Epic Games' Tim Sweeney Is Warning Of Microsoft's Closed Gaming Ecosystem

Written by Michael Larabel in Microsoft on 4 March 2016 at 08:15 AM EST. 45 Comments
Epic Games' Tim Sweeny has written a lengthy op-ed coming out against Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) effort that would close up the Windows gaming ecosystem as "a closed platform-within-a-platform into Windows 10."

UWP has been around since Windows 8 as the Windows Runtime and it's explained in more detail via Microsoft's MSDN for those interested. This has been generating news this week for potentially unifying Xbox One and PC game development along with other form factors while also imposing other limitations for developers. The direction being headed in by Microsoft is what Gabe Newell of Valve has been scared of for years and was among the reasons Valve started becoming more interested in Linux and developing what would become SteamOS due to the foundation laid by Windows 8 and the Windows Store.

Tim Sweeney of Epic Games has come out today in an op-ed for The Guardian to warn about Microsoft wanting to monopolize game development on the PC and that game developers must fight UWP.

UWP applications are locked down, not easily available outside of the Microsoft Store, etc. The solution sought after by Sweeney is that any PC Windows user should be able to download/install UWP applications from the web, any company should have the right to operate an app/game store in UWP format, and that Microsoft should not take a cut of any in-app commerce.

Sweeney commented, "if Microsoft does not commit to opening PC UWP up in the manner described here, then PC UWP can, should, must and will, die as a result of industry backlash. Gamers, developers, publishers simply cannot trust the PC UWP “platform” so long as Microsoft gives evasive, ambiguous and sneaky answers to questions about UWP’s future, as if it’s a PR issue. This isn’t a PR issue, it’s an existential issue for Microsoft, a first-class determinant of Microsoft’s future role in the world."

The well known game developer concluded his piece with, "Microsoft’s intentions must be judged by Microsoft’s actions, not Microsoft’s words. Their actions speak plainly enough: they are working to turn today’s open PC ecosystem into a closed, Microsoft-controlled distribution and commerce monopoly, over time, in a series of steps of which we’re seeing the very first. Unless Microsoft changes course, all of the independent companies comprising the PC ecosystem have a decision to make: to oppose this, or cede control of their existing customer relationships and commerce to Microsoft’s exclusive control."

Read more at The Guardian.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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