Microsoft's Xbox division has been on a roll in the past couple of years, and a large portion of the investment the company has made is focused on the experience for PC users. In 2019, it introduced a new Xbox app with the goal of bringing Xbox games and social features together in a more compelling interface than what the Microsoft Store offers, and it even added support for mods last year, making it a lot more similar to other digital stores on PC.
Now, things are getting more interesting for developers, as Microsoft has announced new terms for games on the Microsoft Store for PC. Starting on August 1, game developers will get 88% of the revenue made from selling their games on the Microsoft Store, instead of the 70% cut Microsoft offered up until now. This rate matches that of the Epic Games Store, which has become increasingly popular among developers thanks in part to that compelling revenue cut.
As for end-users, the company also briefly touched on upcoming improvements to game downloads, Microsoft says it's bringing "improved reliability and faster download speeds" to gamers over the next few months, and it will have more details to share on that soon. However, this could very well imply broader improvements to the Microsoft Store.
The Xbox app for PC uses the Microsoft Store as the backend for the purchase and install experience, only with a more attractive UI. This means that the download and install experience isn't any different from what you'd get on the Microsoft Store, so it's not amazing, nor is it incredibly fast compared to other digital stores. If the download experience for games is to improve, it's likely that it's tied to improvements to the Microsoft Store itself. And on that note, a recent report suggested that Microsoft wants to revive the Microsoft Store with improvements including a new UI and more appealing policies for developers. This could be the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to implement better downloads as well. Of course, we'll have to wait for official announcements to know for sure.
Microsoft also announced today that Halo Infinite will feature cross-play between PC and Xbox along with PC-specific features that make it a better experience on the platform. You can learn more about that here.