Microsoft announces Xbox Game Pass for PC and pledges to make its PC games ‘available in multiple stores’

Acknowledging that the company “has 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”, Microsoft has confirmed Xbox Game Pass is coming to PC. The firm has also outlined plans to better support for Win32 Games on Windows 10, as well as offer more choice in “where to Buy Xbox game studios titles”.

“We believe the player should be at the centre of their gaming experience and be able to harness the unique benefits of the devices they choose to play on,” Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, wrote on the Xbox Wire. “Nowhere is that belief more important than on the PC. As the creators of Windows, we have a unique responsibility to ensure we’re investing in experiences that benefit players everywhere, while respecting the PC community’s preference for an open, highly customisable platform.”

Microsoft says the PC variant of the Xbox Game Pass has been designed specifically for the needs of both PC developers and players, and will offer a curated library of over 100 PC games on Windows 10. It also pledged it will give discounts in the Microsoft Store on Windows of up to 20 per cent on games currently in the library for subscribers, and up to 10 per cent off related game DLC and add-ons, as well as include new games from Xbox Game Studios in Xbox Game Pass for PC “the same day as their global release”.

Interestingly, Microsoft has also confirmed its intent “to make our Xbox Game Studios PC games available in multiple stores” as players “should have choice in where [they] buy [their] PC games”. This means that in addition to Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to Steam later this year, Microsoft “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,” Spencer said. “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.

“We want to bring players together to create a shared player community regardless of where they play, so it’s our intent that new Xbox Game Studios titles include features such as voice and text chat, LFG, friends lists and cross-play across PC and console. On Windows 10 you’ll find this functionality in the Xbox Game Bar, which we’ll continue to evolve and expand.”

Finally, Microsoft also confirmed that as part of its drive to make W10 “the place where gamers come to discover their next favourite PC game”, it is 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 customisation and control they’ve come to expect from the open Windows gaming ecosystem,” Spencer said.

Microsoft will reveal more about its PC plans at its upcoming E3 2019 conference on June 9th, 2019.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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