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Poll: Will you be buying future PC games on the Microsoft Store or Steam?

Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Now that Microsoft has announced the Microsoft Store will only take a 12% cut from net revenue of PC game sales, and developers will now get to keep 88%, there's ample incentive for devs to move there once the policy change kicks into effect on August 1, 2021. Compared to the Steam store, which only offers devs a 70% cut of revenue, the decision is a no-brainer. The question is, even if devs get more money via the Microsoft Store, will you buy their games there?

The developer cut isn't the only difference between Steam and the Microsoft Store, of course. For example, even though Forza Horizon 4 is on both stores, the version on the Microsoft Store is superior in terms of performance. The same phenomenon exists in reverse for Quantum Break, where the Steam port runs better. But assuming future ports of games are equal in quality, which storefront will woo you?

Vote in the poll, and feel free to sound off in the comments. Do you care about developers but prefer Steam's overall ecosystem too much to ever bother with the Microsoft Store? Do you not have a preference regarding storefronts? All thoughts are welcome.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

57 Comments
  • I will keep buying physical discs whenever I can. To buy digital, I rather check on GoG first.
    Only if they don't have the game, will I pick another service. And then I'll go with whichever has the cheapest price. The issue of developer cut is between the developer and the platforms they choose to publish the game on. Not really the consumer's problem.
  • Where are you buying physical PC games?
  • Stores? Plenty of games are still being released with the option of a physical disc (it's more common on console games but there are still PC games being released physically).
  • Such as? Because I cry bullshit on any actual physical games existing for PC, other then ones that are extremely old, or independent.
  • Nah, you can buy PC games still from stores here, however it's generally just a disc (or even just a code) that connects to whatever online store is applicable (usually Steam, but also others when they make sense) and you then download it from online anyway.
  • That's more or less my point. You're paying for some cardboard and plastic with a key on it, not a disc with the actual game on it.
  • Physical games for PC in 2021? I thought that was a console thing, and I still think that is really archaic.
  • I'm also quite a fan of physical discs, but PC physical discs are pretty much a thing of the past now.
    Even modern console discs are more decorative than useful. Imagine having the Cyberpunk 2077 console disc data as the 'final' version you play. The discs are just licenses to download and play the actual game, which is the digital version. At this point, I collect physical just because they have some aesthetic value, and because I can sometimes get cheap lots of older games.
  • Speaking of which, there are also "physical" copies of games that instead of a proper DVD have a plastic or similar with a redeemable code.
  • Physical discs (not ones that are just licence keys) can always be re-sold once you've finished the game, unlike digital
  • Yes they can, but the actual game data on the discs of modern games are typically unfinished and/or buggy. The new buyer still has to download the latest game data from online servers.
  • I like the Microsoft store but not for games no way to back up. A majority of my buying games with steam due to the fact of being able to back up my games.
  • I'd rather choose the Epic game store but between Steam or Microsoft, I'd rather buy on Microsoft. To this day, I still have a bad taste in my mouth from when Steam did little to remove shovelware and asset flips from their store, and allowed borderline unplayable early access games to be bought at full price. There's a lot of early Jim Sterling clips on YouTube that covers this.
  • Doesn't Epic sell Early Access games? Consoles do it too, don't they? Everybody does it.
  • I'll buy where ever it's cheaper for me to buy from.
  • The 3rd choice suggests that the higher developer cut in the Microsoft Store is the only factor for choosing Steam over the Microsoft Store, which is absurd. Steam has it all over the Microsoft Store for non-game pass games.. The features on Steam completely dwarf Microsoft's. A few off the top of my head are: Steam's far bigger catalogue; way more modding, games are usually supported by the developers more and for a longer period; it's discovery features; it's rating/review system; you can see at glance how my hours you've put into every game you own (why doesn't Microsoft at least add this simple feature?); you can see how many people are playing a game now; Wishlist and Follow features; Discussion, Screenshot, Guides and Workshop community features, monthly hardware survey stats; more robust achievements; clear and easy return policy; etc. The 3rd choice should be what most of us will actually do: "Both, Microsoft for Game Pass titles and Steam for better modding and support and a game repository that is generations beyond the Microsoft Store."
  • I tend to go for the cheapest option, which is pretty much never the
    Microsoft Store...
  • I currently do and still will .
  • I avoid the MS store like the plague.
  • Steam, because i can run on windows, mac or linux
  • I just buy whichever price is lower. Hopefully, devs/publishers can afford deeper discounts on their games in the Microsoft Store now that the profit margins are increased.
  • Whichever one gives me the best deal.
  • I'll support the Microsoft Store in a heartbeat for two reasons. 1) DRM and updates are guaranteed in modern games, so I'd rather the DRM and updates be tied to an element of the OS itself (Microsoft Store) rather than a third party app that runs in the background (Steam, Epic, EA, uPlay). 2) I want a single hub for all my apps, programs, and games. This is one of the most appealing aspects of Xbox ecosystem. The more games that are sold in the Microsoft Store, the more likely they are to be profitable from the reduced cut, and the more likely they are to embrace features like Xbox Network's cloud saves, cross-play, party system, and hopefully even Xbox Play Anywhere.
  • I agree with your points, frankly the ideal way to handle thisbis to download games from the main OS store.
  • Neither, I buy from GoG.
  • This GoG when there is the option
  • I'm as casual a gamer as you can get (it's been weeks since I last played anything) and for me the Microsoft Store is convenient. It's got plenty of games for my standards and for my weakling ultrabook/tablet. Also I buy other things there too. I have no interest in installing a third party platform. So I'd rather go to "Best Buy" than "Gamestop" if you know what I mean.
  • Even though Steam is a DRM, I buy games on Steam because of the benefits Steam offers.
    Just basic things like
    Having a usable library function
    - I can find the game I purchased 10 years ago
    - I can filter games I own by genre, tags or categories I define.
    A community centric area to discuss games.
    Workshop support for games, easy one click ability to add additional community created content to games. The store front though - being able to find new games either via tags, recommended content or just simply browsing categories. Microsoft store is just terrible. It's near impossible to find anything other than what's being pushed at the time by Microsoft. Even if you do, it's near impossible to find it again, and gets worse as time goes on as the library option just gets more and more outdated. The Store app on Windows needs an entire overhaul, at the very least the library needs to be searchable and have filters. Mainly though, the contents of the library needs to be stored locally. For me it takes forever to scroll down one page and when that is mostly xbox only games, there is no way I can find that delisted movie editor I purchased 3+ years back.
    (I actually have to keep the URL for it in a text file!)
  • Wherever has the game I want at the price I'm happy to pay. Most of my games are from Game pass anyway, I rarely buy games and never at full price
  • Pretty much ditto. I rarely bought games before Game Pass and now I just can't justify it at all. I don't have the time to play all day and there's just too much already available to me with my GP sub. Yeah, I'll miss out on a lot of AAA glory, but I never liked paying full price, hell even half price, for ONE game that can now get me 4 months of access to HUNDREDS. With that said I still do nab up some nostalgia from time to time off Steam and EGS when I can get it for about a sawbuck or less, and I find myself logging in weekly to get the freebies I know 90% of which I'll never play...but hey, it's FREE. 👍🏻
  • Microsoft is still cannibalizing its own market. They are going to do more of this because it is easy and Sayta does not want to put the time in to make a genuine consumer product.
  • Game Pass is not a genuine consumer product?
  • Well obviously steam is a much better choice and you won't loose your games suddenly one day,if Microsoft decides to remove the game section.
  • When did this ever happen??? You might be thinking about Google Graveyard.
  • You mean old Winds Phone 7/8 games?
  • Idgaf about Epic games. And the 1 game i do have is Crysis Remastered which is not worth paying and playing. I'll use Steam and MS Store for GPU and Play Anywhere
  • 100% buy from Steam. It's a vastly better download manager and social gaming platform.
  • Both. Game pass is the best value but you have alot of gems on steam.
  • I will buy from steam but it has nothing to do with revenue. If the Microsoft store offered everything steam has I'd choose it. Cloud save is extremely important to me but the GUI is also very important. Microsoft needs to make it much easier to find what games you own and present them like steam does, and also have something like big picture mode. I will however choose ms store if the games license is for both windows and Xbox.
  • Steam rather than MS Store. Easy to backup any software on drive and it runs without any glitch. Also, it has plenty of titles including the MS Games.
  • I have tried to avoid Steam when I can since about 2007. I just didn't like their DRM implementation and Internet check-in requirements. I've never really left those concerns behind. I also do appreciate that the people who did the work to create the game get more money through the MS Store. To support the game creators, I'll preferentially use the MS Store when I can. Then GoG. I'll still go to Steam if no other options (generally before physical for the instant gratification).
  • Steam really steams me...
  • I'll continue to favor Microsoft store for one simple matter - Achievements and quests lead to Microsoft points that I've used to revert into either MS or Xbox gift certificates. The ability to earn physical rewards for playing is a huge drive for me, especially when points can be gained via a simple game log-in, Bing search, etc. The biggest exception will be those pesky (but oh so good) PS to PC exclusives (Horizon: Zero Dawn, Death Stranding, etc.) and then it's the lowest seller.
  • The final point should be 'Developer cut doesn't matter to me as much as other factors' At this point, many games are not on the windows store and until they give people a reason to shop there over other places, (whether that be features, exclusivity, or other factors) why should people care? The developers know what they are doing when they post their games on steam. It's not like they are made to do so. Its where most of their profits will come from.
  • I will choose MS store because, I have game pass and xbox. I already have an gaming ecosystem where games go with me. I also bought new gaming laptop so I am in PC master race. My achievement goes with my PC and XBOX. As long as MS up the gaming library, I am all for it. For example, I download on PC "Dishonered 2", but I want to play "Death of Outsider", right after it, bad news is, I can't find it at the MS Store.
  • Not sure what the purpose of the poll is on a MS type site. It would be like a poll about whether someone is going to buy an Apple phone or a Windows Phone. What's the purpose, they lost. Microsoft lost to Valve back in 2003 when Valve released Steam, Games for Windows Live was born dead.... the body was place in the coffin in 2014. If they couldn't do it in 2007 with only one competitor, going to be much harder with all kinds of competition. The market has decided over and over. The REs aren't going to help i.e. revamping, relaunching, renaming, rebuilding, restarting, redoing, etc. "He's dead, Jim" - Star Trek I'm confused on how anyone would want MS to be involved as a middleman in PC software distribution, clearly they are not good at it.
  • You've a valid point.
  • Until it does... history is full of market leaders with a close to monopoly market and still died and usually fast when it happened... So even if you are dead right... past performance are never synonymous of futur ones.... never
  • The interest of Steam is cards for profile (not gratis), but there are many games of bad quality.in disavantage of devs for having huge catalog and playing only two hours with games.
    Also, game Market Pc obey to key of activation.
  • Only thing I hate about buying games from the Microsoft store are my games filling up my start menu. They had it right with windows phone 7 keeping the games in the Xbox client app. If they did that on windows ten... I'd definitely buy more games from Microsoft.
  • You do not have too add game to the Start menu, its as an optional feature. You can also run owned games or apps from your library in windows store.
  • My answer is this. Being in a foreign non-US country, the prices translated to our currency are a bit different. Even so, both in Steam and MS Store are in our local currency, unlike Epic which is in dollars (way more expensive).
    Now, even though MS store prices have always been slightly up from those in Steam, I've supported a lot of games even before Game Pass because I trust the ecosystem, and frankly the store always worked well for me. But with Game Pass I like buying the games there unless they are a lot more expensive. Last, the only other difference I see between Steam and MS Store is that with Steam I can play games in my bedroom TV and my phone from anywhere. MS Store doesn't have a feature like this where you can stream their games yet, and that sometimes tips the scales towards steam which has great support for it. Do I care about publisher revenue? Well, maybe for indies, so it's an additional good thing for MS Store, sure. But in the end it's all about the prices and Steam usually has better prices and sales.
  • Steam. It's fast and reliable. It also acts as a hub for managing all my games. I can't even uninstall apps/games from MS store.
  • The best thing is thier server speed.
  • What gives me the edge for Steam over MS store is Mods. For games without mods i don't care which Launcher they launch from. Except Epic, because i don't support them until they stop that exclusivity deals.
  • Multiple stores for less dependence on one company. Though I prefer Gog and Steam because of their forums and better searching.
  • steam. because MS Store is still buggy glitchy POS. slow. it's so bad.