“Microsoft Is Moving Against The Entire PC Industry”, Says Epic Founder

Tim Sweeney, programmer and co-founder of Epic Games, says that “we must fight” Microsoft and their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, which makes certain Windows 10 features only available to developers who agree to sell their game via the official Windows Store.

This is from an op-ed in The Guardian where Sweeney outlines his objections, arguing that “this is the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made” and that “Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games.”

The UWP is a software platform designed to allow developers to create programs that run on both Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, without needing to be re-written for each type of device. Sweeney’s issue is that to use the platform and certain other Windows features, you must sell your product through the Windows store – and thus give Microsoft 30% of your revenue. Sweeney writes:

It’s true that if you dig far enough into Microsoft’s settings-burying UI, you can find a way to install these apps by enabling “side-loading”. But in turning this off by default, Microsoft is unfairly disadvantaging the competition. Bigger-picture, this is a feature Microsoft can revoke at any time using Windows 10’s forced-update process.

He goes on to explain the things Microsoft must do if UWP is to succeed: allow UWP applications to be downloaded from anywhere, not just the Windows store; allow anyone to sell UWP applications, including Steam and GOG; allow creators and consumers to continue to have a direct relationship with one another, without Microsoft sitting as an unwelcome middleman. He goes on to argue in favour of open ecosystems, and to say that in the case of the Windows Store, “Microsoft’s situation, however, is an embarrassment.”

In another Guardian story, Microsoft disagreed with Sweeney’s interpretation of what they were doing, saying in part that:

“The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. We continue to make improvements for developers; for example, in the Windows 10 November Update, we enabled people to easily side-load apps by default, with no UX required.”

This isn’t the first time that a developer has criticised Microsoft’s practices, but I can’t think of another instance of a developer writing a full op-ed in a major news outlet about it. As one of the founders of Epic and the original architect of the Unreal Engine, Sweeney has a lot of credibility, too.

More credibility, arguably, than Microsoft, who have neglected the PC games space for years and whose promises to enter the arena have been either hollow or met with the suspicion that they’d force things upon people that people didn’t want. I wonder why.

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209 Comments

  1. jellydonut says:

    Fuck Microsoft. It’s a shame the alternative is either an even more closed and toxic ecosystem (Apple), or a patchwork hobbyist operating system with a dysfunctional community.

    • Windows98 says:

      Linux developers are a pretty dysfunctional lot, but the users can be very helpful and newbie-friendly. Check out the Ubuntu forums for a good example.

      • DeusExMachina says:

        Username checks.

      • Shadow says:

        98, you traitor!

        You’re just bitter because you were discontinued.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Your username is, amusingly enough, one of the reasons “Linux developers” work against Linux. Too goddamn elitist and dismissive of any competition to raise their heads over the parapets and see what’s changed since the ’90s, and where they’ve fallen behind.

        (Generalization is general. Counterexamples exist.)

        • falconne says:

          To address your “Linux not knowing what’s changed since the 90’s” bit, if you were a software developer you’d know that Microsoft’s entire strategy for the last few years has been to try and catch up to Linux, featurewise. The server, cloud and mobile markets are dominated by Linux because of that ecosystems far more advanced capabilities in deployment, clustering, virtualisation, etc.

          The space dominated by Linux is a far bigger slice of the pie than the desktop PC market and after getting rid of Balmer, MS are doing everything they can to try and become relevant in that space. UWP is part of that plan.

        • falconne says:

          I’ve worked in both Linux and .Net shops (currently .Net) and Linux is far easier to develop in, because all “cool”, “modern” tech stacks, cloud frameworks, deployment and automation systems are designed primarily for Linux. It’s part of my job to get these things working on Windows (DevOps) and it’s a real pain.

          If you’re not seeing how much easier all this is under Linux then I’m sorry, but your shop is behind the times and still using 10 year old development paradigms.

          It’s something the new MS CEO recognised as the reason why they can’t catch up to Linux in the Enterprise and web development space and starting from Windows Server 2016 they’re making significant fundamental changes to address this.

      • Calculon says:

        I’ve made the decision to switch to Ubuntu personally and have a migration plan underway. I’ll hold out on Windows 7 for a work PC as long as I possibly can, until such time that MS attempts to force me to Win10 which I refuse to use (I’ve tried it and hate it) – and will also need to move my desktop to Ubuntu.

        For me – this is the nail in the coffin for MS products. This sleaze bag maneuver seems to be in line with their new philosophy which “Bully and use the consumer” – which I personally wont tolerate.

        Most Steam games are now on Linux – at least the ones I care about – and most other games in development I want are also supported on Linux. Bye bye MS.

        • SyCo_Venom says:

          I had used windows 7 since it came out until about a month ago(other than about a week of trying windows 8.1). I honestly cant remember what the difference was between windows 7 and 10 and I am not being a fanboy or whatever u want to say. Like i kind of understood the 8.1 problem but you can change win10 to whatever u want basically. It uses very low system resources and runs really good. Sure the spying shit but you can turn most of it off and just read any eula. I really think win10 is one of there best when using it.

          With that said the practices of Microsoft makes you sick. Ya you can turn of the spying and not use the store but the principle of it and all the hoops that arent really that hard to do but they still add so you have to make the additionally effort is sickining. Apple is just as bad if not worse so i dont want to hear that shit. Microsoft may not be able to out right kill PC gaming they could put in the hospital and on a breathing machine and feeding tube.

    • GameCat says:

      It’s hard to even treat Linux as an alternative, as it have less than 1% of OS cake…

      • GameCat says:

        Whoops, less than 2%, at least according to wikipedia.

        • hooby says:

          Less than 2% of the desktop+laptop OS cake.

          On the mobile device cake, Linux is nr.1 (Android is a Linux).

          On the public internet servers cake, Linux is nr.1.

          On the embedded devices and appliances cake, Linux is nr.1.

          All those other cakes are significantly larger, than the desktop+laptop cake.

          Windows has the largest piece – of the smallest cake ;)

          • Cerulean Shaman says:

            That’s not completely true, but I get where you’re coming from. It’s usually because it’s a cheaper and sometimes more adaptable alternative.

            Ultimately if the OS is never seen then it’s a moot point. Severs sit and serve. Android has its own systems, development, and appearance so it’s moot that it’s Linux at core. Few people even know that, which is exactly my point.

            You’re pointing at a dirty boulder and saying it’s the greatest thing in the world when there’s a large leap between it and the massive, gothic cities built from it.

            And, eye to eye, hand on hands, Linux still remains the weakest OS when it comes to actually having to USE the OS and for good reason too. I don’t like Windows or iOS, but even considering Linux as a viable alternative right now is laughable for the vast majority of people.

      • John O says:

        We had a Facebook-Like in Germany a few years ago that was very popular. Few people even knew of Facebook, and their user count was “everybody”, minus old people of course. When Facebook started investing in Germany, over the course of a year tops everybody had migrated to the system.

        Linux is just a core. It offers most of the functionality we get from Windows, in some instances more, in some less. It’s missing the software support and the user base.

        • GameCat says:

          Even if literally every dev in the world started developing software for Linux from now on, Windows will still have huge advantage of that shitload of old apps you can run on it and not on Linux.

          • John O says:

            Nah, there’s plenty of useful applications on Linux. And older games for instance can be run perfectly well with Wine. Once interest is there, automating set up is not that big a deal. What’s missing is the big ones, major games, Adobe software, Autodesk, MS Office (like that’s ever gonna happen), Music and Video editing suites.

            For business, you’re right, there’s tons of applications, in house developments and stuff like SAP and Microsofts own stuff like Sharepoint and such that you’ll never ever transport to a different OS. But that needn’t concern us, I think. For the average user, it’d be perfectly feasible. And for more demanding users like me, having the tools Linux offers and the tools you can only get on Windows in one place would be super sweet.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            While that is a good example, I fear Microsoft is the Facebook, and Linux is the local alternative. The bigger eats the smaller. :(

          • Bury The Hammer says:

            It’s untrue to say software doesn’t exist for Linux. I work as a developer for a software consultancy. We all use either Linux or OS X, depending on personal preference. I don’t think I know anyone who uses Windows, certainly not to develop on.

            I mean, we’re not game developers, but we can clearly do our job quite well without Windows. And we’d really struggle without tools like Docker or Ansible and etc, an entire set of products which just aren’t supported at all in the Windows ecosystem.

            Most people don’t realise this I guess, because a lot of development these days is done for webapps, and then devs don’t have to worry too much about what OS their customers are using.

          • Premium User Badge

            boundless08 says:

            Completely agree with what everything is saying but one good thing nowadays is all MS office software and Adobe run in the cloud so you can do everything in your browser. To be honest thought I don’t used any office stuff anymore, I work straight out of google docs, slides and spreadsheets. Even when I’m doing something for work where everyone uses office still.

            AAA games is a problem but all that’s going to change that more people picking up steamos and trying it out

        • Don Reba says:

          I think this speaks to how easily Linux could lose any gains it makes to the dominant platform.

      • DeusExMachina says:

        Check some country statistics and you will realize that the ignorance is a majority around the world. There is nothing bad to not be in the majority.

      • Unsheep says:

        Yes but this has nothing to do with Linux itself, but everything to do with marketing.

        Microsoft has convinced the world that Windows is the best OS to use, and most people around the world have readily accepted this without giving serious thought about the alternatives. Despite the fact that systems like Ubuntu and Fedora are actually very easy to use.

        Of-course Apple has been quite successful as well.

        The bottomline is that Linux is superior as far as efficiency is concerned. Its because developers and users keep insisting on using Windows that Linux is not as popular, at least when home computing is concerned.

        • John O says:

          Another point is that since applications have started moving towards servers, or “the clouds”, a lot of what you do actually happens inside of your browser. I often use Google Docs and Photos online, I browse and use social media, and when I do development stuff, like Bury The Hammer said a bit further up, there’s tools you don’t get on Windows that are easy to use on OSX or Linux. And for photo editing, Darktable has almost everything I need, and I can use Gimp if I have to. I’d much prefer starting Photoshop locally without booting to the 2nd partition though.

        • Jay Load says:

          Poppycock and balderdash.

          Your argument implies that if Linux were suddenly to be brilliantly marketed, all of it’s problems would go away. I’ve used Linux, repeatedly, and at no point was it ever proven to be as robust and easy to use as Windows. THAT’s a huge factor in why Linux usage remains at sub 2%. Add in the myriad of other problems – like the chap on this thread who took two hours to set up a 4K monitor, and I recall having similar issues with things like printer drivers, flash playback and graphics cards that, although not exactly simple in MS world, are MUCH more easily managed – and it’s clear that even with Ubuntu’s help, Steam’s entry into the gaming space, and the undoubted brilliance of it’s coding community, Linux is still struggling just to keep up. It excels in a few areas, but the mainstream need it to excel or at least match many more before it can be considered a viable alternative. It’s good, but not good enough for your average user. And please don’t whine about users being lazy and not wanting to learn Linux. It’s NOT a easy thing to learn, even for people used to computers.

          • John O says:

            The 4k setup could have been automated in a snap. And don’t confuse platforms. Linux is the kernel, and that is working beautifully. Device support is often problematic because of vendors not caring about the platform. The user interface is either a windowing or desktop system, and those need to be looked at individually. And then there’s bundled software, usually GNU, and that is hit and miss, with the hits very very close to the mark.

          • John O says:

            Also Linux isn’t struggling to keep up. There is little in the way of concerted effort to make it a leading desktop os. It is clearly leading on some platforms, like mobile, smart tv, Chromebooks use a Linux as kernel, scientific computing and other areas like networking.

            And I’m not pro Linux really. I’d very much like to see it become a leading OS, but right now I don’t see large adoption because it still asks the user to solve problems himself that are automated (often badly) on Windows, because people will not just buy a new computer or migrate all their data to an OS they don’t know and probably don’t know how to use. Widespread adoption of Linux so far is a bit of a bad idea. But in niches, and gaming could be one niche where it would make a lot of sense, it would certainly be possible

          • physicalist says:

            No one is heavily investing into Desktop Linux, not even Red Hat and certainly not Canonical and Valve. That is the major problem.
            All the building blocks are already there, but most developers have no interest (or not the freedom) to work for free, which is totally understandable to me.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Dismissing Windows’ success as “oh, it’s just marketing” (or “oh, it’s just pretty and dumbed-down”, for that matter) only hurts Linux.

          Burn your darlings. See their flaws and shortcomings, or you will never fix them.

          Besides. If either of those were true, it’d be Apple’s store this article would be about, on a site about Mac Gaming Since 1873.

          • Emeraude says:

            Well, you could also be dismissing Windows’ success as “unethical or otherwise cutthroat business practices”.

            Still, do burn your darlings.

        • harmlos says:

          Um, no. That Linux is not a bigger player on the desktop is not due to marketing, but due to the fact that the big players funding Linux development (IBM, RedHat, HP, etc.) don’t care about the desktop and thus don’t fund any effort into it (the things they care about, i.e. the things they need to sell servers, work great). As a result, desktop things like sound, printing, etc. don’t work reliably and easily on Linux. If I have to Google which configuration file I have to edit so that sound is sent to my USB headset, Linux has already lost.

          Just for the record, I say that as a software developer that spends most of his time logged into a Linux machine, because the Windows command line environment is just awful and Visual Studio doesn’t cut it if you’re trying to build portable software.

          • manny says:

            The main problem is the linux community are a bunch of commie bastards, who would rather work for a week for free than pay $200 for a operating system, they use everyday for year and years.

            Android and Chrome are only a success cause google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in them.

            These lintards kill any linux commercial venture on the desktop.

            I’d love to buy a linux operating system for $200 that at the very least came with detailed instructions on how to do simple things like install drivers and windows programs.

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            bonuswavepilot says:

            What a strange money/labour argument… I suppose you could find a local urchin and pay them $20 an hour to go and google this stuff for you, if you find free labour so despicable when you could instead be spending money. Unfortunately this won’t actually mean that you learn anything, since knowledge can only be attained via mental labour, rather than bought.

            No matter how well designed, unless it was exactly the same as what you’re using now, you would still have to put some work into learning the quirks etc, and granted this can be a pain in the arse, but none of us were born knowing how to Windows, either.

    • John O says:

      Linux is kind of dysfunctional mostly for lack of third party support. There’s problems with the UI and integration of some features that would be easily solvable if interest was there. For instance I’m typing this on a 4k monitor that took a little bit of effort to set up. Maybe 2 hours of browsing for solutions, clicking things and installing drivers.

      The hobbyist system is just not true. The obvious point that it’s used to run lots of webservers and tiny little phones and appliances aside, many of the hobbyists who use and develop for it are professionals working in computer science. I’m often surprised at how solid things are on my system. And since I changed two years ago and only use Windows on my second partition when I need to, which is less and less often, the more I dread booting up to that ugly little window.

    • Jay Load says:

      “patchwork hobbyist operating system with a dysfunctional community”

      Best. Description. EVER.

      • John O says:

        It sounds fun. It’s not true at all, see all the 400 replies here, but yea. Sounds fun.

      • Jay Load says:

        And at the End-user level, who uses Linux?

        Hobbyists. Software/computing enthusiasts. Some Gaming enthusiasts. These aren’t your average users.

        I understand the enterprise-driven side of Linux. I’ve used many distros and spent many years watching the communities mix with corporate entities. But I still think the OPs description is valid.

        • John O says:

          The OS isn’t a product of its users.

        • hooby says:

          Professionals use Linux professionally for servers, routers, switches, firewalls, embedded systems, appliances, and lots of other stuff.

          Gaming is a hobby, and people who play games are therefore hobbyists by default. Windows is the most popular and best supported OS for gaming – and therefore the most used OS among those hobbyists.

          I don’t understand how that makes Windows the “professional” OS, and Linux the “hobbyist” OS…

          It rather seems to me, that Linux is a bit too professional, for the casual hobbyist gamer…

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      This “hobbyist operating system” you speak of powers nearly every supercomputer in existence and rather substantial chunk of the internet. You’re a user of it, whether you know it or not.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Correction: the supercomputers are on POSIX systems, but not Linux itself. Usually they run a version of UNIX.

        But yes a lot of the internet is hosted on Linux/Unix systems because they can be stripped down to only the essential components far easier than Windows.

        • theirongiant says:

          On a list of reasons for why linux runs the web, that wouldn’t make the top 100.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          Citation needed.

          I’m basing my info on reports like this one link to zdnet.com

        • zero signal says:

          494/500 on Linux according to top500.org.

        • Don Reba says:

          Running Scientific Linux here at LHC. :)

        • jrodman says:

          This debate is ultimately pointless, but you are just displaying ignorance. Linux has become the standard supercomputer kernel for a long time now. The only exceptions are the relatively esoteric ones running entirely custom loads, but even those are typically running some minimal kernel on the leaf nodes and Linux everywhere else.

      • froz says:

        That “hobbyist” description is a common myth. Linux is maintained by a lot of paid profesionalls. Linux foundation is sponsored by the biggest companies in the industry (including Intel, Samsung, HP, IBM, Huawey, Qualcom, Google, Facebook and many, many others…). See here:

        link to linuxfoundation.org

        They not only contribute in money, but (maybe even mostly) in working hours of their programmers.

        And they are not doing it for free. They have their people in the board:

        link to linuxfoundation.org

        Sure, I bet there are plenty of people working for free around Linux as well, effectively helping all those big corporations.

        Linux systems are not a replacement for Windows not because they are managed by “hobbyists”, but because they are developed for other uses, not for consumers on desktop.

        Funny thing, checking some facts for this post on wikipedia, I found out that the linux foundation board doesn’t even have linux community representative anymore since January:

        link to datamation.com

        • John O says:

          As another example to drive the point home, there is link to scientificlinux.org a distro backed by Universities and research centres. You’ll often see the names of major universities around the world hosting and working on free and open source software. The world’s brightest are actively working on and learning with this hobbyist system supported by a dysfunctional community. Facebook and Amazon use custom Linux servers. Google uses a custom Linux for Android and their employees use Goobuntu, a custom Ubuntu Linux. Obviously none of them know that Windows is clearly the better system.

        • jrodman says:

          FWIW, the Linux Foundation has become a pointless trade association working to promote the products of its members in an advertising capacity basically. The actual people who develop Linux view the Linux Foundation as enjoying a self-inflicted irrelevance, and its endorsements as warning signs.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      It’s worth bearing in mind that linux is probably the most used operating system on earth, given it’s installed on 2 billion mobile phones as the operating system the android runtime runs on.

      • Unsheep says:

        If you counted all the devices, machinery and equipment that use Linux or Unix they would easily outnumber Windows.

        So while the use of Linux in people’s homes is not rivaling Windows, its use in the real world is quite extensive.

        This makes sense, because its free and highly customizable/adaptable.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Technically correct, but misleading. Same kernel, very different userland. It’s the latter that has most of the impact towards users and application support.

    • MrTea says:

      ios is closed but osx is not

      • Mokinokaro says:

        The Mac App store existing is obviously “proof” that Apple is moving towards a closed system though, right?

        • MrTea says:

          I’m sure they’d love to move in that direction, but we can take that steam and gog.com being available on that platform as proof that’s in a open platform for now

    • goon buggy says:

      Did anyone not see this coming? Gaben was right, not that he wouldnt do it if he could.
      In 6 months theyll put out another statement,
      We sowry, we do betta, ye.
      Maybe needing dx12 was why xcom and hitman beta ran like shit.

  2. Sp4rkR4t says:

    As a concept I’m a fan of the Universal Windows Platform but as it stands it’s slightly worse than useless for modern PC gaming, especially the big AAA titles and ever since the beta of win 10 the whole platform has a tendency to stop & splutter and since it’s what runs the taskbar, start menu & notification bar that leaves you pretty much fucked.

    • laiwm says:

      It’s a neat idea, but it seems like they’re quickly going to run into the problem that Android and to a lesser extent iOS has, where you’re not allowed to install something because you’ve got the wrong hardware. What happens if you try to install Gears of War on your phone? Will you know before you’ve bought the phone or afterwards? Will the Windows Store warn you before you buy it? It’s a problem that can only be countered with really good customer communication and UX, neither of which MS have a very good track record in IMO.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        The apps list what architecture it works on (ARM, x86 amd x64)and it’s recommended specs on the specifications section.

        Also UWP doesn’t mean it’s automatically available for each platform. Games like Tomb Raider don’t show up in the Windows10 store on the phones.

  3. unacom says:

    I remember something. Long time ago.
    Windows media player. There was a legality issue.

  4. Jay Load says:

    “Microsoft Is Moving Against The Entire PC Industry”, Says Epic Founder

    Strapline: Not a single PC gamer is surprised by this.

    Yeah, we were kind of expecting it. We’re ALWAYS expecting it. It’s Microsoft, FFS. Their abusive relationship towards their customers is legendary.

    • Sirius1 says:

      Actually, we’re not MS’ customers, or at least we’re not their important ones. Their most important customers have always been the hardware vendors who partner with them, who were key to making MSDOS and then Windows ubiquitous to the PC.

      Of course, they don’t exactly treat those customers much better than they treat us…

  5. harcalion says:

    Just a minor clarification. For games, UWP is about Windows 10 and Xbox One, because both platforms use x86 CPUs. Windows 10 Mobile is ARM, so it is completely different source code (that you can package together in the same app, though). That can change if manufacturers release x86 mobile phones, enabling the exactly same game with the same source code to run on all platforms.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arnvidr says:

      Nitpick: you don’t need different source code to run on x86 versus ARM (unless you’re doing VERY low level stuff), and you never package the source code when distributing a game. You need to compile the game separately for the two different architectures though, and you can package the result together so it runs on both.

      • harcalion says:

        Low-level stuff is right now what everyone in AAA PC gaming is pushing: “console-like performance”, “Vulkan”, “DirectX 12”. Do we have DirectX 12 for ARM? Nope.
        Packaging I meant the binaries, of course!

        • Janichsan says:

          Do we have DirectX 12 for ARM?

          Not yet. It’s apparently planned for the future.

        • Premium User Badge

          Arnvidr says:

          For the sake of this argument, none of those are low level enough to make a game’s source code different. We’re basically talking assembly, so the actual implementations of DirectX or Vulkan are probably different on the source level, but that matters not to the games.

          • John O says:

            That is exactly the point. Developers want access to assembly level functionality, which is what Vulkan and DX12 want to offer.

          • Cronstintein says:

            I don’t think they do. Deep diving like that as a dev will increase your workload exponentially with the number of different hardware configurations. The appeal of DX12 and Vulcan are that THEY (the APIs) are making better use of the hardware. IE: Better multithreading with CPUs and a more cohesive joining of graphics cards (SLI/Crossfire equivalent). Right now, you’re right, Vulcan is right down to the nitty gritty. But that’s basically a turn-off from using it right now for most game devs. The vast majority of devs need to wait for better middleware (ie: game engines) to actually be able to use these things effectively.
            I personally hope Vulcan does really well and that most future game engines support it, that way I can stick to my win7 and still get the performance upgrades ;)

  6. The_Player says:

    Why would they allow devs to sell their UWP titles outside of Windows Store, when the sole idea behind UWP was to promote their store in the first place? I get what writer was trying to tell, but this is just absurd.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Steam does the same thing.

      • Winged Nazgul says:

        Steam makes up for it by being so convenient in other ways. Microsoft, being Microsoftm simply doesn’t. As long as these restrictions stay in place, I don’t forsee myself buying any Windows 10 games (exclusive or no): link to howtogeek.com

      • froz says:

        Steam doesn’t force devs who wants to sell their games there to only sell their games on steam. They can use Steam DRM, which then needs steam client even if the game is sold someplace else, but that’s optional for devs.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        Yeah, it’s sort of ridiculous whining about this arrangement while talking about Steam as a victim of this. Steam is effectively the market leader in doing this exact method of tithe collection.

        • lastfreethinker says:

          Except games with Steam DRM can be sold anywhere. Valve even allows sellers to generate steam keys that can be sold or given away without having to pay Valve their cut.

        • Mig says:

          Steam can’t force GOG, Origin or Battle.Net store fronts to not exist.

          But Microsoft can wall the OS to make their store the *only* store.

          That’s the difference.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            It’d be suicidal for Microsoft to do so however. They know they can’t go that far.

            It’d destroy them completely in the business world where most of their clients have proprietary software of some sort

          • Sirius1 says:

            @Mokinokaro – whether or not it would destroy them, that does seem to be their ultimate goal. They have been desperate for some time to out-Apple Apple, and the app store is one of Apples prime strategies, that MS clearly wants to emulate.

      • C0llic says:

        It really doesn’t. You would have a point if Steam made the OS the storefront runs on (windows), and if it also controlled the API (directx) pretty much all games now use to actually work. It isn’t close to the same thing.

        This is far, far scarier if you think beyond your dislike for steam (I’m making an assumption there) as a game distribution platform.

      • DanMan says:

        No. You can buy Witcher 3 on both Steam and GOG.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arnvidr says:

      UWP and the store are not related as far as I can tell. Of course Microsoft WANT you to use the store, but there’s no overlap in the technology here. How an app or game runs on a platform (Windows vs Xbox) is separate from how it is delivered to the customer.

      • Don Reba says:

        UWP apps can only be distributed through the store easily. Side-loading is disabled by default.

        • Solidstate89 says:

          No, it’s enabled by default. Go spin up a VM and install the latest Windows 10 ISO. I literally just did a fresh install of Windows over the weekend the default state is to allow Sideloading.

          • Don Reba says:

            Sideloading is only enabled for certified store apps, as I understand it — Microsoft still has control over your app. It can also disable sideloading at any moment, which means that it is not a viable general distribution strategy.

      • DanMan says:

        If you want DX12, you need to publish through the Windows Store, don’t you?

  7. appel says:

    Uh, so where is the article from Epic about the problem that you can’t sideload games at all on iOS devices or that you must enable sideloading on Android?

    And exactly is it that you can do on UWP that you can’t using Win32? I thought that it was the other way around that UWP is more limited since apps run in a protected sandbox to protect the user from malicious or broken apps.

    • jellydonut says:

      Everyone knows that phones are locked-down, toxic ecosystems. The point here is to avoid that the PC becomes something similar. It’s obvious that Microsoft is trying to turn Windows into a closed platform like a mobile app store.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thulsa Hex says:

        This is the point, exactly. MS wants a slice of the Apple pie, and to accomplish this, it’s is moving to exert more control over the economics of it’s platform than it’s ever done before. It’s not “just another app store,” it’s a core integration into the OS, and don’t be fooled — this is likely testing the water for further advancement down that path. Denying third party publishers access to core OS features is a quietly aggressive move and decidedly anti-consumer. Epic is right to draw attention to this.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          They want a slice of the Steam pie more than they want Apple’s.

          • Premium User Badge

            Thulsa Hex says:

            My point was that in the bigger picture they want to compete with the Apple App Store. I’m sure they just see the games market as a more manageable first step. This is bigger than games, ultimately.

          • Sirius1 says:

            No. I don’t think MS gives a damn about steam. They are, however, paranoid about Apple, and have been ever since the “I’m a PC” ads. Their moves have all been to try to emulate either Google or Apple, in attempts to move in on their territories (advertising and mobile, respectively.) I’ve seen nothing to indicate that MS even knows steam exists, let alone cares enough about it to compete with Valve.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          Exactly. And I should say that calling Microsoft’s bullshit has to start by not allowing them to reframe the discussion on their own terms :
          Microsoft has (correctly) assumed that there’s more profit to be made from an Operating System they would have more control over, so they have started several years ago the process of killing off Windows and replacing it with a new operating system I would call “Tiles”. That they are putting “Windows” in the names of its components doesn’t matter : the lack of compatibility with “old” Windows programs and the new “Tiles” apps with the old Windows versions does.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      You can sideload on iOS and the state of these mobile operating systems is a problem which i’m sure epic would like to address but that is a matter of fighting to open something up vs fighting to prevent someone from walling something off, they are very different fights. By educating people about how UWP removes their freedom epic have a chance of influencing the direction of evolution of the windows executable.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        You cannot officially sideload on iOS. You can only sideload by circumventing features of the operating system (and voiding your warranty, locking yourself out of future updates, etc.)

        Apple does not officially allow sideloading and keep trying to prevent it through iOS updates.

    • Masked Dave says:

      If you’d read the Guardian piece that the article links to, you’d see that Tim Sweeny does indeed call out Android on this practice as well.

      In particular, Android makes it possible to install third-party applications outside of the Google Play store, which is required for Google to comply with the Linux kernel’s GNU General Public License. However, Google makes it comically difficult for users to do so, by defaulting the option to off, burying it, and obfuscating it. This is not merely a technical issue: it has the market impact of Google Play Store dominating over competing stores, despite not being very good.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Except that the option really isn’t that buried in 5 and 6.

        It’s also an option for power users as too many people have had their phones hijacked by malware through sideloading.

  8. braven5 says:

    I get feeling they might be crossed wires here, microsoft says it must be sold on windows store but it don’t say it can be sold anywhere else.

    Which mean we could still buy from steam,or gog still, the only request is thats its on windows store, NOT exclusive to windows store

  9. Jay Load says:

    PS: Graham? I love the image you chose for this article. Fits perfectly.

    • Graham Smith says:

      Thanks!

    • brucethemoose says:

      +1

      Also, I REALLY don’t like to think about what Microsoft did to Halo, so thanks for that :P

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Never forget.

        It’s not like I even care about Halo now. But I DID, then.

      • Don Reba says:

        Didn’t it turn it from yet another shooter to the golden standard for console FPSs?

        • Mokinokaro says:

          It did for a while.

          Unfortunately the series hit a sharp decline with 4 and 5 is even more dreadful.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            Maybe it’s because deep down Microsoft resents that Halo was unveiled during a Steve Jobs’ keynote, that’s why Microsoft subconsciously botched the latest releases? :p

  10. Jay Load says:

    Lastly, I find it ironic this is coming from Epic, who abandoned the PC community like we had leprosy when all that console cash was flowing around early-mid Noughties. “PC Gaming is dying”, or something like that? They seemed happy enough to work in a closed ecosystem then, just sayin’….

    • haldolium says:

      Say what you want about their venture onto the Xbox and PS3, but they still always supported and pushed the PC platform, moving (successful so) onto the development supporting side with UDK and now UE4.

      • Jay Load says:

        “…they still always supported and pushed the PC platform…”

        No, they emphatically did not! “PC Gaming is Dying” is NOT support for the PC platform. Refusing to develop games for the platform, focusing on Xbox, is NOT support for the PC platform. subscribing to the falsehood that PC gamers were all pirates was NOT supporting our platform.

        They’ve done many things that have greatly benefited the PC but let’s not confuse that with all the times they did the exact opposite.

        • Greg Wild says:

          Meh. So what if they didn’t publish a handful of games about generic macho space marines on PC. The Unreal Engine alone is reason enough to acknowledge Epic’s long term commitment to PC.

        • DanMan says:

          Wasn’t that just Blezinski (or however it’s spelled), the old loud mouth?

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      I get what you’re saying, but my guess is that they’re happy to be free of that setup and want to avoid the AAA market being essentially exclusive to fully-closed platforms once again. Games as big and expensive as theirs are beholden to the market in ways that aren’t that intuitive. I also wonder if Sweeney feels his company should have a more responsible public stance since in the past 10 years the scope and influence of their business has far exceeded that of their own games. (Plus I do wonder how much of Epic’s PR back then was just Bleszinski.)

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      I got the impression at the time that Tim Sweeney was against that & that it was Mark Rein’s call.

    • karnak says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    • typographie says:

      I’ll take an ally where I can get one in this sort of fight, but I did get a bit of a chuckle at the last paragraph of this article mentioning Microsoft’s arguable neglect of the PC—there’s about a 10-year wide gap in Epic’s dedication to PC gaming, unless I’m forgetting something.

  11. Aitrus says:

    I’m just here because that image of Masterchief in monk robes is equal parts badass and ridiculous.

  12. gbrading says:

    There’s a lot in Tim Sweeney’s article I agree with; it does feel like Microsoft is essentially rolling the dice again and saying “Hey, we know you didn’t like Games for Windows Live, so how about this totally different system that is still a closed ecosystem which we’ll totally control? You’ll love it this time!”

    Microsoft still internally acts like it’s the 1990s and it’s the King of the PC. Well, it still may control the operating system, but outside of that it has lost almost all influence. Microsoft need to offer an experience that is attractive to consumers and developers alike.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      I just mentally add a “mwhahaha” at the end of every Microsoft statement or press release.

  13. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Completely agree, if Microsoft try and make people choose between windows and steam I think they will be very disappointed.

  14. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Also it’s only a matter of time before legislators put an end to this App Store Bundling and enforcing. It smacks in the face of all the work to end the preferential treatment of Internet Explorer. Apple enforcing Safari on iOS is even more of an abuse as Microsoft bundling IE & yet the former gets away with it and the latter does not.

  15. tifaucz says:

    I know its foolish, but every time I hear news like this I think “maybe finally linux will get a chance”.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Probably foolish, yes. My Windows partition did not survive my last motherboard upgrade, and I just can’t be arsed fixing it, resulting in me running purely Linux for almost a year now. Y’know, I don’t miss the games I can’t have. My unplayed backlog of games is still absurdly huge.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      It’s been the year of the Linux desktop for twenty years now.

      If it hasn’t happened by now it’s unlikely to happen ever.

      Linux has too many stigmas against it. Quite a few perpetuated by its own community who want it to stay an elitist thing.

      • manny says:

        Ironically, I predict China will develop linux into a decent desktop operating system, make it closed source and everybody will decide to adopt it.\

  16. Rahdulf123 says:

    How can they not get it this badly? They botched it TWICE with GfWL, original and re-launch no one cared about, and now this. Every single “we’re being serious about PC gaming” statement they’ve made has been disingenuous so far.

    • pepperfez says:

      They could take a more reasonable, liberal approach to PC gaming that would be more likely to succeed, but the payoff for absolutely dominating the platform is sufficient to be worth failing a few times in its pursuit.

  17. Solidstate89 says:

    Except by default the settings pane is actually set to “Allow Sideloading Apps.” Ever since the November update last year, it’s defaulted to that option. Absolutely nothing is required by the end user. Not to mention the claim that MS will just take it away is nothing but fear mongering. The reason that option even exists is to make it easier for UWP developers.

    Frankly, if you feel like UWP is a problem then don’t use it. It still limits you in terms of performance and options due to the sandboxed nature of the platform and the APIs that are available. I’d prefer it if game devs of “conventional” games would stick to .exe instead of .appx.

    • Czrly says:

      I haven’t heard of any features that are exclusive to UWP that are in any way useful – certainly not useful to games. What are these features that are only available to UWP stuff?

      I know that side-loading is enabled by default but, personally, I stay well away from UWP because Microsoft could change that policy in the future. It would hurt them but it wouldn’t kill them. They could never stop plain old executable programmes from running or shackle those to their store. That move would certainly doom them because Windows derives its strength from the vast history of legacy applications that still run on the platform, much like PC gaming which holds the vast back-catalog as one of its greatest strengths.

  18. Masked Dave says:

    The specific problem here is that Microsoft’s shiny new “Universal Windows Platform” is locked down, and by default it’s impossible to download UWP apps from the websites of publishers and developers, to install them, update them, and conduct commerce in them outside of the Windows Store.

    The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. We continue to make improvements for developers; for example, in the Windows 10 November Update, we enabled people to easily side-load apps by default, with no UX required.

    So the “specific” issue Tim Sweeny had has already been addressed and resolved by Microsoft… how is this even a story?

    • Unsheep says:

      Because if its not Microsoft, its Nintendo, Konami, EA or Ubisoft.
      Let’s spin the wheel and see who comes up next.

      Plus its Sweeney, dude is famous, and deservedly so.

    • bill says:

      Because we’re still talking about “side loading” pc software?

      I mean, you could say android “is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. ” and allows users to side-load.
      But I wonder what percentage of users in the west ever get apps from anywhere other than the google play store.

      Which is what MS is relying on.

      TBH, I’m surprised the EU hasn’t gone after Apple/Google for their store monopolies – they seem much worse than the Internet Explorer “monopoly” that MS got in trouble for a few years back.
      And if they’re allowed to get away with it, why wouldn’t MS?

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Google is actually in an odd place because Android is fully open to phone manufacturers and vendors adding their own stores.

        For example the Amazon tablets do not have the play store installed and you have to sideload it.

        Im just not sure if they can be considered a monopoly when the issue revolves around other app stores just not existing outside of Amazon and a couple vendor ones.

        Apple however definitely has a monopoly.

        • pepperfez says:

          A serious of local monopolies is better than one global monopoly, but it’s still pretty rubbish.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          You seem to be getting AOSP and Android confused.

          AOSP is the Android kernel open sourced minus the Google Play services. Amazon uses this, not Android. Now for the past few versions of Android, Google has been doing something similar to Microsoft in that it’s gone modular. Things like messaging and telephone calls are handled by Google Play apps and not the OS itself. That means the built in services are not improved and the AOSP builds don’t get any upgrades for them.

          You can only use the Google Play services if you use Android and that comes with it’s own restrictions on preinstalled apps, competing services and their placement on the front screen.

          Android is this weird closed environment built on open source software with obligations.

    • Emeraude says:

      It’s been addressed *if* you think you can trust Microsoft not to try and brute-force its way later on when that set up is so perfectly engineered for it to happen.

      But then Microsoft has been bleeding trust for the better part of its existence now.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Yes, Microsoft – the same company who had over a decade of DOJ oversight just from bundling IE – I’m sure will definitely close off any ability to install applications from a third party source.

        That’s definitely not something that will get them sued by every major government entity in the world.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          And they’re going to completely burn their business world clients when the proprietary software used by said clients is suddenly locked out.

          This is just a repeat of Gaben’s Windows 8 fearmongering (which obviously was part of marketing the steamboxes) from a company that has started locking its own products through a proprietary launcher/DRM scheme.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            All of Steam’s DRM features are 100% optional and up to the developer to implement. There are quite a few games that I can copy from their Steam folder and just run normally like they’re a GoG game or otherwise DRM-free.

            Yes, it’s not everything and it’s not a general principle. Most games on Steam at least check if Steam is running. But Microsoft and Apple “apps” don’t work the same way. Apps are called that not because it’s just a synonym for application (anymore) but because they are distinct from regular programs and are tied to their respective App Stores. If you sell your game through Steam, you don’t have to implement any copy protection. Apps have mandatory authentication, Steam doesn’t.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            I was actually talking about Epic who now are making all of their games exclusive through “epic launcher”

          • Emeraude says:

            All of Steam’s DRM features are 100% optional and up to the developer to implement.

            Just because Valve washes its hands of the responsibility of the tech it grants doesn’t magically make them not the provider of said tech.

            Not to mention, Steam’s success has been majorly the product of its origin as a DRM scheme and the captured audience that was acquired through that mean.
            So yeah, nice of them to say they don’t think the DRM tech is necessary after they profited handsomely from its use, all while still providing it to others, but I must there’s a lingering crocodile tear’s aftertaste here.

        • Emeraude says:

          All that being well and good, but totally unrelated to the issue of whether people trust MS or not.

          Just because MS would be shooting themselves in the foot if the gun was fired doesn’t mean anyone would trust them with said gun being pointed their way.

  19. Unsheep says:

    Too much ‘could’ and ‘if’: Microsoft ‘could’ do this, ‘if’ Microsoft did that. He makes too many assumptions and reaches some rather extreme conclusions.

    Granted, Microsoft lacks serious credibility with PC gamers after their previous half-assed fiascoes.

    Yet, offering a discount for developers who sell through the Windows 10 store is not unethical as long as it is optional, the developer and retailer could both stand to gain from this.

    Its good that Sweeney talks about this though, like any multinational company Microsoft will try to get away with whatever it can, and consumer awareness is the best way of combating anti-consumerism and monopolistic aspirations. Because let’s face it, every game distributor would love to be a monopoly.

  20. bill says:

    MS have been trying to do this since Windows ME… fortunately for us they’ve never done a good job of it.

    Unfortunately for us, we now live in an era of proprietary app stores on Apple and Android phones, and so consumers are much more likely to accept a proprietary app store on PC.

    It seems like UWP apps are basically following the mobile paradigm, which means that we get much less control over how to run them. AFAIK we can’t run them with command line arguments, for example.

    If enough consumers and companies get on board with it, it does have the potential to completely change the way pc software works.

    • silentdan says:

      “it does have the potential to completely change the way pc software works” … by inconveniencing enough people to the point where casual piracy will skyrocket.

      In the Dark Times, before Steam, I pirated games purely because it was cold outside and I didn’t want to make an hour-long trek to a shop. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the hassle. Microsoft may not realize this.

  21. Laurentius says:

    This is of course terrible but in broader picture there is something I don’t understand about this corporate capitalism of XXI century. This constant need for growth. When lack of it, even what it is in fact super healthy revenue is considered a failure. In result, this pursue of growth pits corporations against each other (i.e. M$ vs. Valve and other devs and publishers), even when outcome is unclear, costs and usage of resources is very high and for someone like me, everything screams that more conciliatory course would be more beneficent.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      Agreed. The obsession with growth is quite unsettling and it’s everywhere in tech. The problem with having shareholders and not patrons.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      This is just how capitalism works. And I don’t really see any opportunities for it to evolve to a more sustainable system, at this point it will probably just collapse under its own weight…

  22. fredtoy says:

    Tim Sweeney’s opinion is not so different to what Gabe Newell said in 2012 about Windows 8.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Same reasons, same encroachment. It’s been bleeding obvious for years that Microsoft have been itching to get a mobile-like cut-of-all-sales ecosystem onto the desktop. They’ve just been flailing around as to how, and it remains in question how long ye olde desktop Windows as we know it will survive.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        It will survive a long time fortunately.

        The biggest thing that keeps Windows ahead of competition is legacy software support (which varies wildly between Linux distros and doesn’t exist to nearly the same extent on Apple due to the PowerPC architecture they used to use.) In fact that legacy support is what causes a lot of the security issues on Windows.

        Microsoft is quite limited in what they can actually lock down without angering the vast majority of their customers which are on the corporate side.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Microsoft do more to clamp down legacy applications than you might think, really. Non-64 bit, non-elevated applications get a virtualized, private view of the registry and system folders, for example, so they can run restricted but still think they’re getting full permissions. (So long as you don’t turn UAC off, anyway. Which anyone who suffered Vista does religiously. They really should have ripped that option out of 7.)

          I’ll curse some of their product direction, business practices, and stances on topics like DRM to hell, but dang if some of the devs working under their roof haven’t done the hard work to try to claw free from the sins of their predecessors (or younger selves).

          Apple actually handled the PowerPC (and 64-bit) transitions pretty darn seamlessly. Their weak long-term backwards compatability seems to be cultural: they’ve manged to get a userbase that’s used to rebuying new versions, so third-party developers and Apple alike just merrily throw compatability or support for anything past a release or two out the window.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Sigh. Case in point: dusting off and running Steam on the Mac just autoupdated to a version that just crashes on launch. At least FTL still works when dug out of SteamApps.

  23. amcathlan says:

    Sic semper tyrannis

  24. Asami says:

    The solution?
    Develop for Vulkan and let DX12 be the neglected platform.
    Release your games across both Windows and Linux.

    Watch Microsoft crap its pants when it realizes how sick of its crap people really are and how quickly they abandon it when there’s a better option.

    • Jay Load says:

      I would honestly and genuinely love to see this happening. I’d never heard of Vulkan before now. However, as an AMD/OpenGL derived API, what are the actual chances of take-up? I worry this will be a clever ‘also-ran’, like the aforementioned.

      Although I note with interest that The Talos Principle has a renderer coded to work with it.

      • hooby says:

        Vulkan only released a very short time ago. It’s pretty much still brand-new.

        Vulkan is run by the Khrono group – the same guys who run OpenGL, and offers the same performance advantages as DX12 and Metal do, but runs on an uncredibly broad range of hardware and OSes. It runs pretty much everywhere except Xbox. It would run on Xbox too, but MS won’t allow installing it there.

        Vulkan also includes SpirV – which should help greatly reduce driver problems – by making driver development way easier. That should also lead to higher quality drivers across all platforms.

        AMD donated the source code of their Mantle project to Khronos, and they used that as a basis for Vulkan – but developed it further and kicked out all AMD-specific stuff.

        Unreal Engine will support Vulkan. Crytek will support Vulkan. Source Engine will support Vulkan. Unity will support Vulkan. I’m pretty sure that all large multiplatform Engines will support Vulkan.

        MS is of course going to fight Vulkan with everything they have (like they always have been subduing OpenGL), as it’s not only a direct competitor to DX12 – but also would reduce the amount of Windows-only games, weakening their user lock-in.

        But Vulkan nevertheless has great potential to strike it big. If it’s not held back by technical shortcomings – if it’s good – it totally could overtake DX12 – or at the least become some serious competition – spurring MS to make DX even better.

        I really hope that Vulkan turns out really good.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          “It would run on Xbox too, but MS won’t allow installing it there.”

          That’s hilarious! I wonder how many games for PS4 and Mac and PC and Linux are going to be exiled from MS’s tiny little irrelevant island because of that decision?

          • hooby says:

            Well, I’m assuming they won’t allow it – based on the fact that they never allowed OpenGL on Xbox either.

            Xbox always has been pure 100% Microsoft DirectX only. I’d be (positively) surprised, if Vulkan changed that.

            But I honestly don’t think it will hurt the Xbox to any noticeable degree. Not allowing OpenGL didn’t much hurt it either.

            All the multiplatform engines are going to support DX12 as well as Vulkan – so games can run in DX12 on Xbox and Win10 PC, and in Vulkan pretty much everywhere else.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            None, because the Xbox has never supported OpenGL. Even the PS4 doesn’t really use the entire OpenGL stack. They use a portion of it and some home-grown low-level API that Sony made for the Playstation system.

        • LionsPhil says:

          (like they always have been subduing OpenGL)

          Humorous footnote: Win95 actually promoted OpenGL as a feature (and its 3D screensavers boasted it: default text in 3D Text, a couple of images in 3D Maze [which, ironically, I think was software raycast]). They hadn’t finished buying up and adopting what would be Direct3D until ’96.

          Probably would have saved a lot of headaches if they hadn’t. I’m not sure this is a case where the competition was actually necessary for the progress.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      It’s very unlikely to happen.

      Too much games development uses visual studio nowadays which makes directx the easiest implementation.

      Vulcan and Mantle are interesting ideas but I suspect both will remain relatively niche and mostly used by indies as opengl is today.

      • Emeraude says:

        Which saddens me, I would love for PC gaming to become OS agnostic by default.

        Does look as unlikely today as it has for while now. Though things *are* getting better.

  25. slerbal says:

    Good. I’m glad to see people calling attention to Microsoft’s plan to try and strangle us all. I use a PC because I like to create things, not just consume things.

  26. prkl says:

    I don’t read into this as bad as Sweeney does, but I see the problems and worry of them. To my mind this is Microsoft’s take on uPlay/Origin/Steam, except they are going with even more locked down system. The most interesting thing is probably, that Microsoft is ending Xbox exclusives and probably bringing all their games to Windows with this. Probably.
    The second and most worrying is this part:
    “Sweeney’s issue is that to use the platform and certain other Windows features, you must sell your product through the Windows store – and thus give Microsoft 30% of your revenue.”
    Could this mean features of directx or worse even? Nobody in their right mind would never use any of it… Eventually, in their wildest dreams, they COULD lock down the whole windows and turn it into a “mobile os”, but I see that very hard to achieve.
    Tek Syndicate made an interesting “Rant30” about this: link to youtube.com

    • Solidstate89 says:

      There’s nothing about UWP that restricts access to the Direct3D APIs. If anything you have less access to them than a regular Win32 application.

      UWP is meant to replace and “modernize” Win32, but Win32 is still far more flexible. The benefits he’s referring to is being able to target the Xbox and Windows 10 at the same time with little code rewrite due to the nature of how Universal Apps are developed.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      As noted above Microsoft has made it clear games do not need to be exclusive to Microsoft’s store, just available through it.

      • thedosbox says:

        As noted above Microsoft has made it clear games do not need to be exclusive to Microsoft’s store, just available through it.

        Read the article again:

        Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, which makes certain Windows 10 features only available to developers who agree to sell their game via the official Windows Store

        In other words, if you use certain features (DX12?) then you have to sell it through the Window store. That’s what Sweeney is railing against.

        • Solidstate89 says:

          The only “features” it limits are those that come with Windows 10 UWP. I know that’s tautological, but DX12 is not exclusive to UWP and I don’t know why people think that. How many benchmarks have we seen so far for DX12 that are of course still using the ‘ole Win32 API set?

          The features he’s referring to at Store integration, automatic application backups through the Store (this is what Steam is for on the Win32 side, but if you download the application stand-alone, you don’t get this benefit).

          None of the features refer to the performance or capabilities of the game itself, and everything to do with porting the game between Windows 10 and Xbox One.

        • prkl says:

          Yes, totally SPECULATION on my part. What I’m saying is that I could see certain features of directx (or other microsoft/windows specific features) “locked behind” UWP, which would mean, if you want total compability with windows, you’d be “forced” to use UWP.

          • Solidstate89 says:

            Yes, and Cthulhu might rise up and slay us all tomorrow. They want as many people using their APIs as humanly possible. That means letting as many Windows devs access them as humanly possible across both UWP and Win32. Hell, even Win32 apps can access some otherwise new APIs that you would think would be restricted to UWP – like accessing the notification center.

          • prkl says:

            That’s what I said too. “Nobody would use it”, “very hard to achieve”… It’ll Probably be another failed attempt at gfwl…
            Will developers have to use uwp to release on xbone? That would mean UWP could easily gain popularity even when it’s a bad system to begin with.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          You need to read it again.

          You have to sell it through the store but not EXCLUSIVELY through the store which is exactly what I said.

          UWP apps can be available from multiple storefronts.

          • RobF says:

            But I don’t want Microsoft to ever get a penny of anything I make from my videogames, right?

            I mean, that’s the thing here, or at least one of quite a few things. Microsoft get a mandatory cut of at least some of the sales of my videogames if I use UWP. I *have* to use their store. That -alone- flies in the face of an open system and what we’re used to on PC.

            That also means they get a say in what is and isn’t allowed to sell because they’ll require approval to show on their store. I don’t want Microsoft to get a say, either.

            That we’re talking ‘sideloading’ games onto Windows without hesitating and going “ehhhhh?” is baffling too. Do you sideload games onto your PC often? Or do you just download and run them because that’s the whole point of this thing we use. At this point, Apple do it, Google do it, I don’t care! The PC does not, traditionally, normally, usually, do this.

            It’s a long game they’re playing here. And the main reason they can get away with slowly chipping away at what Windows fundamentally is, is because no-one believes they’d ever really do that, it’d destroy them! That’s normal human being logic, corporations very often do not run on anything resembling that. Look at how Twitter is perfectly willing to destroy Twitter and thousands of companies before them have changed direction and screwed it similarly.

            But more than that, they’ve never made any bones about wanting to do anything else in recent years. That they keep hitting brick walls is, thankfully, the only thing that’s stopped them going all in. But they’ve never changed course either, not really. They’ve slowed, sidestepped and approached from different angles but the long term goal of having Windows be the thing you use on your television, your phone and your PC is still the same one. UWP is the step towards that and UWP having a foothold depends entirely on making the desktop go away else why use it? Why bother when Desktop exists?

            That they’re fucking it up constantly is our great consolation. But this, genuinely, does need fighting because Valve and Epic are right here. It is an existential threat. Whichever way it lands, Microsoft carry on chipping away and fuck it up because no-one wants it or Microsoft convert more and more people over to UWP so it becomes the standard, we lose out on a piece of what we have as our normal.

            The sooner we say no to all this, the less damage gets done.

  27. harcalion says:

    I am also thinking this rant by Tim Sweeney could have several reasons:
    – One of the first games is formerly Epic’s Gears of War. The first game was ported to PC by People Can Fly, published by Epic. Epic forgot or didn’t want to update a code signing certificate and the game stopped working (I have read somewhere that this was GfWL’s fault… It wasn’t).
    – Epic right now is a game engine plus free-to-play games provider. Both business models are affected if PC devs have to pay 30% to Microsoft and royalties to Epic. Also selling hats through the Windows Store would be subject to the 30%. Many are perfectly happy selling them through Steam, and I am yet to know how to side-load games on Steam.

    In the end this is not about freedom or tech, it is about the money.

    • Emeraude says:

      The purity of any individual actor’s intentions matters less than the end result of our collective actions being better for us than the alternatives though.

  28. anHorse says:

    “Boy there’s a lot of comments I wonder why”

    Oh it’s almost all about fucking linux rather than the article

  29. a very affectionate parrot says:

    Every time I nearly get excited about an xbone port I remember it’s saddled with pointless windows 10 exclusivity.

  30. w0bbl3r says:

    People being gullible as they are, they see something claiming to be “free”, and as gamers they see “ooh shiny directx12”, and they flock to install this garbage.
    MS have played a genius move here to grab the PC market by the balls and make sure to control every single pube stuck to them.

  31. C0llic says:

    I believe these kind of shenanigans are why steam started to make a concerted effort to support OSX and linux. Gabe Newell predicted this kind of nonsense when windows 8 came out, and said as much quite publicly. Like or hate Valve, they are smart people (Gabe is an ex employee) and I’m glad they made steam and not another company.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      Except that fear mongering from Gave never actually came to pass and it still hasn’t.

      • C0llic says:

        You’re right, it hasn’t, but it’s a very good thing that the biggest electronic PC games distributor is at least somewhat prepared. I hope it doesn’t of course, but you can be sure i would if MS thought they could get away with it.

        • C0llic says:

          It’s also worth pointing out that Windows 8 was a hugely unpopular OS. So it’s hardly a surprise that if they did have any nefarious plans, none of them have come to pass. The only way to keep a company like MS in line is to never stop watching out for this kind of bullshit.

        • Solidstate89 says:

          They absolutely know they could never get away with it, and everyone at MS is damn well aware of it.

          The DoJ literally hovered over their shoulders for a decade or more with every single move by them having to go through the DoJ and their lawyers. All for bundling a web browser with their operating system.

          • C0llic says:

            Correct. But bringing it to light is how you stop it and I don’t think your example is a one to one comparison really. There are closed storefronts in personal computing, like the apple store, and I don’t see them fighting their business model in the European courts.

            Something like this can become a defacto thing if enough big publishers get on board. That’s why its so important to talk about it before that happens. I’d rather listen to some angry hyperbole than suffer the possible alternative if people turn a blind eye and say nothing.

  32. teamcharlie says:

    In principle, I’m a little disappointed in Microsoft. Not that this is an interestingly mean move, but more that this is just one more way to drive people away from developing for the PC.

    In practice, unless I hear about some actually useful feature that’s also been arbitrarily crippled, I don’t really care whether devs can easily release a shitty mobile game on Windows 10 or not.

  33. Greg Wild says:

    heh. Funny really, the rest of the MS world is moving emphatically towards open-source and yet their gaming division remains steadfastly closed.

  34. deadly.by.design says:

    Everyone’s busy making arguments, and I’m just sitting here wondering how people can apply the word “toxic” to a platform of ecosystem.

    Sure, platforms can be better or lesser, relatively closed or open, but toxic? Now we’re just throwing words around out of spite.

    • C0llic says:

      Well, you can definitely make the argument that a closed system is toxic to PC gaming as we currently know it. It’s a polar opposite, and if it did happen, this hobby of ours would become a lot less interesting. That’s enough for people to talk about this loudly, and I completely endorse that.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        A closed system saved PC gaming. Windows as an OS is “open” but Steam is a closed system that you lease games from.

        PC gaming isn’t a single ecosystem. It’s a loose grouping of walled gardens and open playing fields. Microsoft is just adding an extra boutique store to the mix.

        • Emeraude says:

          I personally would argue Steam fed off the PC platform’s natural vitality in a parasitic way more than it saved it – I wouldn’t even dare call the relationship symbiotic.

  35. Unsheep says:

    Also, is it a surprise that he launches this attack when Paragon is soon to be launched, and another big MMO – Blade & Souls – has just been released ?!

  36. MadTinkerer says:

    It doesn’t matter because I have Windows 7, I am never upgrading to Windows 10 for any reason, and if I buy a machine with Windows 10 on it, I will install a copy of Windows 7 onto it. If Microsoft decide to sabotage Windows 7 (which they never will, because other large companies that still use Win7 to run regular business applications would sue Microsoft into oblivion if they did)… Well, I really do need to learn how to use Linux anyway.

  37. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Ha, ha…The Guardian!
    The Guardian in general and Charles Arthur in particular has turned its tech sections into one long pean to Apple, its methods and products.
    And it gleefully publishes an attack on a company that is introducing a massively more open store system?
    I don’t like Microsoft but the hypocrisy is stunning.

    Everyone, look at what the overwhelming majority of you are playing on and with tonight. Look at the reality.

    Be vigilant (no multi-national has your sorry arse as its main concern) but don’t believe the hype.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      Thank you for writing that, I needed to read something a bit rational in this comments section.

  38. mattevansc3 says:

    I wish people would be as critical of anti-Microsoft articles as they were in Microsoft announcements.

    There is a considerable amount of inaccuracies in Sweeny’s article so either he doesn’t understand the subject matter he’s discussing or he’s being deliberately deceitful.

    UWPs encompass a few things. They are apps written in a coding language that targets multiple architectures, screen sizes and input types. The whole point of UWP is that you don’t have to create different apps for tablets, phones and PCs. It’s one program with multiple UIs. UWPs are also designed to make use of Win10 specific features like Continuum and Cortana integration.

    The Win10 store has benefits for both customers and developers/publishers. The store will tell you if your device is supported before you purchase it. Regardless of device your library goes with you and it ensures your program is up to date. If there’s a malicious program or the program contains malicious code (like Spintires supposedly did) it can be removed from the app store (like Valve removed Spintires from Steam).

    Likewise for devs it easier to control pirated or cloned UWPs because you just have to ask the gate keeper to remove it.

    The simple fact is that UWP is a general purpose code, it’s not just for games. Some of Sweeny’s criticisms are positives. Does Adobe want you to be able to sideload a hacked version of Premier with all the paid for plug ins already plugged in? Would Netflix be happy with you modifying their app to include a VPN? Would enterprise customers be impressed that employees could just sideload apps sourced from some unverified, dodgy site?

    PC games aren’t Microsoft’s only customers and they have to do what they feel is best for their wider customer base.

    Then there’s Sweeney’s talk about Microsoft going against the “entire PC industry”. The PC gaming industry is really split into two camps. Games as a service (Steam, Origin, uPlay and Blizzard’s service) and Games as a product (GoG and the various humble bundles). Of the big players GoG is the only one that treats games as a product, the wider industry treats games as a service.

    You don’t buy games from Steam, you buy a license to use that game on their service. If a developer wants to integrate Valve’s services into it’s game then the game can only become available from Steam. You can buy a license from anywhere but you have to download it via Steam. A dev can release their game on GoG as well but they need to replace Steamworks. Valve, EA, Ubisoft and Blizzard have all at one stage revoked a paying customer’s ability to use their service.

    UWP is no different to Steamworks in that regard. Both require the store front to work. Both are “closed” platforms and both allow the devs to release their games elsewhere, of course without the benefits (and negatives) of that platform. Microsoft and UWP isn’t going against the industry, it’s following the industry’s lead.

    Sweeney’s doomsday Op-Ed also completely ignores the fact that not only Microsoft built in porting tools into it’s development software but Microsoft has been buying cross platform/porting development tools like Xamarin. You don’t have to build a app for UWP from the ground up, you can import in .exe code. You can write your program and output it into UWP, .exe as well as Android and iOS compatible files. Far from restricting development to UWP, Microsoft is actively pushing multiplatform development.

    Also regardless of how much Microsoft may push it’s store the second it does anything to limit Valve or EA’s business then the anti-trust suits will be pouring in.

    • Emeraude says:

      Interestingly, I see no real benefits for customers in anything you listed here, only for developers/publishers.

      Something a lot of us have been thinking for a while now, and I think is being confirmed by win10: end users are *not* Microsoft’s customers. Other companies are. Users are the product.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        So not having to individually update every app is not beneficial to the end user?

        Having a storefront where you can have access to a wide range of free software without having to scour the internet, worry about annoying pop ups or virus scanning your downloads is not beneficial to the customer?

        Not worrying about backing up your .exe’s as they are added to your account and available on every device you own isn’t beneficial to the end user?

        Having your app data automatically back up to your online storage so if you need to reinstall your OS or app you reinstall your data is not beneficial to the end user?

        Just because things don’t benefit you doesn’t mean those benefits don’t exist.

        • Emeraude says:

          I’d go so far as to say that all those things can be net *negatives* depending on the infrastructure behind them, because of externalities.

          But yeah, I do stand by my position, all those are benefits to developers/publishers more than end users.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            Yet those are still the benefits of the leading game distribution service on PC and are some of the most regularly requested features for new game distribution services.

            GoG had to release a stand alone program who’s core purpose is to sell GoG games, download GoG bought games, keep them updated and offer cloud saves based off consumer demand.

            If the Windows Store’s benefits weren’t beneficial to end users then why do they keep requesting them on other services?

  39. racccoon says:

    The predator & reason why Microsoft are doing what they are is the forceable nature of STEAM!
    STEAM has taken away the freedom of choice for the PC player & is also trying to use this platform to take pc players away that are attached & addicted to their stupid tool for their copy n pasted console system.
    So Microsoft has a right to fight back for the PC player, & comes up with this alternative..
    If STEAM was not such a bully & Monopolizer of the PC player gaming activities & forcing them to use their tool with their heavy handed control over developers & their game releases, this would not be on the plate at all.
    SO BLAME IT ON STEAM! As STEAM SUCKS! PC RULES!
    SO STEAM GO SUCK A EGG SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    • kud13 says:

      what is this I don’t even….

      Look, I’m as exasperated by Steam as the next guy (I religiously re-buy pretty much anything AAA I have on Steam that comes to GoG), but Valve and M$oft are nowhere near the same weight category.

      M$oft genuinely has the market pull to make PC gaming without them difficult. Valve, for all the crap they do, don’t have near that kind of power.

  40. KastaRules says:

    Let’s all switch to Linux at the count of three! Ready?

    Yeah, me neither.

  41. Nat be at says:

    Dear Gabe: This is your 2016 wakeup call. If you aren’t giving us halflife3 How about cough up that operating system you talked up that storm about back when windows 8 was coming out? You know the one specifcally meant to give us freedom of choice and a way to give Microsoft the middle finger before they shoved it up our collective asses and begin to wiggle it awkwardly?

  42. manny says:

    Linux sucks (that is all)

  43. Ancient Evil says:

    Oh, look, another broadside of opportunistic fear-mongering horse shit about the Windows Store. And hundreds of comments putting in their Two Minutes Hate at Microsoft’s latest atrocity against all that is decent, despite, as usual, the article containing nothing whatsoever of actual news or even analysis that amounts to anything more then an extended love letter to the slippery slope fallacy.

    I’m getting flashbacks to 2012, when Gabe Newell proclaimed with similar dramatics that the existence of the Windows 8 Store was a sure sign that Microsoft was going to kill off the desktop Any Second Now and turn Windows into a walled-garden iOS clone.

    Nothing ever came of it of course, because applying even the most rudimentary rational thought would reveal that Microsoft making such a move would be completely against their own self-interest, to the point of amounting to corporate suicide, and that even if they were somehow that masochistically irrational, regulatory bodies would tear them to shreds even before the public could even lay a finger on them.

    But this is Microsoft, I mean M$, we’re talking about here, so rational thought goes completely out the window, and even a feeble wet fart of an editorial along these lines is enough to get the PC gaming public foaming at the mouth with outrage. As well as conveniently making powerful billionaire CEOs like Newell and Sweeney look like champions for the little guy, bravely speaking Truth To Power, with nothing more than a few minutes rambling into a word processor.

    And then the commenters take it up another notch, further stoking the flames with the kind of transparent untruths that someone like Newell or Sweeney could get called out on, like the idea repeated here ad nauseam that Windows Store software must be exclusive to the Windows Store (Rise of the Tomb Raider is on Steam right now, folks. Gears of War Ultimate and Quantum Break are first-party Microsoft properties, so that’s not really any different than what EA does with Origin, Ubisoft with Uplay, or yes indeed, Valve does with Steam for that matter.).

    I’d say I’m eager for this nonsense to end, but it won’t, because it works. The websites who run these things get tons of easy clicks, and people like Newell and Sweeney get a nice fat helping of easy PR. And it’s not like virtually anyone is going to bother sticking their necks out standing up for Microsoft of all companies. So open wide, because this bullshit milkshake is going to keep moving incredible units so long as the public retains their insatiable appetite for it.

  44. Don Reba says:

    The dialogue continues: link to venturebeat.com