Microsoft is planning on releasing a revamped Windows Store later this year according to reports, with the ability for developers to list a wider range of programs and products for purchase.
The report by Windows Central claims that Microsoft is busy developing the new store with Windows Package Manager integration. This is currently separate to the Windows Store but allows apps that don’t comply with the store’s format restrictions to be listed in an easy-to-navigate hub. The new store sounds like it will incorporate this to allow for apps such as Google Chrome, Adobe Creative Cloud, and even Steam to be listed on the store.
The change will also reportedly mean that developers will have access to the store and its backend through their own content delivery network (or CDN), which means applications will be sold without Microsoft taking a cut. This means that games could easily be listed on the Microsoft Store as another alternative to Steam, the Epic Games Store, and GOG, without the need to give Microsoft any of the royalties.
Developers will be able to list file formats like .EXE and .MSI, giving far more flexibility than what the store currently offers. Initially the store launched with Windows 8 and required apps to support the Microsoft Universal Windows Program format, ensuring it was compatible on desktops, Windows phones, and more. That slowly changed with the introduction of native Win32 support, but it’s still meant that many common applications can’t be listed without being an entirely separate version built specifically for the store.
This potential change could make the Windows Store a much more inclusive and useful digital distribution platform, especially if it’s further integrated into the Windows ecosystem. This update will supposedly be included in the big “Sun Valley” update for Windows later this year, which will also include sweeping changes to common Windows UI elements.