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Xbox head pledges to improve gaming on the Windows Store with fixes for Vsync and more

The Windows Store is an in-built application for all Windows 10 users, providing direct access to a large library of apps, games and other entertainment. With the Xbox-brand having established its largest-ever presence on PC alongside Windows 10, Microsoft has started to push first-party triple-A titles onto the platform.

With the recent release of Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC, gamers have begun to question the potential of the Windows Store and its ability to handle modern triple-A titles. As of now, games available through both the Windows Store and market-leader, Steam, see superior versions on Valve's digital distribution platform. These issues are mostly attributed to the limitations of the current Windows Store, with many features absent that gamers consider a core component of a PC release.

Head of Xbox at Microsoft, Phil Spencer has addressed these concerns, promising that they are looking to improve the gaming experience for Windows 10 users.

Earlier today, Microsoft's Mike Ybarra followed up to this comment by confirming one of the store's most requested fixes is in the works, giving players greater control over vertical synchronization. The setting, which is commonly applied to games to eliminate screen-tearing, can have a significant effect on the game's performance. In the current implementation, all copies of games purchased through the Windows Store have Vsync permanently enabled, without the option to toggle the setting.

With the upcoming release of Remedy's Quantum Break for Windows 10 and more triple-A titles in the pipeline, it's critical an expansive experience is offered to those who game using the Windows Store. Microsoft already has scheduled an appearance at GDC, hosting multiple sessions for developing Windows games. At these events, we may hear more about upcoming changes to the Windows Store, that better accommodate full-fledged titles.

Source: Phil Spencer (Twitter), Mike Ybarra (Twitter) via GameSpot (1,2)

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

  • Ah, VSync, how I love you. Cough Dolphin Emu Cough.
  • Soon...
  • In fairness, what they are doing is a huge endeavor. The notion that you just start putting 36GB AAA games in the Store using a single app package for distribution is not trivial and anyone who thinks it will be 100% out the gate is dreaming. This is a paradigm shift for Microsoft and the companies involved. The Steam we have today is not the same from a decade ago.
  • Then why start with 36GB AAA games? Why not have started by pushing some of their older IPs? Age of Empires remastered? Rise of Nations remastered? SkiFree?
  • Part of it is they can, the other is to see what works and what doesn't.
  • Of course they can do whatever they want... like last-minute PC ports. Seems like more of a course correction after Xbox has failed to sell the types of numbers they thought it would. They're left stumbling, attempting to break even on these exclusives, and porting to PC with optimization features absent. Have they learned nothing from launching products too early?
  • Lol & this is why sony abandoned PC support to many variables in hardware
  • That's an interesting take on the sales of XB1. PS4 has out sold it bt a large amount but hasn't the XB1 outpaced Xbox 360 sales over the same period? This would suggest that XB1 is selling inline with expectations, its just that the PS4 has well exceeded expectations.
  • Yeah, no. A broken POS game like Halo MCC NEVER would have been released if they weren't struggling and desperate to bring more people onto Xbox One. What they failed to take account of is just how many Xboxes would be returned/traded in. Prices on used Xbox1s dip low as $130 sometimes. Denotes a huge amount of overstock. Used PS4s sometimes dip down into $180 territory when inventory's high. They're now essentially looking to break even on first-party games. They're putting ROTR in an additional storefront missing crucial graphics settings. And as for the previously announced console-exclusive, here's hoping Quantum Break is actually feature-complete come April.
  • I enjoy when people bring up statistics that they made up.     Not saying you are wrong but these type of assumption have no place in a meaningful conversation on sales numbers.  
  • This is the Windows Central comments section so you must be a huge fan of this part of the site :)
  • Sadly, I'm a fan of very little these days. But surely you know what that's like.
  • Halo MCC is one of the best games out there, did it need some work? Yes, but then again so do 90% of games released today. Like Assasin's Creed, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty, just to name a few.
  • I love Fallout 4 but I'm still hoping the rest of the game will be released, like some more stability fixes and the CK.
  • Agreed, it's unrealistic to expect full parity from day one. This really is the future of computing in general and over the next few years I expect the shift to tilt even further towards the Win10 method of deployment, not just for Windows but across all platforms. The ideal scenario is everything ends up being one click, just like when I want a new VM on Azure, click a few buttons and a few minutes later I'm up and running with everything I need preinstalled. Running installers and selecting install options is so 1990's! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Exactly. Too bad gamers don't see the benefit from going to this model or at least not understandable that it's a big shift in how we consume and how they distribute. These features will come, just not out the gate.
  • Oh man... Steam 10 years ago was like willingly installing a virus! It sucked down internet bandwidth that people didn't have. It would often get stuck pegging a CPU core at 100% for no reason (which was a big deal when you only had 2). Constant slow updates. Laggy web-based UI. Just constant issues. Not to say that Steam is perfect now... but it is pretty good. All things said, the MS Store is starting out in much better shape, as long as they improve quickly then they will be a major player in the PC game sales space in just a year or two. Really hope they succeed!
  • I don't mind Steam but I'm happy to move more to the Windows Store - They need to compete on the sales as well though. The last Xbox One sale had Saints Row and Metro Redux bundles for £6 - This was VERY un-Xbox to me, and is more like the kind of sale I get from Steam. I'm not saying every game should be dirt cheap, but as they get older, and in the few big steam sales each year you can really pad out your collection, and I want to see that from the Store in general across PC and Xbox as it grows.
  • Daniel Rubino, You always have some peculiar useless explanations of every stupid thing Microsoft does. AAA titles on Windows Store? Store cannot handle itself right now and they want PC games(40-50GB in size now a days) to be on such a unstable and terrible Store? What a cheap trick to force people to upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Only someone very stupid would feel forced to update by this
  • Oh, you're forced now because of games? I didn't know that was a feature. -_-
  • Steam was a pile of crap, when it came out. Pc gamers had a field day with memes with Valves steams logo..
  • And now see where STEAM is.. But that is not going to happen with that Windows Store, STEAM is already 10 years ahead of that Stupid Store.
  • You mad bro?  :P
  • Can people just stop responding to Kamesh, he's essentially admitted that the only reason he is on this site is to appease his deep seeded need for attention. Down vote and move on, lets not reward his pollution of the comment section.
  • And still, when it came out, it was the best steaming pile of **** available and has been for years after (not that I like the near monopoly Steam has on online PC sales).
  • It's good they're working on fixes, but I probably won't buy any game from the Store until then. I'll just gamefly Quantum Break and play it on my Xbox One. I've already played RoTR off Steam.
  • Then you'll have it free on Store so you can at least try it ;)
  • Only with preorders of the digital version of the game.
  • If anyone can turn Windows PC gaming around it's Phil Spencer.
  • Windows PC gaming doesn't need "turned around." Its better now than its ever been.  
  • This.
  • Doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. I still want to play games with my friends on PC and/or xbox when i'm on another device using the same friends list, party chat, invite, etc... and buy 1 game and have it on both systems. PC gaming doesn't have that right now but if it can, that would make it better.
  • Vsync is the devil!!
  • Now, let's hear a bit more on cross-buy. An official feature perhaps, instead of simply handing you a code?
  • How about they fix the issues with playing games before worrying about that? Cross-buy won't be worth a damn if folks hate playing stuff from the Windows Store.
  • Cross-buy takes no time to implement. There is really no need for them to wait when it's their own IP's. Outside sources, there is just red tape to get through.
  • How much of this is MS and how much is developers though? MS isn't developing the games for the most part, so lacking features seems more like it would fall on the dev team.
  • The problem is that the same games on steam are option complete. The MS store team has to find a way to allow for these option changes from within store environment.
  • Stop trying to popularize this Windows store games bullshit, just make a decent game and release it on Steam, it's so much more simple
  • Or you know, since you're neither a developer nor a game designer, you can GTFO with your highly non-constructive cynical sh!tty input. There is no benefit to a Steam hegemony.
  • Steam is Microsoft's competitor. Go on an article about Steam and whine about how Valve isn't releasing their first-party games for the Windows 10 Store, because that's how stupid your comment is. Steam is garbage. It's about time Microsoft is taking on Valve.
  • This post has to be a joke. Not even you could be this clueless.
  • The last time MS tried to directly take on Valve was with GFWL. That ended badly.
  • Steams console is basically a garbage. Even the controller is a POS.
  • You won't get any argument from me regarding the Steam controller (which I thought was pointless to begin with) or Steam machines (which are basically overpriced PCs).
  • How is buying a game on Steam more simple than buying a game on the Windows store? I have Steam but I also bought Rise of the Tomb Raider from the Windows Store and the experience is infinitely better than any experience I have had with Steam. I went to play Unreal Tournament III on Steam and we all had to wait for the Steam client to update AGAIN, and download other things while all I had to do was click on my Tomb Raider live tile and play. So much for Steam being so much simpler. Don't be defensive just to be defensive. The Windows Store provides downloads, updates and gaming from a single sign on, no 3rd party client needed, easy and simpler process just like buying an app on a cell phone, just in a triple-a PC gaming package. It is amazing and will improve over time. I'm still going to use and love Steam but I will buy a game from the Windows Store and have the account sync, ease of use, savings on resources, Xbox integration and more before I buy the game on Steam for the same price. Steam can take my money all day but I cannot factually claim Steam is simpler than buying a game from the Windows Store as buying from the Store is just as simple and lacks client updates and install management as buying from the Windows Store is
    on your phone. Sent from the Windows Central UWP app on a Lumia 950 XL.
  • Save this paragraph.. Take screenshot, copy text or whatever, but do keep it with you. And read again after not more than 8-10 months. Then we'll see how good that unstable and always unfinished Windows Store is in AAA titles.
  • You mad bro? :P
  • So bored of listening to you Kamesh. You're not as clever as you think - and you're damn annoying too.
    Can't you just quit commenting?!
  • Can't you just quit reading?
  • People always get bored while reading history :P if you can understand what I mean :P
  • Who gives a rat's ass if the Store app is unstable or crashes or whatever, after you buy and install the games they neither need nor use the Store app.
  • What will you do when store will crash while searching for the game.
  • Nice! This, exactly this. Also, I'd add that people seem to be confusing the UWP with the Windows Store.
  • Please explain me.. I don't understand UWP and Store even tough both are strictly releated to each other...
  • Store = Distribution channel of UWAs
    ​UWP = The platform in which one makes UWA based off of the WinRT API (and some Win32 API calls)  
  • MS doesn't have to release anything on steam. Just like EA, Blizzard and others.
  • EA has actually been supporting origin (nfs being an example as it seems like they dont have enough faith in offering it on other services or retail box as others like Gamestop pulled it after the delay)
  • Another alias, same kid
  • For MS's sake, this better not be GFWL 2.0. We all know how GFWL turned out.
  • They also need to add Nvidia Geforce panel support ! And FPS counter into xbox app. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Valve's worst nightmare is becoming true xD that's the reason why Gabe Newell started that steam machine thing
  • Wtf does the store have to do with game config. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • It's the way it works now, every "app" from the store must run with vsync on, the problem is when you want to gain some fps from real games even if tearing sucks a lot
  • I'm curious too, and that didn't quite answer the question.
  • Wait, they made a game out of that scene in The Revenant?
  • ok
  • Yeah, we need KI and Gears on Steam, sadly it looks like it won't happen
  • Steam and Origin were both lousy when they started out, and are still far from perfect. Steam got more popular when the regular sales started, more people started using it to save a few bucks not because it was the super slick service people make it out to be.
  • Yeah, when Steam first released, it was awful. The client has massively improved since, but only after years of refinement.
  • Any improvements to the store will be welcomed by me - I'm glad there's another competitor in the ring besides Steam and GoG. Origin is a competitor but they obviously rely on EA games to differentiate. I really want Microsoft to do a good job with the store, and things like Cross-Buy is one way they will convince me to buy from them over Steam.
  • Steam is a lot better right now.. Glad I bought ROTTR from Steam!!