Microsoft has begun showing advertisements on the Windows 10 lock screen. The company telegraphed this move nearly a year ago, but has avoided actually pushing content until now. The ads in question are for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which launched in January for the PC and last fall for the Xbox One and Xbox 360.
The good news is that Rise of the Tomb Raider is at least considered to be a good game, so it’s not as if Microsoft is pushing lousy titles at people. Still, the move will raise hackles on multiple sides. Users generally won’t like having their lock screens turned into advertisements, while companies like Valve will see this as Microsoft’s attempt to push the Windows Store as a gaming destination. Valve’s Steam OS was driven by these concerns; if Microsoft doubles down on using the Windows Store for game content, Valve might respond by pouring more effort into its own alternative OS initiative.
If you don’t want your lock screen used to sell you stuff, you can change it. Go to Settings, Personalization, and then Lock Screen. There’s a box that reads “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen.” Given the fact that no Windows 10 system we’ve used has ever displayed anything we’d classify as fun facts, tips, tricks, or “more,” it’s safe to say you won’t be missing anything.
Why buying games from the Windows Store is a bad idea
Microsoft has said it wants to make it easy for gamers to cross-buy games for both the Xbox One and PC, but there are some significant limitations to buying titles from the Windows Store. Full credit for digging this up goes to HowToGeek, which laid out the differences in a recent post.
The long and short of it is this: If you buy a title in the Windows Store, you don’t get SLI or Crossfire support, V-Sync is always locked on, and borderless fullscreen mode is mandated. Borderless fullscreen makes certain that Alt-Tab always works properly, but there’s often a performance penalty associated with this mode. Windows Store apps also don’t allow modding and will only work on Windows 10, even if the game otherwise supports Windows 7 and 8 if distributed via other methods.
Every gamer will evaluate these restrictions differently, but as far as I’m concerned, modding is what makes the PC platform superior to other systems. I’m not sure why modding would be locked down if the Xbox One will also support PC mods (and the Fallout devs have said it would). For now, I’d recommend shutting the Windows game ads off and planning to buy titles from stores that allow you to use them more flexibly