When Windows 10 was first announced, it was heralded as Microsoft’s unifying operating system that would bring together the ecosystems from desktop, mobile, and even video game devices. As we are now further along into the Windows 10 journey, some of this vision is already falling into place. The Windows 10 smartphone rollout is underway on Microsoft and some legacy Nokia devices, and even Microsoft’s Xbox One is now running a version of Windows 10 as its main operating system. The next step, according to Microsoft, is bringing universal apps to the platforms.
For many, the apps have been the missing link. Universal apps could help Microsoft to cement its position in the marketplace, and it could even increase Xbox and Windows Phone adoption rates. During a presentation at GDC 2016, officials talked about the recently released first wave of unified apps, and also announced the second wave that will be coming soon. Some of the earliest unified releases include Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Unified apps that will soon be in the Windows Store include Ori, Quantum Break, and Blind Forest.
Although this might seem like a sparse lineup, the fact that things are in motion should be encouraging for a number of developers. Support has been relatively low for the Windows Store platform, especially when compared to Apple and Google. Microsoft’s traditional software advantage has been in desktop apps, but the new unified apps will be able to run on the new wave of SoC processors that are common in tablets and mobile phones.
Universal apps are one thing, but a unified store experience would provide even more value to consumers. This is the next step for Microsoft, as they aim to create a single marketplace for mobile devices, desktop Windows 10 computers, and the Xbox One. In the future, it is speculated that productivity suites like Microsoft Office could also find their way to the Xbox One.
A unified store will benefit both PC users and Xbox gamers, offering the same experience on either device. We’ll keep you up to date as things progress.