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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 covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.