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Some Story Remix content will be locked behind an Office 365 subscription

When the Fall Creators Update lands, the Photos app is set to get some interesting new ways to edit albums and video with a feature called Story Remix. Part of that includes a number of new effects, themes, and music that will serve to spice up your creations. A lot of that content will be available to everyone, but it seems that some of it will be offered at a premium.

As spotted by OnMSFT, a new update to the Photos app for Skip Ahead Insiders indicates that some content will require an Office 365 subscription to unlock. Not all content is locked, but some 3D effects, music, and text styles will be locked unless you're a subscriber to Microsoft's monthly office subscription.

This isn't unique to Story Remix, as Microsoft also locks off some features of its free Office Mobile apps and Sway for Office 365 subscribers. Still, it's an interesting choice, to say the least.

Story Remix Exclusive Content

The 3D effects coming to Story Remix have been in testing with Skip Ahead Insiders since mid-September. Microsoft previously confirmed that these 3D effects, which were originally expected to launch with the Fall Creators Update, will instead arrive sometime within "the following months."

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • Good thinking by Microsoft
  • Looking forward to the explanation why a Photo app would need an Office subscription.....
  • Yes, just put a fee on it in the store to unlock premium features MS. Don't bundle it with Office, because many people won't want or need to buy Office. This smells of another move away from consumers, but worse because if this is to become the trend (essentially locking non-business features away for business users only or home users prepared to subscribe to business packages just to get the consumer features) then things will get hard in future. Remember, Windows is to go modular soon(ish) and when that happens we will have to buy most components above a basic install (which will be rather Windows S I guess) separately and I was hoping it would be micro payments (bad, but not the worst). This way of force bundling, we'll have to buy Office just to get fully functional Windows. That, MS, is sharp practice. I hope the competition people catch on to this as MS needs to be brought back to decent practices somehow.
  • You do realize that Office 365 comes in both business and personal variants, right? And that Office 365 Personal is used for more than just Office; it also comes with premium features for OneDrive and Skype? It makes total sense to add premium Photos features to it as well.
  • No Office Consumer version though. Personal it may be, but it's still an expensive business package that very many home users just don't need.
  • no consumer version? really? Personal and Home are both consumer oriented subscriptions which both are more than worth their buck if you list all the stuff you get so you can pull your head out of the sand there... despite that, I also don't understand why they'd link features like these to an O365 subscription.
  • Really? Worth it are they? So I have Office on two laptops, bought by my employer to do work with, because they need me to have it. For private use on my desktop PC I have LibreOffice. And I have a NAS so no need for Onedrive beyond the odd app that syncs via that. I can't see the value in Office 365 myself. Of course MS don't like that...
  • Why should anyone need to purchase Word, Excel and Powerpoint to edit photos and videos?
  • Absolutely.
  • So, to be clear, is your issue that they're requiring you to pay for premium features or that they're tying it an unrelated product? What if they just said, "Hey, Story Remix has some premium features, and you're going to have to pay $1.99/month for them" as opposed to bundling it free with Office 365? Would you have an issue with that?
  • Paying is fine. Ideally in the price I pay when I buy Windows. If they think Photos should not be included with the OS I disagree, but they could sell it in the store (one off fee mind, there's no way I'm ever going to subscribe for software, that's just not for me). What is not cool at all is splitting it between two products in an attempt to boost Office 365 sales, a product which many people simply have no need for even if it is a great product for those that do. That's just sharp practice.
  • That would be a bet ter idea, or eve n a one off payment.  This subscription rubbish is getting too much. i do not want to subscribe to use a product, I want to buy it outright, this is why i will not use Adobe products.  
  • No it don't make sense at all, just another way to get people to use office 365. a lot of beuinses will already use office 365, but i doubt will have much use story remix, so this is to get the public subscribe to somthing they may not need. Sure there is more to office 365 than office, but not much more,   Makes no odds to me as I will never use story remix, in fact when I everntulyy update to windows fall creator, i will be getting rid of story remix.  
  • It doesn't NEED an Office subscription.  It works just fine without it.  However, some additional features will require payment.  Presumably because there is cost to MS associated with these features?  
  • Of course it needs a subscription, you dont get full functionality without one. Why not let people pay for those additional features with a credit card? Why require a subscription to a totally unrelated product?
  • Read the article... Certain content and not features are locked behind office360. 
  • I think you know why. It discourages customers from using alternative Office solutions since they'll have to buy Office to get a fully functional Windows. This is the prep for Windows going modular and being sold piecemeal, and away from focussing on consumers.
  • But it is a fully functional windows, you can run the software you want on it so it is fully functional.  I always thought that most of the extras on Windows ten are a gimmick or worse than what is on older versions of Windows.  Look at the photo  app, the  windows photo viewer from older versions of windows is so much better, the same with pain, far better than the 3D paint. While i will not be using the phjoto app and story remix and as people have said it is content not the software itself, I still think this is just a way to get more people using office 365 and get more intergrated into the MS eco system.   Myself i have no need for Ms eco system, there is nothing they offer that interests me apart from skype and i use my old skype name to use that.          
  • Come on, who is going to pay a subscription for those silly features? it's an app for kids.
  • There is one problem. I already have office 365 but the photos app says I haven't.
  • sound like a backend bug
  • I have one with get update on the release ring
  • is the O365 sub linked to the same Microsoft account you use for installing Store apps? but sounds like some bug indeed.
  • They should make a full UWP video and photo editor and show devs it is fully mature now.
  • I get putting premium features behind a paywall, especially if features that cost them money like music licensing. Tying it to Office is not an obvious connection, but I also wouldn't like the idea of making it a standalone sale and I'm not complaining considering I have a few Office365 subscriptions (including Home on my primary PC account). 
  • Umm, the pay wall is on the front of the Windows 10 box on the shelf? I've paid for Windows. I don't want to buy Office thanks.
  • Than don't use centain "3D effects, music, and text styles".  
  • Why? What if I want to buy those features but I'm a consumer and I don't want to buy Office... Oh yes, of course, no more consumer focus.
  • First off content is not features.Second they havent announce anything  regarding integration with office or the ability to do one time purchases for certain content. 
  • Whether the software features content or contains features is beside the point. And if you wait for MS to actually announce stuff you'll fall in to the same old MS trap again. A healthy degree of cynicism is the only way to be agile enough to avoid the common MS pitfalls.
  • I don't mind if they charge for some features cause they may actually be 'premium', but I don't like the fact that someone will need and Office365 plan to use them... Does it make sense?
  • how to kill a decent product - ms example 1342
  • You're not missing anything.  This app is a joke.  Get a real video editing program.  Heck, I use Nero Video and it's much more capable, and I don't feel like I'm using an app made for a 5 year old.
  • Nero video er, that is going back a bit, I got that installed on my computer , but it is abouut 5 years old, It is part of  Nero media and I only use the nero burniong rom anyway. But you are right, use a proper editor, there are so many free ones out there, some that are simple ones, like shotcut adn Kden live is in beta on Windows now, if people want to get bit more complex and professional, well tbhere is sucha choice out there now for free. Davinci Resolve, by black magic Lightworks, a well know editor. The one i use Hitfilm express, a great video editor, and also effects producer like Adobe after effects, sure it do not have all the same effects, but then it is free, but it is a bit of a lerning curve, but worth it. Avid is also producing a free editor, not that I would recomend it if you wanrt to keep your sanity, I have used the pro version a couple of times, but again it is a well use editor.    You Tube is your friend if people want to learn how to use them, that is what I have done.  More control over your videos.        
  • Do you have a free copy of Nero Video? Why Nero Video is not free? ;)
  • Fine by me
  • Well, that's a slap in the face... anyone care to explain how they will approach this with teenagers? After all it's mostly the younger generation that will be using all the app's features. They should have made them optional in-app purchases. Secondly, there are soooooo many other apps out there that will do and offer many functionality for free whilst being ad-supported. Thirdly, on a PC... you can download many third part win32 applications for free... Microsoft is really not getting the concept of monetisation if they think people will pick up subs to use additional and basic effects.
  • I will not be using this app then. If this is how Windows will be like in the future, I want no part of it.
  • I use better Media Editing software, anyways. But I've been moving away from Windows 10 anyways. Only one more device to replace, and I'll be free :-) No pun intended...
  • Let's be honest here, any 'app' that's even partially behind a paywall is primarily designed to nudge you towards another service, and thus start paying a subscription - in this case O365. This is what Windows 10 is primarily about. Expect to see plenty more of this as MS cram in the features.
  • As long as it's tied to O365 im good..I pay for that service anyways.
  • You are not wrong and this is what Windows 10 been about since launch, this is why MS have pushged windows 10 so much, not because they wan us all to be on eht e same wiondows for update reasons, it is because they want to push us inot other services. Windows 8 was the start of it and if it did not fail the way it did then we would be futher along in this MS eco system.   Even on instaling windows it pushes people into having an MS account,  setting up a local account will not hard is still hidden.          
  • Really,  it's no different than Apple and their account system as well.  The only service now that you really don't need to have an account is linux.
  • But Linux is not a service it is an opertaing system, just like Windows 10 is suppose to be, but Ms do not like calling it that now, they call it an computer envoiment system.  But you do not need an account to use it, how ever much Ms tried to push it, I do not have an MS account. Anmdroids can be used without an account as well, I know a couple of people who have android phones and do not have an account, my Nexus 7 tablety is not linked to a Google account. Still works, sure some features i can not use, but it is not that important for a tablet.   Apple seems to push their service more than MS do and while I doubt you can get away with not having an Apple Id account on a Iphone, it is possible on a Mac, just about. I have no intention of having a MS account and i have no intention of  using the MS eco system as i have no need for it.    
  • But I do not own an Xbox, in fact thhe only gaming console i have now that is working is a Wii U, I never owned a an Xbox,, never wanted one. So I can make do without an MS account.