About four months ago, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney made headlines when he attacked Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform initiative, claiming that its closed nature would hurt independent developers. Xbox’s Phil Spencer then took to Twitter to claim that the system was actually open, something that seemed to bring Sweeney on board.
But now, the Epic Games CEO has found another bone to pick with UWP and he’s not pulling any punches. Per Game Informer, Sweeney is now claiming that Microsoft intends to use the Universal Windows Platform to eventually sabotage Valve’s Steam, aka the client almost every PC gamer currently uses to organize their library and buy most games.
According to Sweeney’s own words published in Edge magazine, Microsoft is secretly plotting to get gamers to one day purchase all of their games through the Windows Store.
“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 maneuvers.”
Sweeney goes on to state that Microsoft will use Windows 10 updates to eventually make it more and more inconvenient to use Win32 apps, theoretically making gamers less and less interested in Steam as a platform. This would obviously then make the Windows Store much more attractive as an alternative. Microsoft issued a response to Sweeney’s comments in an effort to assuage any fears:
“Tim is a respected figure in the gaming world, and we value his feedback,” the Microsoft statement reads. “As stated previously, the Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem that is available to every developer, and can be supported by any store. It’s early, and we recognize there is still work to be done, but we want to make Windows the best development platform regardless of technologies used.”
The statement doesn’t exactly fully refute Sweeney’s accusations, but it’s clear Microsoft is attempting to keep a conversation open on the issue. Still, Sweeney’s comments won’t do much to help the Redmond, WA company’s image with some PC gamers as Microsoft is clearly still struggling to get its messaging right when it comes to the platform. It will be interesting to see the direction the company chooses to take UWP after repeatedly facing scrutiny from some key developers in the industry.
Regardless of the company’s ultimate intent, it’s no secret that Microsoft is more interested in PC gaming these days. The company announced Xbox Play Anywhere at this year’s E3, a cross-buy promotion that will offer gamers who purchase select games on Xbox One a PC copy for free, and vice versa. Microsoft has also launched a new Xbox One custom controller program which is proving to be popular with some PC gamers who want a quality gamepad to use with their desktop.
Source: Edge via Game Informer