Maybe, just maybe, the Windows Store app will begin to challenge Steam and other sites as a repository for quality games on Windows 10.
Microsoft said Thursday night that it will begin selling a number of arguably quality games on the Windows Store “over time.” Those games will include a Windows 10 version of Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to the unexpectedly popular reboot of the franchise. That game will debut on Windows 10 in early 2016, part of what is reportedly a one-year exclusive for that particular game.
As PCWorld’s review of Windows 10 notes, the Windows Store still feels a little sparse, with key apps like Office Mobile not really promoted. Even worse is the games portion of the store, which seems to highlight casual games for phone users more than traditional PC games. (One exception is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game that was ported to Windows Phone and can be played on Windows 10 PCs.)
On Windows 10, two apps stand out for their entertainment value: the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, an attractive group of traditional Windows games like Minesweeper; and the Xbox app, which is home to a social network as well as innovations like game streaming from an Xbox One to a PC.
Now you’ll apparently have the chance to play some of the games either on Windows 10 itself or on the One. More importantly, you’ll be able to buy them in the Windows 10 Store:
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (The Coalition)
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Square Enix)
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition (Mojang)
Cuphead (Studio MDHR)
Wasteland 2 (inXile Entertainment)
Killer Instinct (Iron Galaxy)
Fable Legends (Lionhead Studios)
Sea of Thieves (Rare)
Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)
Final Fantasy Agito (Square Enix)
Age of Empires: Castle Siege (Microsoft Studios)
Siegecraft Commander (Blowfish Studios)
Super Dungeon Bros. (React Games)
#IDARB (Other Ocean)
Pinball FX2 (Zen Studios)
Candy Crush Saga (King)
Microsoft will also have Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts available in the Store, the company said.
Why this matters: It’s worth noting that Microsoft has a well-established and well-organized Xbox game store, accessible from either the Web or via the Xbox One dashboard. But Windows has inexplicably lagged behind. If Microsoft could establish itself as a vendor of PC as well as console games, it would certainly help both Microsoft itself as well as the PC gaming industry.
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As PCWorld's senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.