Windows Store will bundle video drivers with games


— 9:00 AM on December 13, 2016

The Windows 10 Creators Update is set to release next spring, and it's poised to bring all sorts of enhancements to Windows 10, from stuff like better support for holographic computing, long overdue enhancements to Microsoft Paint, and support for the upcoming line of inexpensive VR and AR headsets. That's all pretty cool stuff, but a report from Thurott.com suggests that gamers relying on the Windows Store may want to be wary of the update. Microsoft announced that future Windows Store game downloads will come bundled with the latest video drivers for the user's graphics card. The driver download starts when the machine's existing drivers don't meet the minimum version required by the game in question.

The goal is noble, and the theory is sound: Microsoft wants players to have the best possible experience with new games. Both Nvidia and AMD frequently release driver updates alongside big game releases, so unless you pay attention to TR's news page, it can be tough to stay up to date. New driver releases can both fix and introduce new bugs, so many gamers maintain careful control over their driver installations. Driver updates can be often be rolled back, but the process isn't always seamless, and can cause problems of its own.

This move is the latest in a line of somewhat-questionable moves that seem to be intended to address the average consumer's needs while having potentially negative effects for hardcore gamers. Up until fairly recently, games sold through the Windows Store lacked some features that are PC gaming staples, like the since-resolved inability to control v-sync. The way Windows 10 store games are packaged also makes modding and running overlays like Fraps and Nvidia Shadowplay difficult, if not impossible.

Like many of Microsoft's past decisions regarding gaming on Windows, updating drivers automatically might be a good idea for the most casual of gamers, but those who want strong control over their PC's software may find yet more reason to avoid the Windows Store with this move.

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