Microsoft’s surprise move from Windows 11 is a much more open approach to the Windows Store, and that means Steam could be part of the store in the future.
In light of this new open approach, many changes are envisioned in the Windows Store, including Microsoft’s connection to Amazon’s Appstore to list Android apps and allow developers to keep 100% of their revenue using third-party payment platforms.
It is also Microsoft’s wish that other alternative app stores, such as Steam and Epic Games Store, be part of this new Windows app store.
“Windows already hosts these stores in many ways, and if we can host it through the Microsoft Store, then so be it,” Panos Panay, head of Windows and Devices, said in an interview. “Of course, this means that others want to come to the Store, they are very welcome. In fact, encouraged, and that’s why we’re developing some of these policies.”
Steam has become a major store for games and apps on Windows over the years, and Panay envisions a future for the Windows app store, where people find the apps they want regardless of rival stores. “I really want this experience where you go to the store, type in the app and get the app you want,” says Panay.
While Microsoft is embracing the idea of an open store, there are some caveats. Microsoft will allow developers to keep 100% of app revenue if they use alternative payment platforms, but that doesn’t apply to games. It’s a big omission, coming just weeks after Microsoft announced it would reduce its gaming revenue from the Microsoft Store from 30% to 12% starting August 1st.
It is also unclear how this policy can apply to app stores separately. Microsoft appears to only be listing Android apps from Amazon’s Appstore in its own store, so it’s effectively connecting to another store. If Steam were to integrate with the Windows app store, it would likely be through a similar linking scenario, which prevents apps and games from being hosted directly on the Microsoft app store.