Using Metro For Entertainment And Casual Uses

So I recently talked about my own experience with Windows 8 on the business side of things. Based on the lack of apps and overall design of Metro, it is clear that using ‘desktop’ mode is really the best way to get things done for now. Now how about using Metro for entertainment purposes?

My main PC runs on a 32-inch TV and I have to say that Metro looks very impressive on the big screen, although maybe the icons do look a little blocky. I have never been a huge fan of Windows Media Center, but Metro really does the job as a hub for entertainment with a big-screen TV.

IE-Metro is a great browser for looking up basics, chatting on Facebook, and more. My only real complaint for IE-Metro is the lack of Flash support in order to push HTML-5 further as the standard. Although this isn’t a big deal for most things (as HTML-5 works better in many ways) it does hinder certain flash games and activities that I do for entertainment.

How about the apps in Metro? Unfortunately right now we are severely limited and the one potentially AWESOME Metro app isn’t even working for most users. This app is called Socialite and is designed with Facebook integration into your desktop experience and looks very good, unfortunately there is a bug that Microsoft is working on that prevents most users from ever logging in.

Outside of IE-Metro, there are a few other interesting things to do in METRO without using the desktop. My wife and I are particularly obsessed with the basic demo game “Treehouse Stampede”. In this little Metro-only game you essentially have little blobs coming after your tree house and are given three letters such as “syt” and must come up with a word combination in order to get a water-balloon to through at your enemies before they reach you.

It has very basic graphics but can be challenging and addicting, showing that there could be potential for casual gamers here in Metro once the actual App store comes around.

Otherwise I find many of the other apps really aren’t that great without a tablet/touch interface, these include apps such as Piano (which is an interactive piano) and Paintplay (essentially MS Paint or due to its lack of features maybe even closer to Paintbrush from Windows 3.x).

For now I find that my Windows Developer Preview experience resides mostly in desktop mode or just quickly popping into IE-Metro to look something up. In order for this to change, I need more apps. My biggest wish-list of apps includes Windows Media Player in Metro and Netflix either in IE or as its own app (doesn’t properly support Silverlight at the moment so no playing Netflix movies while in METRO).

I also wouldn’t mind Apple making an iTunes app directly for this but I’m not sure if Apple will make Metro-style apps or not. Years ago I wouldn’t have thought you’d see iTunes in Windows at all and we see that changed pretty quickly.

The inability to play music, movies, and stream Netflix movies are the biggest things that hold me back from just staying in Metro all the time unless I’m doing something on the productivity/business side of the fence. If Microsoft makes app solutions that play music, movies, and support better games than I have no doubts that many basic and casual users will never even enter into ‘desktop’ mode more than once or twice a month.

What do you think of the apps in Metro right now? What apps do you hope to see when the Marketplace Beta arrives? Share your thoughts below!

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