The Windows 8 Store needs better filters

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 27, 2012
Updated • Jan 1, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

When I started to use the Windows 8 RTM release I spend some time in the Windows Store to understand how it works and what the store's limitations are. I quickly identified a number of issues that I hoped Microsoft would fix before the official release. Among the things that I did not like was the colorful display of app listings in the store which - for me at least - made it more difficult to keep an overview, the use of black and white stars for rating, the lack of apps displayed on the start page of the store, unclear sorting options and a sorting system that does not take into account the number of ratings.

Today, I'd like to share three additional Windows Store annoyances that I think Microsoft needs to fix to improve the store's usability.

1. Regionally restricted apps

When I open the store, I see Netflix and Hulu apps right on the store front. I can install the apps just fine and the individual app listing does not state that the the app is regionally restricted. I only find out that this is the case after the installation.

Why are not users informed about regional restrictions of apps on the app listing in the store? Or even better, why are not apps that are not working in a specific region still offered to users of that region? Would not an option to filter those apps make sense in this case? I'd like to see a manual option to include those apps in the store, but by default, they should not be available at all in regions they do not work in.

windows store netflix

The Netflix app informs you about the availability of the service right in the app. Hulu Plus on the other hand provides you with the information in Internet Explorer when you click on the try Hulu Plus for free link on the apps start page.

There needs to be information about the regional availability of apps right on the apps' Windows Store page.

2. Account registration

Some apps that you install work only when you create an account first. There is again no mentioning of that on the store page. Stumbleupon is a good example. The first thing that pops up when you start the app for the first time after installation is a sign in / join for free menu.

stumbleupon registration

There needs to be an indicator if an application offered in the store requires you to register an account with the service or parent company before it can be used.

3. In-app purchases

Some apps that are listed as free in the store are not entirely free. While they provide some functionality for free, so called in-app purchases are used to generate revenue. A basic example is the excellent Radiant Defense game available in the store. The game can be played for free, but some of the weapons and features become only available when you purchase upgrade packs.

in app purchases

You are not informed about that on the apps' store listing. I do not mind the revenue model if free users are either informed about it in advance, or if it is not impacting the core experience. I can play Radiant Defense just fine without the upgrades, but if it would limit the levels that I can play for instance, I'd feel cheated by the free price tag.

What about you? What's your Windows Store experience so far?


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  1. peerer said on October 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I have some problem with Win 8 Store
    So I go to Store, under Games there are 5 games, then I press on “Games>” and there are 8 other games. So there are only 13 games?
    4 Social apps and so on

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      You need to click on the Games or Social name, not on tiles to get all listed.

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