PC gamers would've went to the Store in the first place. Now they've set the precedent and Steam gamers are not going to buy new games like Halo Wars 2 in the Store because they'll just wait for it to come to Steam instead. It was a short-sighted move.
  • Microsoft should buy Steam, Gamers are the most important users for Microsoft when looking at Windows. You cannot play games on other platforms, at least not in that quality.
  • Valve is a private company.   Some estimates of Steam are in the $3.5b annually for earnings, again these numbers must be estimated due to the company being private.   Lets put this in perspective, MS paid $9b for Skype that had almost no earnings, what is the proper evaluation for Valve?  $30-90b? Then what MS will do is condense Steam within the MS store, everyone will leave because ultimately MS doesn't want to compete anyway.  Buying others only helps on the edges, at some point MS has to be competitive, right now on the consumer side they are not competitive at all. imo
  • Heck no. MS would destroy Steam as they are simply awful at discounts. Fallout 3 was stuck at AU$99 for years! Sometimes they'd offer a paltry 25% discount when I could buy the GOTY edition in a retail store for $30. Meanwhile on Steam I could get it for under $20 sometimes below $10. This is obviously a few years ago, but it was a game that I followed the price of consistently.
  • I somewhat agree and disagree with your points. I personally dislike the Steam store UI just as much. It feels clunky and outdated, and I myself find it difficult to get around. I am sure the more I use it the better I would get at navigating. Learned. I do think the Windows Store UI is clunky. More importantly though Windows Store algorithm seems to fail its users, by suggesting apps/games that aren't even close to their interest. I would argue this is partially due to Windows failing at getting developers on board. The same goes for their Windows gaming platform, very few developers are deploying XBOX games that work on Windows 10 so far. If that ever changes, then I believe the suggestion algorithm will improve (or I am at least keeping hope). BTW, if you are an old school Sim City fan and have played Cities Skyline on PC, it is worth picking up for XBOX One. It lacks the mods but very smooth and great UX.  
  • I honestly prefer the Windows Store. Steam looks horrible on my Surface Pro 4 , it's all blurry and it doesn't scale to fit the screen. Nothing worse than having to download that 2mb installer from Steam and then install a 200mb update. Origin and Uplay offer little content compared with Steam but at least they have an app that's fit for 2017.
  • I'm not really sure I agree with you compeltely on this one Jez. If you are a hardcore gamer, like myself, you typically know what you are looking for. If I am buying a game from the Windows 10 store I open it, click the search, type in what i want, and it pops up. It's not difficult at all. I do agree the store could be better though and moving the hardcore games to the Xbox App would be nice.
  • That's my main point really.
  • I agree with some that Steam is not well designed and looks old.
    Everything that is pointed out about the Windows store is true. It needs major work.
    Maybe project neon will tidy it up or something.
  • Don't forget how badly the search feature's abyssmal.
  • I don't even browse the Windows 10 store, it's garbage and impossible to find anything useful. If I know or expect something to be there I'll use search to find it.
  • There are some great apps if you know where to look/what to look for, but to everyone's own :)
  • Microsoft, as usual, half baking everything and MAYBE slowly improving things over the next decade.
  • Can't find any apps I searched for. If I typed true caller. The result will be shown of other apps, i cant find that damn app while search...if I scroll up/down in top apps, i can find true caller ! In the list, but not in the search result ! I just call them Shitsoft !
  • I can both agree and disagree with this article. I do believe that Microsoft needs to fix things like what apps are featured, what apps are front-and-center etc, but I think the Steam UI is quite dated, and could use a refresh. Also, why did you 'X' ROBLOX in the last image? ROBLOX has a XBOX app, so I am slightly confused
  • Yeah Roblox was a mistake, I just didn't recognize it at 4AM.
  • Every time i read about "core gamers" they sound like the most entitled group ever on the planet... 🙄
  • They exist, though, and Microsoft wants their money. If Microsoft wants their money, things need to change.
  • Only thing i don't agree with is that the Windows Store is ugly. It could use some restructuring but it looks miles better than Steam IMO, Steam looks outdated and navigation is super slow compared to windows store. It feels like a webwrapper.
  • If they put the AAA/"real games" in the Xbox app two things will happen. The Xbox app/community will grow with the PC people and Windows store games wont be a joke no more, why? Because having Gears of War 4 near Candy crush is kinda strange af. Also, if they do it, they can just leave the games in the store, and when you search a game in the "Xbox PC store" and you click it, you use the windows store to download it, putting it in the queue, but having an eviroment of "hardcore games" and a gaming community. What i say is, use the Windows store to download it and have them there also, but make the Xbox PC app a PC catalog, putting like a PC games store there, but being just Xbox and hardcore games.
  • I just can't imagine any PC gamers using the Windows Store for games. There's just no excuse or reason for that to happen at all when most PC games are on Steam. For the most part if it's not on Steam then you get it direct from the publisher because it's a publisher and a game that you're specifically excited about. As far as I'm concerned there don't even need to be games in the Windows Store.
  • The core argument here seems to be the biggest problem MS is trying to grapple with. The fundamental difference between keyboard/mouse(kb/m) vs touch computing. Their core business has always been kb/m and they have pretty much dominated that area for years, as mobile has taken off they have struggled mightily trying to bridge the two. Google and Apple just focused on mobile and that's what they do best while MS is trying to serve all users and finding it very difficult.
  • I think the Steam interface is one of the worst I've ever used so if it can become popular anything can. The main problem for me in the windows store is the categories get rid of best free game and such nonsense and make the categories more like PC and then sub categories like RPG. I really don't think it needs much to fix it but they seem to refuse to do so and the lack of care (or maybe resources?) is the biggest problem it has.
  • I agree that having AAA, Xbox Play Anywhere games should have their own tab, but that doesn't mean that other games should be removed. No matter what this article says, these mobile games are still games, which means they have a place on the Windows Store. While may freemium games are designed to be addictive moneymakers that just keep people coming back, they can still be entertaining things to play. Not to mention the plenty of freemium games on the Xbox Store, though they do cater to the console gamer more than the mobile one. Then there are the 'mobile games' that are designed to be played on a touchscreen device (usually a tablet), but aren't simply quick moneymakers. Think of point-and-click adventures (of which there are plenty on the Windows Store) or the GO games, which are high quality pieces of entertainment, but are still classified as mobile. These are the premium mobile games, that usually have much more thought put into them. I agree that lack of categorisation can be a problem, but excluding certain varieties of games are a problem. After all, those who play freemium games make up a large portion of the market, as do those who play the games the premium mobiles. If Microsoft wants the already struggling Windows Store to be a success, it can't afford to miss out on any section of the market. However, lumping all the games together isn't a good solution. What is a good idea is to introduce some sort of filtering option, though how games would be filtered is a whole other matter. After all, as I mentioned, there's a very large grey area. Perhaps a genre filter would do, as well a price one. Whatever it is, the answer is not to cut out games and apps, because that is not consumer friendly.
  • He did say they could put mobile games in their own at tab on the Windows 10 Store.
  • Impressive and bold move to critisize own platform. Microsoft definitely need to take a change not only for Windows Store but also all of their products.
  • agreed
  • Well Jez is right about one thing, one bad experience and a user will never go back. I bought Quantum Break, day 1, what a disaster that was. Imagine how mad I was when it released on Steam months later. I will never buy another game from the Windows Store under it's current iteration. No FRAPS, no mods, no bueno.   ok ok ok, if they release Madden football through the Windows Store I'd buy it, BUT THAT'S IT :)   
  • While I love Steam generally, the store needs an update badly. Try using it on a touch screen and tell me how good it is then lol
  • Yeah, the Store should improve, but most of what you wrote, Jez, is just straight up bullsh*t. Why couldn't Asphalt 8 or Extreme sit next to Forza Horizon 3? They're all games, racing games, even good games, and yeah, FUN. You totally miss the whole point of Windows 10. There aren't mobile games and PC games anymore, just games. No matter if you want to play with touch, keyboard+mouse, or a controller, it just works. (Or at least that's the endgoal). And why the hell do you think Gangstar New Orleans, or Sungeon Hunter, or even Minion Rush isn't fun??? And what's that crap about "not being designed with PC in mind? An 8 inch Windows tablet is a PC, a laptop is a PC, a 2in1 is a PC, a traditional desktop is a PC, and my mini PC, that's always in tablet mode, and plugged in to my TV all time is also, you guessed it, is a PC. You're pretty much stuck in 2005... And how would MS dedicate a new page to the games you like? A "sh*t games" and "not so sh*t games" tab is what you want? All we need is better filtering. And btw, if you think steam has a better design than the Store, you seriously need some glasses, or an eye-surgery...
  • They should do a purge of Windows 8 apps. It would be like where if you didn't contact Microsoft and convince them before a deadline, your app would be deleted. This would only happen to Windows 8 apps that had inactive developers and many old apps would be gone. 
  • Heh... I like how Minion rush was THOROUGHLY crossed out in picture 9 :P
  • It's the same situation for watching movies from the app store.  No info until u click the icon, and very little info there as well.  No way to sort search results.  The Windows app store needs belp.  Thanks for the ärticle!
  • Great article and I hope it gains traction. Coming from a Windows/Xbox main liner who also owns Playstation and plays on Steam, this store is a mess from top to bottom. It needs organization, curation and some changes to the way things update. Most of all though, it needs games. I don't mean mobile games either. 3rd party PC games that exist on steam need to come here. Without a friendly, all inclusive environment including cross feature and cross play between UWP and Steam, this doesn't seem likely though...Where is Dishonored 2, Skyrim remastered and the Bioshock collection? Ghost Recon or Dark Souls? Without major 3rd parties getting in the store and some curation and quality of life system changes, this store is going the way of the dodo. It's all over the internet...the Windows 10 Store is a mess.