THE DREAM is dead. Well, in fairness, the dream is going to sit alongside the reality, but let's not waste a chance to gloat at Microsoft, eh?
Ever since Windows 8 first embarrassed its way into our lives back in 2012, Microsoft has been touting Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps (aka Metro or Tiled apps) as the future of Windows apps.
The idea was beautiful. Write once, distribute on any Windows-powered device, from Windows Phone to XBox. Then, Windows Phone died a death and one of the main use cases disappeared. Game developers, particularly, didn't take a shine to it because although it meant it was easier for the Windows ecosystem, it was actually a huge faff for third-party stores like Steam.
Now, in an increasingly common show of knowing when it's beaten, Microsoft has confirmed that, for the first time, it is to let games onto the Microsoft Store in Win32 format. It's a small step for gaming, but a giant retreat from its hopes of converting us all to its new system.
We could probably have seen it coming really - the first salvo was fired earlier in the year when Redmond ported a Halo title to Win32 and put it on Steam too.
There's even a Mea Culpa in the announcement:
"We've not always lived up to our aspiration of keeping gamers at the centre of everything we do when it comes to the experience they've had on Windows.
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox Studies, adds: "Our intent is to make our Xbox Game Studios PC games available in multiple stores, including our own Microsoft Store on Windows, at their launch. We believe you should have a choice in where you buy your PC games."
Roughly translated: ‘Nobody is buying our games'.
Now the decision has been made, we're kind of hoping that apps will be next. Wouldn't it be great if we could buy Win32 packages in one place? For Microsoft, it's just another case of learning to manipulate the wheel you have, not make a road out of hexagons and ask everyone else to make hexagon-shaped wheels to fit. μ
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