As I feared, Microsoft are heading down the locked-down Apple style path with Metro/WinRT.
Let’s take a look at the (preliminary) certification requirements for the Windows Store:
3.7 Your app must not use an interaction gesture in a way that is different from how Windows uses the gesture
This is somewhat understandable but it will also stifle innovation like we have seen with the iPhone buttons. One can only hope that the app reviewers are lenient.
3.5 Your app must fully support touch interactions
Your customers must be able to access all of your app’s functionality using only touch interactions and gestures.
This is great for point-and-click adventure games, not so much for other types of games. Let’s hope the final draft changes must to should.
5.1 Your app must not contain adult content
Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed.
5.3 Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes illegal activity
5.6 Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons
No Grand Theft Auto for you!
3.1 Your app must use only APIs for Metro style apps
3.2 Your app must not stop responding, end unexpectedly, or contain programming errors
We all know applications have bugs, does that mean the store will be empty?
And the App Developer Agreement contains this little nugget:
l. Removal Policies. Microsoft may remove or suspend the availability of any app from the Windows Store for any reason or no reason. Microsoft also may disable previously downloaded copies of an app if Microsoft believes that the app could cause harm to end users or their devices, third parties or any network, or to comply with any judicial process, government order or lawsuit settlement.
1984 all over again! If the store was just one of the ways to install apps this would be OK(ish) but when the Chinese government removes your TOR install on your Win8 ARM tablet you are out of options. (Not that a TOR like proxy application can be created with the restricted WinRT API but you get my point)