Microsoft today announced Xbox Game Pass for PC, the availability of Xbox Game Studios PC games on Steam, and Win32 game support in the Microsoft Store.
“As the creators of Windows, we have a unique responsibility to ensure we’re investing in experiences that benefit players everywhere, while respecting the PC community’s preference for an open, highly customizable platform,” Microsoft head of Xbox Phil Spencer writes. “[But] we’ve not always lived up to our aspiration of keeping gamers at the center of everything we do when it comes to the experience they’ve had on Windows.”
That’s changing. Today, Microsoft announced three PC-based gaming initiatives. They are:
Xbox Game Pass for PC. As Brad wrote previously, Microsoft is bringing its Xbox Game Pass subscription to the PC as “a new experience” that offers a library of over 100 high-quality PC games on Windows 10. Game developers and publishers Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Paradox Interactive, SEGA, and others are on board, Microsoft says. And the firm is working with over 75 developers and publishers to bring more PC content to the service every month going forward.
Xbox Game Studios titles in other stores. Continuing its commitment to expand its offering beyond the limited Microsoft Store, Microsoft will bring all of its first-party titles—including Halo: Master Chief Collection, Gears 5, and all Age of Empires I, II and III: Definitive Editions—to multiple third-party stores, starting with Steam. “We know millions of PC gamers trust Steam as a great source to buy PC games and we’ve heard the feedback that PC gamers would like choice,” Mr. Spencer says. “We also know that there are other stores on PC, and we are working to enable more choice in which store you can find our Xbox Game Studios titles in the future.”
Win32 games in the Microsoft Store. Hammering another nail into the UWP coffin, Microsoft will allow developers to sell their native Win32 games—i.e. most Windows games—in the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 for the first time. “We recognize that Win32 is the app format that game developers love to use and gamers love to play, so we are excited to share that we will be enabling full support for native Win32 games to the Microsoft Store on Windows,” Spencer writes. “This will unlock more options for developers and gamers alike, allowing for the customization and control they’ve come to expect from the open Windows gaming ecosystem.”
Spencer says that Microsoft will have more to say about these and other PC gaming efforts at its E3 2019 briefing on June 9.