[Windows 10 Tip] - The Windows Store
Apple has their App Store, Google has Google Play, and there's Amazon Appstore. All of the big dogs in the online world want you to download your software, games, books, music, and movies from their own 'ecosystem.' Microsoft was slow to adopt the 'store' concept, but the Microsoft Store seems to have reached critical mass. Here's what you need to know...
What's in the Windows Store?
Today we’re going to look at the Windows Store. Like the others, it's a place where you can download not only software, but also many other forms of media. Windows Store started in 2012 with the advent of Windows 8, but didn't gain much traction until Windows 10 started to get a foothold.
The Store is rapidly filling with Universal Windows apps that can run on any Windows 10 device: desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or Xbox. Microsoft thoughtfully put the Windows Store icon on the Taskbar of Windows 10. It looks like a shopping bag, complete with handles, and has the four-pane Windows logo on it.
When you first open the Windows Store, you’ll notice that it includes games, movies & TV programs, and productivity apps. And you'll also quickly notice why it's called a "store" -- many of the apps require payment to download. But scroll down the page to the Top Free Apps section -- that’s what I recommend that you check out first.
Click that link and look up at the top of the page, where you’ll see boxes with pulldown arrows. In the first box, the pulldown menu gives you filters such as “Top free,” “Top paid,” “Best-rated,” and more. The second box lets you look for apps that are discounted. The third box provides topical categories, e. g., Business, Entertainment, Food & Dining, Health and more. (Oddly, there is no entry for "Games" in the category dropdown. To find free games, you need to click on Gaming at the top of the Windows Store, and scroll down to the "Top Free Games" section.
In the upper right corner of each screen is a search box, in case you’re looking for a specific title or keyword. You’ll find many old favorite apps have been ported to the Universal Windows platform, but they may not be what you’re used to. VLC Media Player, for instance, will not play DVDs in its Windows Store form. Perhaps that’s why Windows Media Player is a top-selling app, even at $14.99. But don’t buy it; the free standard VLC Media Player runs fine under Windows 10.
Games, Movies and Productivity
The free games in the Windows Store include titles such as ROBLOX, Asphalt (a driving game), Angry Birds 2, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Mahjong, Township (a city-building game with a bit of farming thrown in) and Microsoft Jackpot, a video poker game. I’m not much of a gamer, but it seems lots of people are.
I wondered why there are so many free games. (And so many people with the free time to play them.) Then I read the fine print: “in-app purchases.” Sure, you can play the game for free. But if you ever hope to win, you’ll need to buy a superpower, or a bigger gun, or fertilizer, or an Ace of Spades. This is how middle-schoolers rack up big charges on their parents’ credit cards. Be careful with free games.
The Movies section includes recent blockbusters like “Antebellum” and classics like “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I even found some of my all-time favorites such as “The Hobbit” and “Murder on the Orient Express” . Some movies can be rented, while others can only be purchased. Purchase prices range from $4.99 to $19.99. TV shows include three seasons of "Yellowstone" for $19.99. Season 6 of The Sopranos (21 episodes, 2006) will set you back $44.99.
The Productivity section of the Windows Store has Adobe Photoshop Elements, HD Movie Maker PRO, Microsoft Sticky Notes, a desktop version of Instagram, and hundreds of other titles, both free and paid.
There are no music or ebook titles in the Windows Store. Microsoft tried both of those categories, but there was little interest, so they closed down those options. In December 2017, Microsoft pulled the plug on Groove Music, and transferred customers to Spotify. But in April 2019, Microsoft upset many people by announcing the closure of the ebook store. Titles that had been "purchased" were no longer available for reading as of July 2019. (Imagine if your local bookstore closed, and demanded that you return any books you had bought there.)
This should give one pause before purchasing a movie or TV series from Windows Store. In the event that Microsoft decided to end this service, it seems likely that access to the "purchased" items would vanish, as in the case of disappearing ebooks.
To Shop or Not to Shop?
App stores like the ones offered by Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft have pros and cons. There's no question they exist to keep users in the fold, where they can be more easily monetized over and over. But they also offer the benefit of being curated, which (usually) keeps out things that are offensive or dangerous.
Keep in mind that on Windows 10, you are not required to get all your goodies from the Windows Store. You can still download thousands of great programs, many for free, from the Web.
Browsing and searching the Windows Store is an adventure. Have you downloaded any free or paid apps from the Store? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 28 Sep 2020
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [Windows 10 Tip] - The Windows Store (Posted: 28 Sep 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved