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Games are listed in the App list for discoverability in Windows Phone 8.1, may be optional with future update

There aren’t many complaints about Windows Phone 8.1, but one of them is the ‘listing’ of games in the App list instead of just under the Games hub. If you have 5 or 10 games, it’s probably not a huge deal, but for gamers out there with dozens, it quickly makes things messy.

In the Reddit AMA today, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore took to answering this complaint about why they did it and if they could make it optional going forward.  Belfiore gave a pretty reasonable response to the question and it’s noted that the development team seemed pretty split on the decision.

“This was a close call for us –- this kind of situation happens a lot in design... I call it a "45/55 thing". In this case, we made the change (to the "55" :) because we found through usability testing quite clearly that NEW USERS to our platform sometimes had a hard time finding games.. so we chose to optimize for these new users.”

And what about making it an option for users?

“It’s reasonable to suggest having an option for this in the future... something we’ll explore.”

Don’t expect such a fix for Windows Phone 8.1 though, as that is locked and sealed for features. However, if such an option is feasible without much coding, it could sneak into a GDR update, the first of which is scheduled for a possible July finish by the updates team. Either way, your complaints haven’t fallen on deaf ears.

Source: Reddit

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Reader comments

Games are listed in the App list for discoverability in Windows Phone 8.1, may be optional with future update

85 Comments

I like how he said users find it hard to find games.. Are people really too stupid to see the "Game Hub" icon and assume it has your games?

Most of Android, iOS, and even feature phones like S40 are listing games as apps. So the most common logical thing is of course looking for game in the app list. You cannot complaint on that.

It's not being stupid. When I first got my phone, I had trouble finding the games when I went to the app list a few times before finally getting used to the game hub. And I'm a very techy person. You don't need to call people stupid for something you didn't have trouble for. It's called being new to something

You're suggesting people search online how to find their games? That's what people SHOULDN'T have to do. YOu buy games from the app store. THey are APPS that you download from the APPS STORE. APPS are stored in the APPS LIST. THe games hub isn't the only logical place. ANd like I said, and Joe, these are newcomers. THey aren't as aquainted withe the OS, some with the games hub. 

If there's something you use, pin it. If you never use it, maybe it's time to uninstall a few things. Also, hit search and type the first letter or two, the app will pop right up. It's not hard.

That's true. Although I hate it sometimes it needs to be done. Uninstalling the useless stops I haven't nearly used or done see myself using is a long tedious but a rewarding job. :D

Thank god! I have about 10 games and I don't play them frequently. They were perfectly fine tucked into the games hub

We should be able to propely filter and sort the last like in Windows 8. Add a "apps" header with dropdownmenu just like in W8 to bring the platforms closer together.

I wonder how many other of 8.1s dumb changes were because of complaints from new users (photo hub, always visible system tray, new cursor, new charging sound, etc)

I hate the always visible system tray, totally ruined the Metro interface while I have learned to deal with the new cursor and actually like the toned down charging tone.

I disagree with you about the looks of having the system tray visible, it looks fine. And also if it were hidden, they would somehow need a way to show it. Before it was a swipe down, but that's now for the notification center. Of course, it might look better if they just reduced the transparency of the text so it wasn't so visible.

To each their own but Personally I would have preferred the system tray show when you pull the notification center header down. It reminds me of WinMo now and aesthetically that is not a good thing ;)

Old way was totally illogical. But maybe helped to hide the weakness of the app list by making one psuedo-category.

 

How was it illogical? I guess you install all your PC games in the program files dir on the o/s partition :P. It didn't hide any weaknesses, if anything it made the app list less cluttered and stopped newbies and reviewers alike complaining the app list was just one huge scrollable list. Totally disregarding the search button and the alphabet jump list.

Not what they're saying. What it's about is attracting new users to the platform and things need to be as easy as possible especially if they're transferring from another platform or feature phone.

Where do they find such stupid "new users"? I am sure there are much more another featers in the WP, that may confuse the "new users"!

...however in the process of attracting isheep, they are alienating their original consumer base. Seriously, all this research bullshit they did basically mutilated the "metro" aesthetic/integration/hubs and its kinda sad.

I don't see the big deal with this one. If you know the games name then it takes next to no time to find it in the list of applications to launch it. I personally found it odd that the games weren't listed in the main apps list when I first ventured into Windows Phone. In any case, users can still find their games listed separately in the games hub, so it's not a big deal really is it?

It is a BIG DEAL. It's illogical! Games are popping up in app list, then why is the Game hub for? It made game hub totally useless.

It's not about searching for your games it's about not cluttering your app list with your game collection that were previously quite comfy in the games hub. Bad decision.

Why can't they just make a pivot (is that the right term? Like in Settings we have

system application

Why not just the same when we go into "all apps", and have

apps games

I really think the "all" views need improvements throughout the OS; for instance with the People hub as well, it'd be great to have a "grid view". Basically like we can do in File Explorer in Windows; Details, List,  Small Icons, Medium Icons, Large Icons - something along those lines. Sure that's too complex for some people, but for other the option would be used.

With that logic why don't they list all my downloaded music in the app list s well. Why have them stuck in the Music hub?

Not a good point at all.  Like it or not games are apps.  Music, video, pictures, documents are data used by apps.  The point is not even apples to apples or  apples to oranges more like apples to an utensil.  I use an utensil (app) to cut the apple and the utensil is kept with all the other utensils.   I don't  keep the apples (data) in the drawer too.  Although, I don't care for games cluttering my apps list I am not going to cry like a little bit-ch. I know they will adjust and fix it sooner then later and allow these utensils (I mean game apps) to be optionally displayed only in the game hub.

I actually prefer them in the list. I rarely use the games hub and often forget what games I've got installed (other than the ones I pin).

My God! Who are the 45%, that want to see games set in the list?!

Instead I wish the developers removed the letters between all the apps to make the list more compact! 

At first it may have been unsightly. But now I prefer it. Its much easier pressing a letter to find that game I want to play. Games weren't organised the same in game hub and I hated scrolling through everything. Had to scroll for a while just to get past the xbox enabled games to find the other games. Now I can find anything easily. But if its this much of an issue for some, then I hope it becomes optional in the future. Because now id rather keep it this way.

So I guess there isn't much reason to keep the Games Hub anymore then.

Right now, it's just a basic launcher for games that happens to be laggy, lacking live tile, and without the ability to uninstall games.

I've already unpinned my me tile. Might as well unpin my games tile too. I liked how the hubs kept things seperate and how things worked. Oh well.

MS shows once again that they can't handle being unique or have the foresight of supporting ingenuity just like they did killing Zune. I like some changes in 8.1 but to just randomly kill things that set them apart and made the UI unique and leave nothing worthwhile in its place (just like the pile of poo called Xbox music) is par for the course. I realize they are not killing the Games Hub but they have messed the hubs up and convoluted the apps list even more. I would have loved the option to have hubs (folders) in the app list to collect all the apps that pertained to it while keeping the search function. No one needs to tell me how many apps to collect or to get rid of some to clean them up, just slow me the option to organize them and simplify using them like the hubs use to do.

Look at the bright side. When WP is a copy of iOS at least we can change to iOS, have all the Microsoft services and apps (even sooner and better), and also have all the apps were missing here or even the ones we have and seriously suck compared t to the iOS version.

New Users will either be new to Smartphones or former iPhone/Android users. The iPhone has a games page and of course you can make collections of games. Rather like a Nokia Tile. This would argue against the logic of his comment.
I suspect the issue is that they made the games tile relate to the XBox, not to "Games" at all. Look at how it appears if you don't have an Xbox live account, or if you have it as a small tile. It wouldn't be clear to a non Xbox person at all.
I think that was the problem for new users, but they are so Xbox familiar at MS that they missed it.

Why not swipe to the left from the home screen for games and to the right for applications since they are not intending to use the space on the left anyways?

Discoverability my white skinny ass. What I discovered is that I had to uninstall over 20 games and kept only 4 to make my apps list "usable" again. Good move for "developers developers developers" hey?! Now I won't buy or download any game unless I'm 100% sure I'm gonna play it very soon.

New users might have problems finding games, but not us users that have been with the platform since windows phone 7. My games are cluttering up my app list. :/ it would be nice to give us an option if went want to list games or not.

Kind of stupid that it was such a close call. And the smart minds at Microsoft couldn't figure out to just make it an option with the default being that they show up in the app list for the new users... Like that isn't rocket science. It seems like its hard for Microsoft to understand that everything isn't black and white. It doesn't have to be there or gone. There's a middle ground with everything

There aren’t many complaints about Windows Phone 8.1,

Daniel, you kidding?  Opening line of this article is just so wrong.  The WP8.1 forum here is just full of whinging.  Talk about ungrateful spoilt kids. 

Discoverability may be the case, but it only seems to highlight the muck that is scrolling through such a long list! New items get a little new tag, so scroll though and keep your eyes peeled if you forgot that app you just downloaded from a WPC post.

Just give us some sorting/grouping (maybe foldering) options for the main app list. 

I hope they re-add the background agent and option to sync. No idea why that was removed. This "revamped" games hub totally deviates from the WP mantra of smooth transitions and efficiency as the "new" games hub lags alot on resume and loading compared to the wp8.0 version.

If they had ideas about discoverablility, they should have implemented the "New!" tag to each new unopened GAME in the GAMES HUB. Pre-8.1, installing a GAME also took you the GAMES HUB, where the GAME was installing. When you couple this change, along with the photo hub and people hub changes that seemingly no one asked for, it seems MS wasted a good amount of time. They're going to have to blow us away with amazing "hub" app updates to really show why this move was worthwhile.

Back in the day every device came with a printed manual. Many still do. Mobile phones are not one of them. A Getting Started app should really be included with every phone, with links to at least an online, complete manual for the device and OS. If such a thing exists, I haven't seen it in the last 5 years. This would turn on the light bulb over anyone's head who rightfully may not know what the games hub is.