How things change.
The PC market is in a state of disruption, largely due to the actions of Epic Games and their aggressive attempts at securing exclusives to their still fresh Epic Games Store. Largely the battle has been waged against Steam, whether through indirect or direct means. But there’s been little talk about other stores (which is somewhat natural, since Steam has become the de facto standard for third party PC gaming). Now, though, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has talked about another major force in the PC market, Microsoft, and it seems he’s done a big 180 about his feelings towards them.
As recently as 2016, Sweeney had been incredibly critical of Microsoft, even making claims that he feared they would intentionally cripple the abilities of competitors through OS updates once they launched the Universal Windows Platform ecosystem, which current Microsoft Games Store is part of. Now, as per an interview with GamesBeat, Sweeney seems to have changed his mind. He praises Microsoft for just about everything, but mostly how he feels that Microsoft is now dedicated to openness in their platforms, their innovative Game Pass program, and how their console business has evolved.
“Epic is thrilled with everything Microsoft is doing and we feel that we couldn’t be happier with the directions they’ve taken on all their platforms,” said Sweeney. “There’s HoloLens, now an open platform. There’s Windows, a completely open platform. And Microsoft is launching new Microsoft services of all sorts through the Windows Store. And then there’s also Microsoft Game Pass. And those are existing side by side with everybody else’s services. And it’s a really healthy ecosystem, which everybody participates in.
“And then there is Xbox. Consoles are a unique thing. They are television-attached gaming devices, as opposed to like general computing platforms. You’re not doing spreadsheets there. And so it was a different experience and also generally consoles over their history are subsidized hardware and so the hardware recoup some money from software sales. Epic is completely satisfied that their economic models are fair.
“If a bunch of developers get together and decided to make a console, we would probably do something similar. Funding hardware through software is a completely sensible plan. Epic loves Microsoft. Epic hearts Microsoft.”
Depending on how you feel about recent events, you may find those statements ironic, since one of the key criticisms of Epic Games’ current strategy is how it is allegedly making the PC ecosystem less open. Regardless, at the very least it seems like two major PC players “heart” each other, at least for now.