Can Microsoft's New Online Store Compete With Steam?

As expected, Microsoft's new online shopfront for PC games has gone live. We were promised a bigger, better store. So has it delivered?

I don't like it. Not yet, anyways. It certainly looks pretty, its minimal appearance a nice break from Steam's clutter of buttons and menus and buttons within menus within menus. This theme carries into the individual game information screens, as you get a few screenshots, a short information blurb and the button to buy the thing.

But as a functional store? As in, a place where you can browse things? It needs work. While you can sort games by things like price and release date, the store will only ever display 10 games at a time, meaning you need to plough through page after page of search results to browse the entire catalogue. From beginning to end that's fourteen pages of games. While you can search by title, it needs options to break things down a little, like Steam's "show me everything under $US5" menu.

It's also (in most cases) far too expensive. Age of Empires III for $US40? If you pay more than $US20 for that game, even at an online retailer, you're mad.

I like where it's going - especially compared to the old marketplace - but if Microsoft hopes to lure customers away from Valve's greatly superior service, it's going to have to do a lot better than just make everything look a little nicer.

[Games for Windows]


    *hears the distinct sound of something crashing and burning*

    It looks like it could work, but frankly I will hold my judgment until I see their Australian version of the store.

    I have the slightest feeling Micro$oft will mark up Australian prices 200% like certain publishers on steam. (2K, Bethesda, etc)

      Dude that's cause it costs so much to send all those bytes over to us across the ocean. Those big videogame freighters don't pay for themselves. Oh and don't forget about pirates, there's heaps of them off Somalia just waiting to steal our precious, precious bytes.


      Activision is the worst offender for this. When Modern warfare 2 cost $90 USD lol

    i doubt they can compete mainly because the issues people complain about steam are not inherent steam issue's there Digital Distro issue's the only one that it could possibly go lax on is the theirs an update go and download it now thing. but even that A) you need it anyway to play MP and B) your gonna have to do it anyways.

    From the screenshot provided doesn't look all that different from steam either

    "it’s going to have to do a lot better than just make everything look a little nicer."

    Yes, like actually let Australians purchase anything seeing as we currently get:

    "Unfortunately your Xbox LIVE account region is not currently supported."

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