Epic boss Tim Sweeney, lashed out against Microsoft and their Windows 10 Universal App platform, mainly because it curates and limits the freedom of what developers and publishers can do and submit to the store. Microsoft Universal App Platform is a development platform which allows developers to run single code through multiple platforms, reducing workload and increasing their reach. This also protects the end user from junkware which developers and publishers (like Adobe) loves to push to end users, the latest being McAfee Security Suite. The platform also limits the access to system resources developers have, so that when a user wishes to uninstall a product, there is no residual mess left, which slows down your PC.
“They’re curtailing users’ freedom to install full-featured PC software, and subverting the rights of developers and publishers to maintain a direct relationship with their customers.”
In the past, before Windows 10 users had to install applications directly from the web or through stores such as Steam. With Windows 10, they offer the end user a safe and effective way to access products. But according to Tim Sweeney, Microsoft is ‘aggressively’ pushing to monopolize the development platform for games and other products (regardless of the fact that one of the most popular gaming development platforms is not owned by Microsoft, and that Windows fully supports non-Microsoft API’s such as Vulkan)
“effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem”
Currently on Windows 10 you can use competing stores such as Origin, Steam and Uplay. GOG has become quite popular after gamer’s moved away from the draconian DRM imposed by Steam, as they would like to own (and distribute) their games. Microsoft is effectively offering their store (much like the most popular online app store on iOS) to developers to sell their products without the fear of piracy.
“In my view, 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. Gamer’s, 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.”
Epic boss raised his concerns to Microsoft and Phil Spencer before, and according to him Microsoft ignored his cries and continued to push for their platform. Games like Gears of War: Ultimate, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break all launching in the Windows 10 store have been met with success. Consumers in the end prefer easier to use distribution channels, unlike the rather antiquated distribution models companies like Adobe and EA uses, by forcing gamer’s and users to download several different stores/applications just to access content.
In my opinion it’s not the fact that Microsoft is trying to ‘limit the freedom of developers and users’, it’s the pure and simple fact that developers and publishers have inundated our computers with crapware that eat up resources and serves no purpose than to be a gateway to spyware and viruses. I for one applaud Microsoft for pursuing a unified store where consumers can buy with confidence knowing that some ‘developer’ won’t decide to install Chrome on your PC, because Google paid him a few million. And him using Adobe and others as an example just proves my point.
Microsoft responded to Eurogamer with:
- 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.