Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney has criticized Microsoft’s plans for PC gaming and its Universal Windows Platform.
Xbox division head Phil Spencer outlined the company’s plans for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) a few days ago. Phil explained that he wants future Windows based game development to all be cross-platform between Xbox and PC, and they will make this happen with UWP. Games that are built on UWP will run on both Xbox One and Windows.
Tim’s argument is simple. Microsoft is offering additional features for games on the Universal Windows Platform that developers can’t avail of otherwise. In Tim’s own words, this is:
an apparent step towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem and monopolising app distribution and commerce
Tim explains further that he is not opposed to Windows having their own storefront. However, he opposes Microsoft using a locked-down platform. UWP games will not be available to download, use, sell, update, and conduct commerce with outside the Windows Store. Tim says that even if Microsoft offers an ability to sideload UWP applications, they will make this process prohibitively difficult. In this way, Microsoft will limit how consumers and game developers can use UWP, to Microsoft’s advantage.
Tim outlined several things Microsoft can do to open up UWP:
- Allow Windows users to download and install UWP applications from the web freely
- Allow any entity to operate stores that sell UWP applications
- Allow users, developers, and publishers freedom to do business with each other without Microsoft intervention
Tim ends his statement by pointing out he has already been talking to Microsoft and Phil Spencer about this behind the scenes, and hoped they would not go through with it. He is speaking out now as a major player in Microsoft development, and hopes they change plans in the future.
You can read Tim’s statement in full here. Tim Sweeney has not been shy to speak his mind before. In previous years, he’s made claims free-to-play would become inevitable in console games, and that CG graphics would become indistinguishable from real life.