There are big changes on the way for the Microsoft Store with Windows 11 (and later through updates to Windows 10), including policy changes that could make the marketplace a little more useful for gamers. Microsoft has announced it will soon allow third-party storefronts to be downloaded direct through the built-in store, starting with the Epic Games Store and Amazon.
"...today we’re announcing another significant update to our Microsoft Store on Windows policies, which will allow third-party storefront apps to be discoverable in the Microsoft Store on Windows," Microsoft says in a blog post. Just like any other app, third-party storefront apps will have a product detail page that can be found via search or by browsing – so that users can easily find and install it with the same confidence as any other app in the Microsoft Store on Windows."
The move follows a similar opening up of the Microsoft Store to other browsers beyond Microsoft Edge in June.
It all looks like Microsoft wants its store to be the centre of your Windows experience, and to do that it's going to need to seriously shake up the exisging Windows 10 Store experience. Opening its store up to other companies, even rivals, is certainly one way to make it a little more useful, but there's still work to be done to ensure the UI and user experience are also up to the challenge.
Windows 11 will introduce a fresh lick of paint for the Microsoft Store when it arrives on October 5, at least, with Windows 10 devices receiving the new version "in the coming months."
The decision to open up Microsoft's store appears a timely one. Company storefronts, and the fees and mechanisms through which customers spend their money on these storefronts, are being called into question by the Epic v Apple trial. That's technically now over today, but you betcha there'll be far more to this story over the coming months and years.
At least Microsoft's making it easy for Epic on this count: the company has stated it will no longer require app developers to share revenue if they manage their own payment systems, which Epic will do for its own store.