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Grow Your Game Audience by Selling in the New Microsoft Store

June 3, 2022
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In order to get regulatory approval for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc., Microsoft announced a new set of Open App Store Principles that will apply to the Microsoft Store on Windows and to the next-generation marketplaces they will build for games. Among other features like supporting more app types and partnerships with TikTok and Adobe, Microsoft has opened up its store to allow third-party ecommerce platforms and game launchers. Better yet, if you bring your own ecommerce platform - you'll likely get to keep 100% of your revenue from in-app purchases. THE CURRENT STATE OF THE INDUSTRY According to more than 3,000 game developers surveyed in the 2021 GDC State of the Industry Report, a mere 3% of developers think Steam deserves its 30% (or sometimes higher) revenue cut. While on the flip side, 97% felt that Steam’s 30% cut was too high.  Despite the backlash, Steam hasn’t budged much. They've lowered their rate for developers who generate at least $10 million in sales, but they've maintained the 30/70 split for smaller developers. Other sizable platforms like the Epic Games Store have challenged Steam’s (and GOG’s, Apple’s, and Google’s) high rates by debuting with a lower 12% cut. Both Apple and Google Play have elected to lower their take to 15% for those making under $1 million per year in response, but the 30% cut still exists across the board. Hopefully, Apple will follow suit with the other stores opening their restrictions, but that might take some time. While the Epic vs. Apple case still proceeds, Apple can still maintain its monopoly as the sole source of in-app payments on iOS. It isn’t all bad in the interim, as game developers can still communicate with their customers if they opt-in to newsletters, social media account subscriptions or other points of contact obtained during account registration within the app.  Given the current state of the platforms available for developers, the new Microsoft Store seems like a perfect combination — more supported app types, external sales, and most likely, no revenue cuts when using your own commerce platforms for freemium games. Compared to other, more popular app stores, the Microsoft Store ranks near the top. And with over 1.3 billion people on Windows 10 and 11, that translates to a lot of Microsoft Store users. While it might be challenging to see all of the benefits of the new Microsoft Store at a glance, the ability to use your own game launcher, game client, and platform for game sales while keeping most of your revenue is a big deal. WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOUR GAME Developers can’t afford to take risks. Jumping ship to a newer, less popular platform could mean losing current customers and reducing future customer acquisition. Developers need to know that the tools and platforms they use have been tried, tested, and proven to work. Epic Games and Amazon have already made the jump, being the first gaming giants to do so.  Both gaming companies bring their third-party storefronts to the new Microsoft Store through product detail pages. This enables users to easily find and install their game launchers and store portals with the safety and assurance that comes with installing any other native Microsoft application. Discord, and other non-gaming companies like Zoom, VLC, and TeamViewer, are also listed, among many other apps. The amount of (big) companies hosting their apps or storefronts through the new Microsoft Store should be enough to convince anyone hesitant to make the switch. Not only do these big companies prove the risk of switching is worth the reward, but they’ll inevitably bring their massive audience with them. You won’t want to miss the influx of traffic these tech titans will bring. Other reasons to switch to or host your game on the Microsoft Store are:
  • Developers are not required to provide more favorable terms in their app store than in other app stores.
  • Does not disadvantage developers if they choose to use a payment processing system other than theirs or if they offer different terms and conditions in other app stores.
  • Will be transparent about rules for promotion and marketing in the app store and apply these consistently and objectively.
HOW XSOLLA CAN HELP When moving to the new Microsoft Store, you’ll want the best of both worlds. You want to bring your existing community with you and broaden your reach simultaneously. Luckily, with Xsolla Launcher, you can. Xsolla Launcher enables you to market directly to your players, optimize content delivery, and upsell/cross-sell your games. Xsolla Launcher is a tool that lets you customize your launcher from the ground up. You have complete control over how the launcher looks to maintain your brand across multiple platforms. It also allows you to run targeted email marketing campaigns directly to your customers, covering sales, events, expansions, and more. You can even run a news feed to show your most significant events and developments to your customers. With out-of-the-box cross-platform and multilingual support, technological and geographical borders won’t stop you from reaching all of your potential customers. The Xsolla Launcher is designed to help you, the developer, begin to construct and maintain your own gaming hub and community with as little work from you as possible. Make your reach truly global with support for in-game stores, secure and anti-fraud payments, and access to over 700 payment methods in over 200 regions worldwide. Get started with Xsolla Launcher and the Microsoft Store by contacting business@xsolla.com and sign up for a Publisher Account today.
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