How to Run Games and Other Apps from the Microsoft Store on a Mac

All Mac® users know about the Mac App Store®, and most have probably used it to get an app or two. If you’re also a Parallels Desktop® for Mac user, there’s another store you should check out: the Microsoft Store.

The Microsoft Store is accessible from Windows 8 or 10—but in all practical terms, this means onlvidy Windows 10, since Windows 8 is used so rarely these days.

The Microsoft Store is for all things to play or consume on Windows 10: movies, music, apps, books, fonts, extensions to the Edge browser, and even hardware. In Apple® terms, it’s iTunes®, the Mac App Store, iBooks®, and the Apple Store® all rolled into one. However, in this blog post, I will focus mainly on apps available from the Microsoft Store.

Accessing the Store

Just as Apple has the App Store app, Microsoft has the Microsoft Store app. (See Figure 1.)

Here are some apps I have downloaded from the Microsoft Store, none of which are available on the Mac App Store:

Games Productivity Learning Just Interesting
Age of Empires: Castle Siege Microsoft Whiteboard Kakitai: Learn Japanese by Writing Nebo*
Crossy Road* Office 365 Home* Sensavis Visual Learning Tool Plumbago
Microsoft Mahjong Sway* Penbook
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Delve* GestureSign
Age of Sparta Microsoft Math Microsoft Font Maker
  Fluid Math

*Available for the iPhone®/iPad® in the Apple App Store.

All of these apps run fine for me on my MacBook Pro® in a Windows 10 VM using Parallels Desktop 14—with the single exception of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. I used every setting I know to get this app to run with acceptable performance, but in the end, I gave up. (Age of Empires is my favorite game of all time, as I posted back in 2014.)

You can predict whether an app in the Microsoft Store will run in Parallels Desktop by looking at its system requirements from within your virtual machine. (See Figure 2.)

Figures 3–5 show some other apps from the Microsoft Store running in Parallels Desktop on my MacBook Pro.

Video 1 shows some games from the Microsoft Store running in Parallels Desktop 14 on my MacBook Pro:

And Video 2 shows some of the 3D models available for the Sensavis Visual Learning Tool:

As of today, there are about 800,000 Windows 10 apps in the Microsoft Store, as opposed to only about 11,000 in the Mac App Store. There are a number of excellent apps in both stores, and the Mac user with Parallels Desktop can take advantage of both to find the perfect app for your needs.

Have you found a particularly useful or novel app on the Microsoft Store? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

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