gowultimate100647837orig
IT & Systems Management

The Windows Store gears up for all-out war with Steam

Microsoft would really like developers to put their PC games in the Windows Store now.

During its 2016 Build developers conference, Microsoft discussed several ways it will beef up its digital storefront, making it more of a direct competitor to Valve’s Steam platform. These include table-stakes features like mod and overlay support, along with new ways for publishers to sell their products.

In May, Microsoft will add support for Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s Freesync, two variable refresh rate methods that help combat stuttering and tearing. Players will also be able to disable V-Sync, a software-based anti-tearing method that tends to impact performance.

Microsoft added that support for mods and overlays is coming, along with an exclusive full-screen mode that frees up more resources for graphics cards. However, the company was light on specifics for these features, and didn’t say when they’d become available.

None of those additions will matter much if game makers aren’t putting their wares in the Windows Store. To make its own storefront more enticing, Microsoft will offer a conversion tool for Win32 games, turning them into Universal Windows Platform apps. Developers can then sell these games in the Windows Store, and support Windows 10 features such as Live Tiles.

As an “experiment,” Microsoft and CDProjekt Red converted The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt into a Universal Windows Platform app.

New sales hooks such as bundles, season passes, and pre-orders are coming to the Windows Store as well, though Microsoft stopped short of announcing any more cross-buy or cross-platform multiplayer hooks for Xbox and Windows. (The company appears to be moving in that direction with its own games, at least.)

Microsoft didn’t completely ignore the Xbox One during its Build presentation, noting that Cortana and background music support are coming to the console as part of the Windows 10 “Anniversary Update” this summer. Still, the company seems to be saving more of its Xbox news for the E3 gaming trade show in June.

IDG Insider

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« HoloLens is here: Microsoft begins shipping hardware to developers

NEXT ARTICLE

Apple releases new Safari Technology Preview for web developers »
author_image
IDG News Service

The IDG News Service is the world's leading daily source of global IT news, commentary and editorial resources. The News Service distributes content to IDG's more than 300 IT publications in more than 60 countries.

  • Mail

Recommended for You

International Women's Day: We've come a long way, but there's still an awfully long way to go

Charlotte Trueman takes a diverse look at today’s tech landscape.

Trump's trade war and the FANG bubble: Good news for Latin America?

Lewis Page gets down to business across global tech

20 Red-Hot, Pre-IPO companies to watch in 2019 B2B tech - Part 1

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?