Microsoft seems to be branching out with its game distribution policies, as it announced this week that it will be working to make more of its Xbox Game Studios titles available on Steam and other distribution platforms while also relaxing restrictions on the Microsoft Store to allow a wider variety of games to allow more developers to bring their own games to the platform. Previously, Xbox Game Studios games have been available only on the official Microsoft Store as Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps — a rather restrictive format that can be run only on Windows 10 — rather than the Win32 executable format more widely used on platforms like Steam.
That’s set to change soon, however, as Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer has announced the studio’s plans to “make [its] Xbox Game Studios PC games available in multiple stores, including [its] own Microsoft Store, at their launch.” On top of that, Microsoft will also begin providing support for Win32-format games on the Microsoft Store, which will let more developers bring their games to the platform without having to spend resources repackaging them as UWP apps.
In today’s announcement, Spencer specifically mentioned that the Age of Empires 1-3 Definitive Editions and Gears of War 5 would be the first Xbox Game Studios titles coming to Steam. There’s no mention of any other prospective titles, such as Sea of Thieves, but Spencer does stress the importance of “[e]nabling gamers to play together, through cross-platform play and cross-network play across Windows 10 PCs and consoles,” suggesting that more of the studio’s games will eventually be following suit.