The major Windows 11 update that Microsoft announced last week is now rolling out to users. In a blog post announcing the release, Microsoft describes some of the new features including the AI-enhanced version of MS Paint, the new Copilot tool, and updates to File Explorer, the Clipchamp video editor and Windows Snipping Tool, among other things.
But the company also introduced something else: support for streaming casual games from the Microsoft Store without the need to download or install anything to your computer first.
Microsoft calls the feature Instant Games, and says that its “partnered with game publishers to be able to bring this experience to our collection of casual games.” It’s available as a preview beginning today, and while there’s not a complete list of Instant Games available to play yet, Microsofts sample image shows the simple game Boing FRVR running from within the store.
Microsoft wouldn’t be the first company to take this approach toward letting users play some games without installing them. The Google Play Store’s Instant Play feature works similarly, letting users begin playing without installing it to their phones or other devices.
In the cases of both Google and Microsoft, these stream-from-the-store games need to be relatively lightweight titles that can launch quickly after a fairly small amount of data is streamed/downloaded to your device, which is why there’s an emphasis on casual games rather than more in-depth titles that require massive data downloads. And in both cases, it’s up to developers to decide whether to participate. Not all games in the Microsoft Store will be available for streaming anytime soon.
Another changes coming to the Microsoft Store this month is the ability to choose the specific drives and folders you want to use for games that you do install to your computer.