Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launched today, and while it may be tempting for PC gamers to pick it up through the Windows 10 store at a substantial discount, not being able to battle online with Steam players is probably a deal breaker.
The basic edition of Infinite Warfare is $59.99 on Steam. On the Windows store it’s only $47.99, with the Digital Legacy edition which includes the Modern Warfare remaster only $63.99. That’s a very tempting deal, but the Windows store listing does not mention the catch. There is no cross-compatibility between the Windows 10 version and the Steam version. If you have the Windows 10 version and your friends grab the game on Steam, you won’t be playing together.
This caveat is not mentioned on the Windows store listing for the game. The only real mention of it I am seeing is an entry in Activision’s FAQ on the Windows 10 version (via Eurogamer):
Can I play Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered for Windows 10 on Windows Store with my friends that are playing on another PC platform?
No, you can only play these titles with other users of Windows 10 on Windows Store.
It also bears noting that the Windows 10 version of the game is not an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so there is no cross play with the Xbox One version either.
This is the first time I’ve run into this issue, as most of the premium games I’ve played from the Windows store were Microsoft exclusives—Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 aren’t available on Steam.
While it feels like this is a move by Microsoft to push Windows 10 as its own independent gaming platform, a comment supplied by a Microsoft spokesperson to Windows Central suggests the cross-compatibility ball was in Activision’s court.
“We support cross-play between devices and platforms for partners who want to enable it.”
If you’re only into Call of Duty for the campaign (which is quite interesting this time around), the cheaper version might be worth it. If you want to play online, I’d suggest going where the player population is.