What do users get from games becoming Windows universal apps?

When it comes to games, some people in the gaming industry have said that Microsoft’s “Universal Windows Platform can, should, must, and will die”. The primary reason for such statements is the fact that, with its vision for universal apps and games, Microsoft will compete with dedicated distribution services like Steam and plans to take a bigger share of the profits that are to be found in the gaming market. However, for consumers and gamers, this might not be a problem. On the contrary, there are quite a few benefits for them and I want to discuss them in this editorial. Here are the benefits of Microsoft’s vision with Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games, for consumers:

1. You pay for your games once, for all your Windows devices

The main idea behind games becoming Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps is the fact that the same game, with the same code base can be distributed through the Windows Store to all types of Windows devices: computers, tablets, hybrid devices, smartphones, HoloLens and Xbox One consoles. The main benefit for consumers and gamers is that they purchase a game once, on any of their Windows-powered devices and then they get to enjoy it on all of their devices. Imagine having to pay for your favorite games separately: on your PC, on your console and on your smartphone. Three fees is higher than one and even if purchasing a universal Windows platform game will be slightly more expensive than purchasing a classic desktop computer game, when you add up the fees for multiple platforms, you will get a better deal.

To give you a real-life example, I had to take a very long train ride and, after a couple of hours, I was tired of reading books and of working and I felt like playing a game. I started up the Windows Store on my Lumia 950 smartphone with Windows 10 Mobile and installed Age of Empires: Castle Siege.

2. You play from anywhere, at any time

Since I loved playing the game, I looked for more information about it and noticed that it is a universal Windows platform game. Therefore, I also installed it on my Surface Pro 3 (so that I can play it on a larger screen when I work remotely and I feel like taking a break).

When I’m at home, I love playing it on my powerful desktop PC with a large 27" inch display. Being able to control the game both with touch and with a mouse and keyboard, makes for a great gaming experience.

The Age of Empires: Castle Siege game is also available on HoloLens. Some games are also available on Xbox One. Imagine playing your favorite games from any of your Windows devices, from literally anywhere. The only requirement is for you to have an active internet connection. You no longer have to be at home in from of your console or your desktop PC in order to enjoy a great gaming experience.

3. You gameplay data is automatically synced between all your devices

With the help of Xbox Live Services, universal Windows platform games synchronize the user’s data automatically between all devices. Through your Xbox ID, your achievements, gamerscore, in-game progress and other items are automatically synchronized. You can play a game on your smartphone while commuting, resume it at work on your laptop during a lunch break and continue at home on your desktop PC, during the evening. Your latest user data is always accessible. All you need is an internet connection on your Windows devices where you play the game.

4. You get automated updates on all your devices

Since the distribution of universal Windows platform games is done through the Windows Store , this means your games are automatically updated to the latest version, on all your devices. You don’t have to manually do the updating yourself or rely on the infrastructure of the game’s developer. The Windows Store uses Microsoft’s infrastructure to push updates automatically to all your devices, so that you don’t have to bother with manual updates.

What do you think?

In this article I have explored the benefits of Microsoft’s vision with Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games, based on my real-world experience with the game Age of Empires: Castle Siege. I am not saying that there aren’t downsides to this vision. I just wanted to start the discussion and explore the benefits first. Therefore, let’s talk and share your opinion about Microsoft’s approach.