Quantum Break is coming to Steam, but that won't stop it being updated on the Windows 10 Store

Remedy Entertainment and Microsoft Studios are bringing the time-warping shooter Quantum Break to Steam, leading to all sorts of speculation about failed sales expectations, soured business relationships and beyond.

Remedy's Thomas Puha previously tweeted that it was "unlikely" that Remedy would release another Windows 10 patch, but has since clarified that the Windows 10 Store version will be updated to maintain parity with the Steam version.

Thomas Puha apologized for the confusion caused by his earlier tweet, while stating that updates for Quantum Break on Steam will also hit the Windows 10 Store version.

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Apps packaged for the Universal Windows Platform essentially run inside a container that mimics a standard Windows environment. It wouldn't necessarily be a huge amount of work for Remedy to bring any updates to the Win32 version of Quantum Break to the UWP packaged version of the game, and hopefully, Thomas Puha's comments above reflect that.

I have seen plenty of speculation across the internet regarding Quantum Break's imminent release on Steam pointing to poor sales on the Windows 10 Store, poor return on investment and so on. I think the reality is a little more mundane.

When it comes to second party deals, it's all about business, and every contractual agreement is different. Remedy has a long history of supporting Win32 PC games, and they enjoy a strong heritage as PC game developers. I think it's safe to presume that Quantum Break was always planned for a Steam launch, but it also presented a unique opportunity for Microsoft to not only promote the Windows 10 Store as a core gaming platform, but also gather feedback on where UWP gaming excels, and where it fails.

If the Universal Windows Platform is ever going to reach the level of quality it needs to compete with Win32 as a way for distributing games, they need to actually sell games on it and gather feedback from regular consumers.

That said, there's simply no way that a PC game distributed on the Windows 10 Store will earn as much as games distributed on Steam at this point. With Quantum Break's initial sales long behind it, putting it out to Windows 8 and Windows 7 PCs on the tried and tested Steam platform is essentially free money for both Remedy and Microsoft Studios. It's a no-brainer, and it's not like there isn't already a precedent for this happening.

Quantum Break

Dead Rising 3, a former Xbox exclusive also hit Steam. Rise of the Tomb Raider, previously Xbox and Windows 10 Store exclusive, also arrived on Steam. Both of those titles have their own publishers, but Microsoft brought Ori and the Blind Forest to Steam as the publisher too, despite it hitting Xbox and Windows 10 UWP as an exclusive last year.

With a second party developer involved, there are most likely royalty payments on units sold. Maximizing those royalties on PC means the game needs to hit Steam, which is by far the most popular distribution platform for PC games. To that end, you should expect other Xbox One and Windows 10 Store exclusives like ReCore and Scalebound to hit Steam in the future as well.

There's no conspiracy here, just good business sense, and it will help to keep Microsoft Studios as a self-sustaining entity, enabling them to innovate, take risks and ultimately, fund more games.

Quantum Break will hit Steam on September 14th, 2016.

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!

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that patch parity with the Steam version is not really what those who bought the Windows 10 version are looking for. Rather, they would want to see the various problems of the Windows 10 version resolved, something that is obviously not happening anymore?!
  • I wouldn't be sure of that. Xbox gaming on Windows 10 is in the very early stages, but I can guarantee that gaming (and improving it) is a big focus for them. In fact, look for FY17 to be about "Reinvent gaming on PCs" which is right from their internal roadmap. They have a lot of work to do to bring Xbox (console) and PC together, but it is happening and Scorpio will be the culmination of that. UWP is an ongoing thing that needs more APIs, better PoS experiences, and dev tools, but those are coming. Redoing a whole ecosystem is not easy, but it is the future for Microsoft. The bigger issue is consumers and even the media experience technology in real-time and rarely think beyond a few months. Microsoft does not have that luxury as they are thinking 5 years from now. I get that consumers could be unhappy with things, that's important, but the fact that some media (and Sweeney) can't see beyond what's in front of them is dissapointing.
  • Aye, the fact Phil Spencer said they used Centennial to bring The Witcher 3 to UWP months ago, but the fact we still haven't seen it on the Store kinda says to me that there's still a lot of work to be done to make UWP as compliant as Win32.
  • Centennial push for apps/games is this Fall. I'll share more later :P
  • Wait what? @jcw Did you research this?
  • Well, of course everyone wants patch parity between different platforms in the end. My point is that MS (and the developers) need to iron out the quite significant problems with games on the Windows store FIRST. After all, what good does patch parity do when one version of a game performs markedly worse than the other version?!
  • I would so much rather and prefer not being forced to use steam and forced to being online just to play my games which I technically own but also I don't own considering the only way I can play the games I own on steam is by installing and running their client, I can't just turn on my PC and simply only open a game without launching steam first to authorize my ownership. So yea, I can't wait until I don't have to use steam anymore and I can download every game I want from the windows store directly and really, truly, own it. Gears of war went great! And so many others games are getting put out with XBL additions that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! So yea. I'm very happy about this. I want steam gone.
  • Agreed steam is evil
  • How is Steam "evil"?
  • I wouldn't call them evil at all. However, their "system" for Steam, UI, site layout, etc. is all super messy and quite an eye sore. I think they could do much better were they not so inelegant.
  • you can use steam skins metro for steam pretty much brings steam part to windows 10
  • Can you get refunds on your digital purchases on XBOX/WINDOWS? Honest question and a link would be appreciated. If not, who's evil then? Someone who takes your money whether something works or not...or someone willling to give you your money back due to your bad experience.
  • Wasn't this refund policy brought about because Valve were taken to court and found to be in breach of consumer rights? Pretty sure that's what happened here in Australia.
  • I didn't ask if VALVE had a refund policy or why they had one. I asked if Microsoft did and a link to theirs.  Regardless of how it happened, it happened. To my knowledge and apparently to anyone here, there is no such thing with Microsoft. So, if the game doesn't work even though you meet the requirements, Microsoft will still screw you. So, again who is evil then?
  • You can get refunds from Microsoft, I've done it plenty.
  • What UWP game did you get a refund for? Is there a link to such a refund policy?  I've gotten refunds from them as well for my Music Sub.  So, when I get Gears 4 and supposing it doesn't work, how would I go about getting my refund. On Steam, I email them and within 24 hours I get a refund. How does this work on the Windows Store?
  • I got a refund for an Xbox game my sibling purchased on my account by accident. Presume it's the same process to get a refund on W10 Store. But refunds are law in the EU, dunno about US actually.
  • Look up MS's refund policy yourself jose or you can just keep making assumptions it doesn't exist. I was just pointing out the company you were defending was found to be in breach of Australian consumer law this year with regards to their refund policy on Steam. So judging by the fact that in Australia the refund policy must abide with the law it is irrelevant if the company has one or not because the consumer is entitled to one, good eh.
  • Europe and Australia does not equal USA. It clearly states when you buy something at the Windows store "No refunds." So, I'm not making assumptions. I'm pointing out a fact backed by Microsoft themselves.   
  • Although I don't necessarily want to see the demise of Steam, I am grateful for their forward thinking which saved me from buying games on physical media. However I am quite sick of all these launchers Steam and similar services requires you to run. I'll much rather buy my games in the Windows Store just to avoid these launchers (buy/play anywhere is of course also a great incentive to buy from the Windows Store).
  • whats the problem with steam you can use it even when you are offline and steam is not the problem the problem is everyone brings DRM if you check out GOG you can find games without DRM
  • Ummm...you have to be signed in to your XBOX APP in order to play your games, so I don't see how Windows 10 is any different.
  • If your windows 10 account is linked to your ms account you only sign in once.
  • In an update that came a while back, you do not need to connect to the internet to play games. You need to sign in so data gets saved to an account (mainly for users that share an Xbox, but like to keep game progress separate), but no internet connection/xbox live is required (assuming the game is has offline game play).
  • Eh what?
    There is offline mode in Steam. You never be forced to be online, get your fact straight. You get to open Steam in offline mode if there's no internet connection.
  • I still think it's a mistake for Microsoft to bring this to Steam. Yes, it will lead to more sales, but so would porting it to PS4. When you're trying to build a new ecosystem, you have to be willing to take losses early on or the ecosystem will be less likely to take off once users of competing stores realize they don't have to leave those stores to get what you're selling. It also doesn't help that the Xbox team flat-out lied to their customers about this game repeatedly, first portraying it as an Xbox One exclusive, then sayinig it's an Xbox and Windows 10 exclusive, specifically saying it won't be on Steam. And, here, a mere 6 months later, it's going to be on Steam. That kind of dishonesty irks people, as it should.  
  • I agree the messaging isn't great, but this was a second party deal. MS will invest in UWP with first party games, like Gears 4, Halo Wars, etc.
  • Why don't they just turn the Windows store into a third party client, and simply monetize it with ads? Microsoft's app store is obviously never gonna be as good as Google's and Apple's. So why try to compete on their level, using "modern apps?" The modern UI stuff is only a very tiny portion of what the long running Windows OS is about...so take advantage of its other features. Especially legacy desktop apps. Just change it into a LARGE monetized client that hosts modern UI apps, desktop apps (from all over the web,) implement Steam, and all of its games, Origin, Uplay, Blizzard, etc. People always complain about how those are all separated anyway. Keep it all fancy, simple using, and easy to use. Kind of like a porn search using Bing...how it brings info from all types of sites into one fancy search. I bet people would like the store then, and you'd probably make more money in the long run, due to the monetization.
  • I think you're missing the point of selling these games on the Windows Store.
    1. Microsoft has an advantage over Google and Apple by being able to sell Xbox and PC games on the Store. In this respect they are competing with Steam, not Apple or Google.
    2. These games have nothing to do with the modern UI, it's all about UWP (universal windows platform), i.e. buy it once and be able to play them on both the Xbox and PC (and perhaps other platforms). It also cleans up the install and uninstall process by confining them in a single application file. By unifying Xbox and PC games in a single store, MS is finally adding content that should make the store more popular, which also should help sales of more mobile oriented games.
    And why shouldn't MS take a share of sales (instead of adds), it's not like Google, Apple or Steam are letting publishers/developers sell their games for free on their stores?
  • No....I'm not missing the point. Microsoft is missing the point. They shouldn't and don't have to compete with Steam. They should work with them. I'm not saying to kill the UWP, Xbox integration, and all the other stuff. Hell, they should keep that!! Things that they publish THEY SHOULD make money off of, in the store...ALONG with traffic driven ads. They can drive traffic by putting a ton of third party programs in the store, hence the monetization. Let's say for example programs like the Adobe suite, Office desktop suite, Xpadder, FRAPS, Sony Vegas, crystal disk mark, CCleaner, UTorrent, Steam games, etc., people shouldn't have to scour the web, or third party clients to find these programs. They should be sitting in the store, along with all the UWP stuff, and ads. The store should be able to directly download these programs, directly from their respective sites. As for mobile they already lost that war, due to lack of apps compared to Google, and Apple. They need to give people a powerful incentive, and attack the mobile market in a different angle. Here's an idea... They should replace Sony's failed PS Vita, and Ironically transform Windows phones into powerful gaming platforms, rather than an obviously failing business directive. Make high production value AAA mobile versions of Gears of War, Halo, Killer Instinct, Conker, Perfect Dark, Kameo, Quantum Break, Tomb Raider, Dead Rising, exclusive third party games, etc. that you can only find on Windows phones. Transform the market into it hits the point of....You buy an Iphone or Android if you want apps, but crappy-mediocre flooded free to play games. You buy a Windows phone if you want lack-luster apps, but good AAA mobile gaming. I bet if they did what I suggest people definitely wouldn't ignore the Windows store, and mobiles, and they'd make way more money!!!
  • It sounds like you just described Windows :P
  • Remedy want that money lets be honest, i am guessing Quantum Break didn't sell too well on Windows Store, personally i bought the game on Xbox One and got a free code for the Windows 10 version, ran into a few problems on the Win10 version but Microsoft and Remedy were quick to fix many of them. The reality is steam is too big of a service to be ignored, i wouldn't at all be suprised if we see Gears Of War Ultimate and Halo Wars 2 coming to steam as well in the future, it will take a while for Windows Store to gain a significant foothold in the digital distribution space, Windows Store already has a superior store interface, all it needs is more dev support and the ball will start rolling, until then Steam will continue to dominate. 
  • So...can I now mod games downloaded from the store?
  • such a good game! #savethelibray  
  • If putting quantum break in steam means I get a sequel. I'm all for it... I think Scorpio will signal the end of the xbox hardware and beginning of the PC xbox hardware box. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Steam is miles ahead of Windows Store in terms as a game distribution platform. Also it does not help to release broken games.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider was always available on Steam. It was never a Windows 10 Store exclusive on PC.
  • I purchased Quantum Break through the MS Store earlier this year. How do I add it to Steam? I tried my MS Store Quantum Break key, but Steam won't accept it.