Epic Games’ co-founder Tim Sweeney is known for openly speaking against Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform, describing it as a “Microsoft-controlled distribution and commerce monopoly”. He clearly is not a fan of what Microsoft may have in store for us with Windows 10.
In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, Sweeney has directly targeted his criticisms, saying that future updates in Windows 10 may make third party applications and stores like Steam progressively worse. Here is his official statement:
“There are two programming interfaces for Windows and every app has to choose one of them.
Every Steam app – every PC game for the past few decades – has used Win32. It’s been both responsible for the vibrant software market we have now, but also for malware. Any program can be a virus. Universal Windows Platform is seen as an antidote to that. It’s sandboxed – much more locked down.
The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP, 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.”
While this entire notion may seem a little far-fetched, Sweeney believes that Microsoft has a plan for that. He goes on to say,
“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.”
Sweeney has always said that the PC had remained a vanguard of graphics innovation because of it being an open platform. The Windows Store is not exactly user friendly at the moment, and the UWP games available have compatibility issues. Not to mention a lot of apps you see on the Windows Store are just ports of Android titles. No matter what Microsoft has planned for the future, it still has a long way to go before someone starts thinking about Steam as an inferior platform when compared to the Windows Store.
However, this strategy is something that Microsoft could certainly try. Maybe that’s why Valve has been actively trying to develop a Linux based gaming ecosystem, as it is a completely open sourced platform. And maybe that’s why developers are increasingly becoming more interested in using the new multi-platform Vulkan API, instead of Microsoft’s DirectX12, even though DirectX has been dominating the market for a long time.
What are your views about this? Share with us in the comments section!
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