Microsoft Announces Steam Game Releases & Win32 Support

/ 3 years ago
windows 10 microsoft

Microsoft Surprises with Two Major Announcements!

Windows 10 has been with us for nearly five years now. With its release, Microsoft has been trying to bring the market (sometimes kicking and screaming) into what they feel is the next generation of operating system standards. There has, however, been a bit of a problem. Namely that their standards haven’t always met those of us poor humble consumers.

The operating system generally looked to push two major aspects. Firstly the strong-arming of their Store platform and secondly the near abandonment of the Win32 (32-bit) style of program design.

In a surprise post by Xbox chief Phil Spencer, however, it seems that Microsoft may be set to surprise us all. How? Well, not only have they announced that official Win32 support will be brought to their Store, but also that they will release a number of their games via the Steam platform.

Windows 10 64-bit Now Has Over 50.5% Usage Share on Steam Survey as of March 2017

That Was Unexpected!

In the post (which you can read in full here) Phil Spencer has said:

In March. We announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will come to PC later this year. Launching on Steam in addition to the Microsoft Store on Windows. We will continue to add to the more than 20 Xbox Game Studios titles on Steam, starting with Gears 5 and all Age of Empires I, II & III: Definitive Editions. [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. 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.

In regards to Win32 support, he then went on to add:

We want creators to be inspired to bring their best content to Windows 10. And we want Windows 10 to be the place where gamers come to discover their next favorite PC game. 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. 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.

phil spencer

What Do We Think?

In truth, while entirely welcome, this is also incredibly unexpected. The inclusion of their games on Steam seems almost an admission that their Store platform isn’t entirely popular. Well, at least not as much as they might have hoped with PC gamers. Something I would, incidentally, happily confirm just from my own experiences. I’ve personally never purchased a single game from Microsoft directly.

Bringing formal Win32 support, however, is a hugely surprising move though. Particularly considering that the launch of Windows 10 was (pretty much) the abandonment of the 32-bit platform.

More news is expected from the company at E3 2019 (which is just a couple weeks away). That time may just give us time to at least recover from the shock of what is two announcements that are (as the Americans might say) way out of left-field!

What do you think? Are you surprised by this news? – Let us know in the comments!

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