Xbox boss admits Microsoft has 'a ton of work' to do on the Windows Store

The Windows Store was the one constant in our summertime chat about playing games that aren't available on Steam. Terms including "pain in the ass," "abomination," "terrible," and "a lone trash fire in this landscape of things which are broadly fine and broadly functional" were all used to describe the platform and the experience of using it. As reported by The Verge, Xbox chief Phil Spencer acknowledged at the recent XO18 event that the storefront does still have a few issues, but said he's going to get more personally involved in making it better. 

"I think we’ve got a ton of work to do on Windows," Spencer said. "Windows is something I’m very committed to, I’ve heard the feedback about our Store. I’m going to take a bigger leadership role on what’s going on with the Windows Store, make it really tailored to the gamers that we know want to see the best from what we have to offer." 

It's good when high-placed executives recognize the shortcomings of their offerings instead of trying to sweep them under the rug, and pledge to address them in a meaningful way. The trouble with the Windows Store is that we've heard all of this before, and it never seems to go anywhere. Spencer said in 2017 that "we have work to go do" to make the Windows Store experience better. He said in early 2016 that Microsoft "plans to improve" the Windows Store. He admitted in 2015 that Microsoft "made commitments to developers and consumers that I don’t feel we lived up to."   

All the way back in 2008, John Schappert, at the time Microsoft's vice president of Live software and sales, wrote an open letter (via Kotaku) promising that "Microsoft's continued investments will enable game publishers to take advantage of that connectivity while delivering to consumers the kinds of gaming experiences they will love." And yet, the Windows Store still sucks.

Spencer said earlier this year that the Xbox App for Windows 10, intended to help bring PCs and Xbox consoles together into an overall Xbox gaming "ecosystem," is being reworked to make it less console-like. That process is presumably still in the works.

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.