Since Microsoft launched Windows 8 in 2012, the Windows Store has been the key to Microsoft content strategy. But while the Windows 8 store only featured third-party apps, the Windows 10 Store is now a gateway to the whole Microsoft ecosystem including universal Windows apps and a lots of media content.
More importantly, the new Windows Store is also a key component of Windows 10 as it's the native tool that will deliver updates to all Microsoft native apps and third-party apps, while the Store itself is a universal app built on the same Universal Windows Platform (UWP) that third-party developers can use. So, let's just say that Microsoft's Windows Store has to deliver a rock-solid experience for Windows 10 users and third-party developers if Microsoft wants its Windows 10 strategy to succeed.
Right now, the Windows 10 Store experience is obviously better than the Windows 8 experience, and Microsoft was recently happy to report that the Store received 3 billion visits since the release of Windows 10. The company is still not done yet as the Store experience could still be improved in many ways. Here's a list of suggestions to improve many aspects the Microsoft Store like the web experience, the search experience and app listings.
Let's start with my main requested feature as a WinBeta writer: as we often have to report about app updates, it's really annoying that the Windows Store is not displaying datestamps for apps as well as a full changelog history. It's quite confusing when you remember that the old Windows Phone Store currently tells you when an app received it last update. Also, wouldn't it be useful to users if the Store homepage featured a "Recently updated apps" category?
From a consumer perspective, my most requested feature is a universal wishlist across the web and Windows 10 PC and mobile stores. Both iTunes and Google Play currently have that handy feature, and as the new Windows Store is featuring media content as well a wishlist would be really helpful to track prices of all the content you would like to buy.
Next, some may remember that during the Windows 8 era, it was possible to download apps on your Windows Phone from the web (using the deprecated windowsphone.com website). Well, if you browse the Windows web store using a Windows 10 PC, you can still use web links to quickly redirect you to the Windows Store app, but you can't use those links to install apps on your Windows Phone. Microsoft should really bring back that feature as a more consistent experience could bring more engagement on its app store.
I also have a lot to say about search, and if you're a Steam user I guess you'll know what I'm talking about. Search is currently terrible on the Windows Store because the content is lacking some metadata that could help users get quicker to Store content using search filters. To link to my previous datestamps request, I think it would also be handy to be able to filter search results to quickly see which apps were recently updated.
Also, Microsoft recently added a discreet "Built for Windows 10 label" that some Windows Store apps are now featuring, but that doesn't explain much to users (does this mean that these apps are Continuum-enabled?). I also have Windows 10 games in mind as it's currently difficult to know what that "Xbox Live" label really means, and if you're looking for games that you can play with an Xbox controller you're also not guaranteed to find that information on app descriptions.
So, I think it would be a good idea to add "badges" on app pages, and there should be search toggle for at least these 3 badge suggestions of mine:
- Windows 10 UWP app (which also implies Continuum enabled on mobile)
- Game that works with an Xbox controller on Windows 10
- Game that uses Xbox Live cloud saves between PC and mobile
So, these are my main feature requests for the Windows 10 Store, but of course I would also appreciate a more reliable Store, as in my own experience the Store can sometimes struggle to download apps. But hopefully, "Windows as a service" means that Windows 10 will get better over time, and the Windows Store is getting updates at a regular pace. And Microsoft really ought to provide the best Windows Store experience for users if the company wants developers to take the Windows platform seriously.
Please tell us in the comments if you're satisfied with the Windows Store or if you also have feature requests you want to share with us!