Microsoft promises to improve the Windows Store

Rise of the Tomb Raider header

You can buy Rise of the Tomb Raider from Steam, or you can buy it from Microsoft. The price is the same, but as How-To Geek recently explained, the games themselves are not. The Windows Store version does not allow vsync to be disabled, and it always runs in “borderless fullscreen” mode, which can potentially limit performance. Even more problematic, because Microsoft Store games are built on the new “Universal Windows Platform” rather than as conventional executable files, modding isn't possible, nor can it be added to your Steam library, which means you can't play it with the Steam controller.

These may not be deal-breakers for people who just want to raid some tombs when they have a few minutes to spare, but if you've purchased the game for your PC—as opposed to a console—then the odds are reasonably good that things like mod support and best-possible performance carry some significance. And no, not all games are going to support all things, but when the difference isn't the game but the platform on which it's offered, it's important to know what you're getting.

Microsoft's Mike Ybarra refuted the claim that the Microsoft Store prevents SLI and Crossfire from working, saying on Twitter that “games just need to support it,” but he also acknowledged, and promised to fix, the vsync issue—something that port developer Nixxes confirmed on Steam is a limitation of the UWP framework. Xbox boss Phil Spencer addressed the complaints more broadly, saying that Microsoft has “plans to improve” the store, although he didn't offer any specific examples of how.

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That's all well and good, certainly better than “we know it's kind of garbage but we don't care.” But it also risks reminding people of Microsoft's past promises related to PC gaming, which have given us such treasures as Games for Windows Live, not to mention the fact that Quantum Break, while no longer an Xbox exclusive, will only be available on the Windows Store. We'll have an interview up with Spencer tomorrow which will no doubt cover some of this ground.

Thanks, Ars Technica.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.