Microsoft has begun refunding buyers of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare who purchased it through the Windows Store. Due to the way the digital shopfront and Steam versions have split the player base, many Windows Store gamers found themselves with almost no one to play with, leaving them unsatisfied with their purchase.
Microsoft has made no secret of its intentions to make Windows 10 an attractive platform for gamers and the Windows Store is clearly a big part of that effort. However, PC gamers are able to pick up Infinite Warfare from either the Windows Store or Steam. Unfortunately, the two versions of the game are not cross-compatible when it comes to multiplayer, according to Tech Spot.
Although there was originally some concern that splitting fans would lead to the multiplayer being less successful, it is hard to imagine such a successful franchise having spotty multiplayer at launch. So few were playing the multiplayer on their Windows Store version that people have given up and Microsoft is refunding them by way of apology, according to Motherboard.
Given that digital downloads have been the norm for PC gamers for years at this point, it is difficult to see why a barrier separates consumers who buy from Steam and the Windows Store. In theory, players should benefit from competition between storefronts and with a 400 million Windows 10 install base, there are plenty of gamers who can use the platform.
Call of Duty has a longstanding popularity on Steam and had over 10,000 concurrent players within hours of the game’s launch. Although the Windows Store was unlikely to ever compete directly with that, Infinite Warfare has not been a strong seller even on Steam. Concurrent players have fallen to just over 9,000 at the time of writing and overall sales are said to be down nearly 50 percent compared to last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 release.
Euro Truck Simulator 2, a game about realistic, cross-continent trucking, has 50 percent more active players right now than Infinite Warfare. We would have to imagine the Windows Store player numbers are a fraction of even those poor figures.
Updated 11-07-2016 by Jon Martindale: Added Windows Store refund information.