There’s been talk for a while now about Windows 8 getting a full App store and lots of people are excited about it. There are bound to be a few companies however, perhaps Adobe and Apple, who are used to delivering software to their customers in specific (more traditional) ways and who may not like the idea of an App store appearing directly in Windows. Thus, this is a move that may even prove as controversial as the bundling of Internet Explorer or Microsoft Security Essentials appearing in Windows Update.
So last month Microsoft began quietly rolling out the Games for Windows Marketplace via Windows Update. This is a full App store for Windows 7 and Windows Vista that plugs into the Games panel in the OS. The original announcement of this store at the end of October went largely unnoticed because of the hype surrounding the launch of Windows Phone. Perhaps this was deliberate?
There was no fanfare, no furore, just a quiet release that has gone seemingly unnoticed. Perhaps this is because other companies have their own Games stores and, as such there could be complaints here too. Who knows. The simple fact is that if you want an App store in Windows, there’s no time like the present to get one.
This is an interesting view on what a final Windows 8 App store would be like too. You sign in with your Windows Live ID and the interface is quite simple and, in ways, a little similar to the Zune Marketplace for Windows Phone. This is presumably intentional. It’s a proper software package too itself, not a redirect to a website which some people might expect.
There are quite a few games available for purchase there already as the Games for Windows programme has now been running for four years, giving developers plenty of time to get games out that plug happily into the Games panel that was first introduced with Windows Vista.
The Games for Windows Marketplace itself is a recommended update so isn’t even too easy to miss when the time comes to update your copy of Windows.
As I’ve already said, the impact and response to this App store, if indeed there is one, remains to be seen. It’s clear though that Microsoft are testing the waters ahead of a full store launch in 2012, and in the mean time this can only be good news for Windows gamers.