Why it matters: The Microsoft Store has seen a major overhaul with the release of Windows 11, and is now more open than ever for developers who can publish apps regardless of the framework they’ve used to build them. Soon it will also give Windows users full control over where games are installed via an update to the Xbox app.
When Microsoft first announced Windows 11, one of the key talking points was the improved Microsoft Store. After going through several incarnations that were not nearly as successful as the company had wanted, the latest iteration comes with a redesigned interface that’s supposed to provide more reasons to use it. Additionally, Microsoft now welcomes just about any kind of app in the Microsoft Store, from progressive web apps to games and even Android apps.
Speaking of games, Microsoft has been trying to make the Microsoft Store a true alternative to platforms like Steam. Its efforts have invited a lot of criticism from people like Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney, who at one point claimed the Redmond company was ready to cripple competing game stores using Windows updates in order to make its own offering more attractive.
However, Microsoft has had limited success in convincing people to buy games from the Microsoft Store, mostly because the experience of installing and updating those versions hasn’t been the best when compare to other game stores. The company has been working on improving that, and will soon introduce some quality-of-life changes that might nudge some gamers to give the Microsoft Store another try.
The company today confirmed reports that it will soon allow Windows users to install games from the Microsoft Store or Xbox Game Pass for PC into a folder of their choosing. This will make it easy to back up game installations, as well as install/move games to a different drive. But more importantly, it will open up the possibility for people to easily mod the Microsoft Store version of those games.
The changes will come as part of an Xbox app update that’s being tested internally at Microsoft. The company didn’t offer a timeline for their release, but Xbox partner director of experiences Jason Beaumont told The Verge that “with great PC games like Back 4 Blood, Age of Empires IV, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite on day one with Game Pass, we wanted to provide players with more options to customize their experience in the Xbox app.”