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Microsoft wants to bring Steam to the new Windows 11 app store

Razer Blade 15
Razer Blade 15 (Image credit: Windows Central)

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.

Windows 11 Store Adobe

Source: Microsoft Windows 11 will debut an all-new app store. (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

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.

Related: Windows 11 gaming announcements detailed

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for 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!

24 Comments
  • In some ways, Microsoft is now fully embracing what already exists, at least as far as desktop Windows proper is concerned. They have finally accepted that users where anyway installing whatever they wanted from wherever they chose (which is the way it had always been on computing platforms prior to the App store distribution model).
    Good to see a return to form imho as far as the desktop OS (aka 'real' computers) are concerned. We can leave the ultra-controlled app store models to the consumer oriented phones and tablets. Windows should just be as open as it has always been, with all the messy .exe, .msi and all. Everyone's invited :-)
  • However, .exe is for older support. As I have heard from developers. Building an app on exe is kind of silly. It's familiar and works but it's so much better to build with UWA as they continue to catch up with the capabilities with .exe.
    I believe the new Microsoft Store is a great step and isn't controlling as Google Play but especially not as bad as the App Store on iOS, iPadOS and MacOS.
  • So you use a store to get a... store? That just seems counter intuitive.
  • Well, you don't download a store, it's incorporated in it from my assumptions, like the Amazon Appstore will be at the beginning. I assume and hope Steam's community for mods and all will be available too.
  • Nah, it really fulfills the "best of both worlds". It allows a common discovery platform while benefiting from the richness of the store's own marketplace. You could also shop between stores and treat stores as competitive marketplaces rather than stores you buy into because you have to
  • Great points on the competitive marketplace. Yay for consumer choice!
  • We're actually already doing that in many ways.
  • Well the Store updates the Store, so there is that.
  • I mean, MS would absolutely prefer every game was just on their Store directly, but the reality is that will never happen. Having Steam on the MS Store means people aren't faffing around searching for an exe in the web browser, and that's absolutely a win for them.
  • No way! Steam standalone is the best.
  • Why would I go to the Microsoft Store for Steam when I could just go directly to Steam?
  • Because not everyone is as user-saavy as you are and may inadvertently download malware instead of the legitimate steam app.
  • Because then you have one less client or thing to download from a website. I enjoy not downloading things from websites and instead go to the Microsoft Store.
  • Because you don't have to download or update any additional software.
  • Because you can have one less icon in the tray area.
  • Because you type in a game and you will be presented with a list of prices showing all the options from cheapest to most expensive.
  • Also if it's in the ms store you take advantage of the automatic updating it honestly annoys me everytime I load up my pc I have to update the steam client in addition to everything else.
  • If I can install Steam games without Steam client? I'd do it. One lesser system-tampering-application in the system the better.
  • I was about to quote you, Jez. Then Microsoft Editor corrected your last paragraph. You should try ii out. 😜 "Microsoft's messaging for Windows 11 is all about openness and making it a platform for others to build their businesses on top of."
  • I am glad Microsoft has finally opened up the store for other store fronts like Steam. Wish they did it ages ago. Maybe now we will have one central place to get the game launchers that the major publishers are pushing. Plus we would no longer have to deal with bloat leftover in users: Local+ Locallow + Roaming, ProgramData and Registry when you remove them. The decrease in the cut is welcome change too.
  • How would this work? I'm assuming you could view Steams storefront via the Windows store app, but wouldn't it all still run through the Steam app/program? I'm just trying to see the benefit of buying the game from the MS store as opposed to just buying it through the Steam app/program.
  • You would literally just download the Steam platform from the Microsoft Store instead of going to steampowered.com to download the installer.
    All of your games purchases would still be done inside the Steam application.
    The benefit is just discoverability and more installation options. For example, you wouldn't need a browser to be able to get Steam if it's on the Microsoft Store.
  • It's like what GOG is doing as a universal game launcher except Microsoft is trying to do this for different stores.
  • I buy a new Windows 11 laptop and open Microsoft Store and, surprise!... Steam store is already there, built-in, no need to install a separate app and go through all that verifying process. It saves time and brings more people onboard, it's good for everyone. Way to go!