Tim Sweeney with some biting criticism of Microsoft and the UWP initiative.
Tim Sweeney, the founder and CEO of Epic Games, isn’t known to be a big fan of Microsoft and especially their UWP initiative on Windows 10. He’s been very critical of the entire concept in the past, claiming that Microsoft are trying to monopolize PC games development by making it a closed platform- and in a recent interview with EDGE (via Gamespresso), he once again spoke out against Microsoft, and what he perceives to be their intentions.
“The trouble started when Microsoft began shipping some PCs and regular Surfaces that were so locked down that you couldn’t run Win32 apps; you could only run apps that had been bought from their store,” Sweeney said. “That is a complete travesty. With Windows 10 they removed some more capabilities. They’ve been able to do this via some sneaky PR moves. They make a bunch of statements that sound vaguely like they’re promoting openness, but really they’re not promising anything of the sort.”
Sweeney then explained why he thinks what he does.
“The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP (Universal Windows Platform), then they phase out Win32 apps. If they can succeed in doing that then it’s a small leap to forcing all apps and games to be distributed through the Windows Store. Once we reach that point, the PC has become a closed platform. It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones.
“Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken. They’ll never completely break it, but will continue to break it until, in five years, people are so fed up that Steam is buggy that the Windows Store seems like an ideal alternative. That’s exactly what they did to their previous competitors in other areas. Now they’re doing it to Steam. It’s only just starting to become visible. Microsoft might not be competent enough to succeed with their plan, but they’re certainly trying.”
Of course, there are many points of contention in what he says- Microsoft never sold PCs which ran only Windows Store apps, they only sold tablets- and of those, none of them were running Windows 10 or even Windows 8, but Windows RT, an OS long since abandoned. He ignores that the only reason for such a lockdown to even exist in the first place was that Windows RT was for ARM devices, and Win32 apps and software, coded for x86 hardware, couldn’t run on that. And of course, there is the point that the bulk of his argument is predicated on doomsaying, wild predictions with no basis in reality that have not yet come to pass.
On the whole, then? Definitely, Microsoft need to be kept an eye on, and the UWP initiative leaves a lot to be desired. But Tim Sweeney’s fears on the matter remain unfounded and baseless.