Xbox Expanding Steam Support with Gears 5 and Age of Empires
Early Thursday morning the Xbox team revealed its near future plans for PC. The highlight of this reveal was the confirmation that Game Pass is coming to PC as a fully-featured subscription service, with more information to be shared at E3. However, a second announcement may be just as if not more exciting for PC gamers. Xbox plans to further expand its support for PC storefronts beyond the Microsoft Store, starting with further support of the Steam platform.
According to Microsoft, its priority is “building communities” no matter what store or platform players prefer. To that end, Microsoft’s intent is to make Xbox Game Studios PC games available across multiple storefronts. The Microsoft store will remain one such option, but other storefronts starting with Steam will soon be supported as well. While Microsoft makes no mention of the Epic Games Store, Origin, Uplay, Humble, or otherwise, Microsoft clearly intends to spread its reach as far as possible.
PC gamers will recall that Microsoft has already announced plans to bring Halo: The Master Chief Collection to Steam later this year. As part of today’s announcement more games have been confirmed to have Steam support soon. Gears of War 5 is one such game, as well as the Definitive Editions of Age of Empires 1-3. Microsoft’s future support doesn’t end there, however, as it also makes clear that it plans to add more games in the future.
Even while offering its games through other storefronts, the Xbox team will ensure they support the feature-set fans expect from modern games. Features including text chat, LFG, friends lists, and cross-play between PC and console will continue to be supported through Windows 10’s Xbox Game Bar feature.
It’s difficult to see a negative in Microsoft’s approach to this issue. Microsoft and the Xbox team have essentially promised more support for PC games, broader access to PC games, and improved features for PC games in the future. Materially, there’s nothing but positives for PC gamers. Ideologically, there’re nothing but positives, too. Microsoft has been promising a pursuit of “bringing players together” for years now and it’s been delivering on that routinely, through cross-play support and expansion of PC gaming support. Steam support, and other storefronts in the future, is a continuation of that.