For years, it’s been nearly a given that the Xbox, Sony, and PC versions of a game all use separate servers, with their own playerbases. While there have been a handful of exceptions, most games segment each console and PCs into their own sandboxes. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare takes things one step further, locking Steam players and Windows 10 players into separate servers as well — and Microsoft isn’t going out of its way to tell people.
Right now, Call of Duty: Infinite Remake(Ummm what I meant to say was)Warfare is significantly discounted on the Windows Store compared with the Steam version. Even the Digital Deluxe version, which comes with a copy of the remade Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, is cheaper than on Steam. Activision’s FAQ, however, confirms that neither of the titles is an Xbox Play Anywhere title — and the servers for Windows Store are completely separate from the Steam version.
According to Microsoft, this wasn’t a problem on their end — it was Activision’s decision. “We support cross-play between devices and platforms for partners who want to enable it,” Microsoft said in a comment to Windows Central. The company also clarified that UWP and Win32 are fully compatible for cross-play, and that there’s no reason to segregate users in this fashion.
In this case, telling people not to buy the Windows Store variant seems a bit unfair, since (for once) it’s not problems with Microsoft’s platform causing an issue. Nonetheless, that’s the situation we’re in. The chances of any kind of cohesive community congregating around the Windows Store version of the game is basically zero, especially once players realize that this version of the game is walled off from the actual PC ecosystem. There’s no word from Activision on why it opted for this siloing, but it hasn’t denied Microsoft’s statements and it’s not going to over well with the game’s playerbase. It also means, once again, the Windows Store version of a game is flatly inferior to the Steam variant. The one thing we will ding Microsoft for is the fact that this restriction isn’t mentioned anywhere on the game’s Windows Store page.
It should be mandatory to communicate these limitations up front and immediately. As it stands, you can buy this game on the Windows Store, play through the single-player campaign, and only then realize that you’ve purchased the right to game in a ghost town. Nothing we’ve heard about the Windows Store suggests that it’ll have more than a small handful of players. It’s a nasty bait-and-switch for a franchise mostly known for its online play, and this is one aspect of the situation Microsoft could remedy.