Windows Store Weekly: Microsoft is betting big on UWP games

Windows Store Weekly is a weekly round-up of what's been going on in the world of Windows apps: from the most prominent and anticipated, to the bolted and patched, and the fresh and promising, while also scooping up leaks - both official and unofficial.

With E3 and WWDC now behind us, it’s time to look at the Windows Store and where the Universal Windows Platform is going. Microsoft is pushing the Windows Store with AAA games such as Quantum Break and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, but at E3 the company announced that it will also bring their exclusives to Steam.

As we get closer to the convergence of the Windows Store and the Xbox Store, Microsoft is announcing Xbox Play Anywhere, which means that you get to purchase games once, and play them on both PC and console as if they were the same platform.

If you’re a developer, you might want to update your app to comply with the new age rating system. It shouldn’t take too long, but make sure you do this before September 30, otherwise your app will be removed from the Windows Store.

In other news, the Windows Store app in the upcoming Anniversary Update will offer the ability to choose a different location for installing large games and apps. If you’re running the latest Windows Insider build on the Slow and Fast rings, you should already be able to test this feature.

Updated and bolted

Opera released an update to its Opera Mini browser for Windows phones, a pleasant surprise considering its statement from two months ago about a shift in focus towards iOS and Android. The new version has an integrated ad-blocker, but it doesn’t have the option to whitelist websites that you want to support.

The Office Mobile apps have been updated for Windows Insiders, opening a number of new features for testing ahead of their public release. The most notable improvements include an expanded selection of fonts and colors, exporting to open document formats, as well as a new ‘Draw’ tab in Word and PowerPoint Mobile.

Another treat for Windows Insiders this week was a new build of Groove Music, which is able to automatically create playlists based on your listening habits and other information, as well as mix in some recommended songs based on what the app has learned about your taste in music.

New arrivals

One of the latest additions to the UWP family is the redesigned FXNOW app, which allows you to access content from the FX, FXX, and FXM networks with a simple voice command to Cortana.

The United States Postal Service now has a universal Windows 10 app, which means you can now ask Cortana to bring up your dashboard and track the status of your deliveries.

Expedia’s app has received the UWP treatment as well. It now launches faster than the Windows 8 version, and you can use Cortana to make trip planning easier, as well as receive travel notifications.

Things to come

Wells Fargo is working on a new Windows 10 app, and it’s probably landing at the end of this month. The problem is that the Windows Phone 8.1 version will lose support at that same time.

Facebook has promised to bring its Windows 10 apps to mobile, and it looks like things are moving along nicely, with beta versions of both Messenger and Facebook available to download (albeit with a workaround). The two apps seem to run just fine in our testing, so it shouldn’t be long before they’ll get an official release.

At this year’s E3, Microsoft announced a number of AAA games that are also coming to the Windows Store (in addition to the Xbox One), and one of them is State of Decay 2, a multiplayer zombie survival fantasy where “NO ONE SURVIVES ALONE”. When does it land? Sometime next year.

Recore is coming to Windows 10, and it’s hitting the Windows Store this September. The game is an interesting mix of genres and is part of Xbox Play Anywhere.

Rare Studio’s Sea of Thieves is one of its most ambitious projects yet, and while there was a gameplay reveal at E3, exactly when it will land is anyone’s guess at this point.

Another game that’s part of Xbox Play Everywhere is Scalebound, which is supposed to be released sometime next year. In it, you’ll assume the role of Drew, and you’ll be able to bond with a dragon called Thuban, which will aid you in your adventures in the world of Draconis.

Halo 5: Guardians may not be coming to PC, but Halo Wars 2 definitely will. It’s set for release in February 2017, and while there are no plans for cross-platform play, we can only hope that the upcoming Xbox One support for mouse and keyboard is a sign that it isn’t completely out of the question.

We Happy Few is currently in pre-alpha, but Microsoft says the retro-futuristic survival game will be part of Xbox Play Anywhere, and the gameplay footage shown at E3 looks great at such an early stage of development.

If you feel the need for speed, and you’ve been waiting for the third installment of Microsoft’s Forza Horizon franchise, there’s good news. The game will land this fall, and will support cross-play between Xbox One and PC.

Speaking of new iterations, Gears of War 4 is also on the horizon. It will be part of Xbox Play Anywhere, and Microsoft showed off some gameplay footage at E3.

We'd like to know: What Windows 10 games are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section.

This isn't everything that happened in the world of tech this week, so if you're looking for the big picture, our 7 Days feature will paint it for you. There is also plenty of discussion brewing in the forums on a wide range of topics, so head over there and join the buzz.

Report a problem with article
Next Article

HP announces voluntary worldwide laptop battery safety recall

Previous Article

Windows 10 Mobile-powered Funker W6.0 Pro 2 with Continuum support goes up for pre-order

3 Comments - Add comment