“Microsoft is looking to dominate the games industry ecosystem with its aggressive new UWP initiative. Developers must oppose this, or else cede control of their titles.”
Tim Sweeney, CEO and Co-Founder of Epic Games, has penned an editorial for The Guardian, which you’ll find linked in the source of this post.
The op-ed comes in response to Microsoft’s most recent set of Xbox One and PC gaming announcements. We dove into the whole thing pretty hard here with an editorial, but the general gist is that Xbox One games and Windows 10 games will straddle the same Windows 10 marketplace. They’ll be Universal Windows Apps, and part of the Universal Windows Platform initiative.
Xbox One games will work on the console and on Windows 10, but they’ll be exclusive to the Windows store and locked down by Microsoft. That’s where Sweeney’s complaints start.
My view is that bundling is a valuable practice that benefits users, and my criticism is limited to Microsoft structuring its operating system to advantage its own store while unfairly disadvantaging competing app stores, as well as developers and publishers who distribute games directly to their customers.
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.
Sweeney’s advocating for an “open PC ecosystem” here, pointing to the likes of Valve, Blizzard, Riot and EA for doing this the right way. Then he hits Microsoft.
Microsoft’s situation, however, is an embarrassment. Seven months after the launch of Windows Store alongside Windows 10, the place remains devoid of the top third-party games and signature applications that define the PC experience. Where’s Photoshop? Grand Theft Auto V? Fifa 2016? There are some PC ports of what were great mobile games, and some weirder things, such as the Windows 10 port of the Android port of the PC version of Grand Theft Auto from 2004.
But the good PC stuff isn’t there, with the exception of Microsoft’s own software products. Does Microsoft really think that independent PC developers and publishers, who cherish their freedom and their direct customer relationships, are going to sign up for this current UWP fiasco?
Then he wraps it all up with a pretty harsh accusation regarding Microsoft’s apparent attempt to close today’s open PC ecosystem.
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.
Do you think Sweeney’s exaggerating here? Or, is Microsoft really trying to establish a walled garden and control PC gaming? Will they even succeed?