Dear Microsoft: Stop Making Games Exclusive Only to Windows 10.

A few days ago, I woke up and saw this article, and got pretty upset, because it was consistent with other sleazy moves that I saw Microsoft been doing to push Windows 10 towards mass adoption. So I decided to write this post.

tl;dr: Microsoft splits the PC community in two. Those who bought the game on Windows 10 Store weren’t able to play with players who bought it on Steam. What the fuck?

As an avid gamer and user of productivity softwares, I like Windows 10, it’s an intuitive and efficient operating system comparing to many Windows OS I’ve used over the past 20+ years:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98 (I played Doom)
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP (lots of MMO games and popular titles were played during this time)
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7 (started playing Minecraft from here)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10

See the pattern? I’m a big advocate of Windows when it comes to desktop operating system.

However, over the last couple of years this has changed for the worse. Windows 8 introduced a store designed to host specially designed games and programs that worked on a wide variety of devices. This was great, except the store was not unified. Programs developed for the desktop could not run on certain tablets, and good luck getting the Windows Phone programs to play nice on the desktop! Thus, we gamers had to stick to what we knew — Windows 7 (and XP for the avid retro gamer.)

I’m also a big advocate for open platform, where softwares are not tightly coupled. So when they advertised Windows 10, I had high hopes for it. The OS was good but not the way Microsoft try to shove it down everyone’s throat.

Windows 10 Store — advertised as “Your Games, Everywhere” (not really)

This iteration of the store advertised that programs can run on nearly everything, with limited exceptions based upon intended function. It slowly grew, with hiccups surrounding multi-player games making people question whether if their current device is enough. For instance, a recent version of “Call of Duty” was released for the Windows 10 store not that long ago (mentioned earlier in the post). The sale was a complete flop, due to incompatible cross platform gameplay experience, where players with Playstation could not play with players on Xbox, so the number of users that could utilize its multi-player capabilities to play with others are extremely limited. With players unable to join matches with their friends on different platforms, they demanded refunds. In Microsoft’s defense, they refunded all player’s money with no objections.

Instead of learning from this issue and allowing games in its stores to access other versions of the game online, Microsoft refused. It decided to go in the opposite direction — by trying to aggressively expand the market share of its most recent Windows store by limiting favorite exclusives to it.

Windows 10 Store Compatible Games Only

Freedom of platform is important, especially for online games in these genres:

  • Multiplayer Sandbox (Minecraft)
  • FPS
  • MOBA

It’s an online game, and being so, it should be available and played cross platform and device, regardless of which one it is.

Microsoft used to offer games for all platforms currently supported. This means you could buy games during the Windows 8 era and have them run on Windows 7 and Vista (for a short period of time.) However, the store presented Microsoft an opportunity to avoid the headache of making certain games ran on older systems.

Right now, Microsoft’s tactic is to enable cross platform gaming, but “cross platform” in their definition only goes as far as “Universal Windows 10 Platform”. However, if games or indie developers create a game that can work on all PC platform, they don’t have to rely on Universal Windows Platform at all.

By limiting the games to this specific store, Microsoft was deliberately splitting the community into platform oriented community, like Windows 10 community and non-windows 10 community, within the same game. This problem has forced people like myself to question — what the fuck?

Why Did Microsoft Do This?

There are many reasons why Microsoft chose to limit popular titles to the latest version of its online store. The easiest to comprehend is to gain market share. Windows 10 is good, and gaining market share is not a bad thing, but to gain market share via this way is fucking annoying. It’s not a reason to restrict games to Windows 10 platform exclusively.

After the free upgrade period expired, users have to pay over $100 to get ahold of an upgrade license. This extra money, paid by those with a lot sunk into the Microsoft Platform, was just icing on the cake. After upgrading, the company stood to make more money on each purchase, since it no longer has to share revenue with retail outlets.

It also provided a way to save cash on maintenance issues. While Windows 7 is out of mainstream support, it is still used by gamers and businesses around the world. By reducing the number of users on the older system, it can reduce the risk of bugs being found and resources spent fixing them during the extended support phase. Considering that Windows 7’s market share is hovering just under 50%, Microsoft needs all the help it can get!

But it doesn’t mean cutting support for cross operating system games, because Windows 10 isn’t the only one. There are also Mac and various versions of Linux/UNIX.

What Can Microsoft Do?

Be like Razer and support freedom of gaming platform. Don’t lose focus on PC gaming because PC gamers are going to carry the market for a long time.

Make games truly cross platform, whether it’s Xbox, PC, Windows 10, Linux, Mac, etc… so players can play with others with the device they currently have as an unified community.

I don’t dictate what operating systems or devices you and I play on. I just want to play with anyone, without discrimination of device, or operating system, on my own device, and don’t have to feel like “I should have bought Windows 10, or additional device”.

I hope that Microsoft would stop fucking the PC gaming market just to push their Windows 10 to mass adoption.

Here are some quotes from various sources that I collected.

“ Why the fuck can’t Windows play with Xbox yet? It should have been possible 2 years ago. If I can’t play with Xbox friends at least let me play my own damn games”
I don’t think most PC gamers even open windows store, much less buy games from it.
Windows has a store?
It’s time COD fell this series has had let down after letdown and basically killed off the PC community with no dedicated servers to choose for friends and hardcore gamers to enjoy.
Microsoft installed an app in users’ system trays advertising
 the free upgrade to Windows 10.

 Not satisfied, the company eventually made Windows 10 a
 recommended update so users receiving critical security updates
 were now also downloading an entirely new operating system onto
 their machines without their knowledge.