What you need to know
- Microsoft's new Windows 11 app store will allow other companies to embed their app stores, like Amazon.
- In an interview with Microsoft CPO Panos Panay, Panay said he "welcomed" the possibility of including Steam.
During yesterday's Windows 11 event, Microsoft talked up "democracy" and "sovereignty" for creators, emphasizing its intent to allow anyone and everyone to curate app stores on Windows, starting with Amazon's own Android app store.
The possibilities therein are obvious. Microsoft noted that it wants other Android app stores to come to Windows 11 too, which could mean the Galaxy Store from Samsung could eventually make its way across, as well as Google Play itself. If app developers use third-party monetization systems on Windows 11's app store, they get to keep an unprecedented 100% of the revenue, which is a direct shot to the likes of Apple and others.
In a new interview with The Verge's Tom Warren, Microsoft CPO Panos Panay elaborated further that this includes curated storefronts on PC too, including Steam.
"Windows already in many ways hosts those stores, and if we can host it through the Microsoft Store then of course. For sure, it means as others want to come to the Store, they're very welcome. As a matter of fact, encouraged, and that's kind of why we're building out some of these policies."
Steam is the defacto store of choice for PC gaming right now, owing to its mature content offering, superior content delivery mechanism, and long and trusted history with the industry. Steam has also been a major driver of independent game development, bringing vast innovation to a space that was previously quite controlled and insular. Microsoft and others have emulated some of Steam's more open policies towards game development over the years, but it could be argued that Microsoft has begun going a bit further.
Microsoft will reduce its general revenue share to 12% for PC games in the near future, matching the Epic Game Store. This makes it a better deal for most developers to build games for the Microsoft Store outright, although it has nowhere near the same traffic as Steam.
Regardless, Microsoft's messaging for Windows 11 is all about openness, and making it a platform for others to build their businsesses on top of. Microsoft's store policies will put pressure on competing platforms like Apple and Google Play to adopt a more friendly revenue sharing model potentially. Whether developers actually bite remains to be seen, of course. The Windows 10 app store is notorious for its low-quality offering as of writing. But all of that, hopefully, could be about to change.