Epic Games Boss says Microsoft is turning the PC into a walled garden with its UWP initiative

By midian182
Mar 4, 2016
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  1. Tim Sweeney, the co-founder of Gears of War maker Epic Games, has launched a blistering attack on Microsoft over its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative. In an op-ed he penned for The Guardian, Sweeney claimed that UWP is “the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made.”

    Microsoft launched UWP as a way for developers to create apps that run on multiple types of devices, such as Windows 10-powered PCs, mobiles, tablets, and even IoT products. All UWP applications must be sold through the Windows Store where Microsoft takes a 30 percent cut.

    Sweeney says that as Microsoft has launched features exclusive to UWP, the company is "effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem.”

    "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," Sweeney said.

    Earlier this month, Xbox head Phil Spencer talked about the benefits that UWP will offer developers, especially when porting games and apps across Microsoft devices. “Our goal is to make UWP [Universal Windows Platform] the best platform for game developers and gamers to support, but we know we’ve got room to grow,” he said in an interview with PCGamer.

    But Sweeney has hit out at the company, accusing Microsoft of "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 did acknowledge that if you dig far enough into Microsoft’s “settings-burying” UI, it was possible to install UWP apps by enabling side-loading (loading onto other stores), but as this is disabled by default, Sweeney claims Microsoft is unfairly disadvantaging the competition.

    For its part, Microsoft’s vice president of Windows, Kevin Gallo, repsonded with the following statement.

    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 [user experience] required.

    Microsoft seemingly turning the PC into a walled garden isn’t going down well, and may lead to more developers publicly backing Sweeney’s views. "Unless Microsoft changes course," he says, "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."

    Sweeney’s words follow the recent outcry over revelations that Microsoft-published Quantum Break will only be available as a UWP application exclusive to Windows 10 and sold via the Windows Store. Currently, UWP app limitations include not being able to turn off V-sync, a lack SLI and Crossfire support, and no .exe file for use with Steam.

    “Universal Windows Platform can, should, must and will, die," Said Sweeney.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2016
  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 624   +147

    I don't believe microsofts claims
    gingerbill, veLa and alabama man like this.
  3. Arturo

    Arturo TS Member Posts: 81   +26

    I am not surprised. Along with Apple, M$ is the most miserable, greedy and cheating company I have ever seen. M$ should have been divided into two or more companies to stop their monopoly back in the day. But US justice didn't do it, and these are the consequences. And this is not the end of the story, because M$ will continue trying to cheat to earn more money abd power at the cost of our freedom.
  4. darkzelda

    darkzelda TS Addict Posts: 251   +86

    I think that the Windows Store should be limited to simple apps, but when you talk about AAA games, they should be available everywhere as executable files, as they've always been.
  5. umbala

    umbala TS Addict Posts: 163   +135

    I love how no one seems to care when Apple and Google do the exact SAME THING with their app stores for YEARS. But as soon as Microsoft does it, the sky is falling and the end of the world is coming. Please.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,527   +688

    It's not like both companies have not tried this before. Eventually they will force the android & unix platforms to extensively develop or we could see an entirely new operating system. No matter how they play it, there will come a time when the economic's or opportunities will drive them to revert back or suffer the loss of their primary base. Other companies and operating systems have fallen for the same reasons. CPM was THE operating season it it's day, but it tried to be too restrictive and refused to improve in the demands of their customers ... by the time they realized their mistake it was too late.
  7. umbala

    umbala TS Addict Posts: 163   +135

    PS. - I have no love for Microsoft, but I'm getting tired of all these *****ic reactions to everything they do. Every time MS does something that some dumba$$ developer or company doesn't agree with, they go on a misguided tirade about it.
    crocography, dylannnnnn and SikSlayer like this.
  8. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,249   +220

    Thankfully we have companies such as Google, Valve and the world of Open Source which are driving the technology forward, for the most part.
  9. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 861   +308

    Actually I do care, but I use no Apple products and the only Google is the search engine on the Microsoft OS.
    It doesn't help your case by adding 'the sky is falling'. That is not a description of those of us concerned
    gingerbill and Ziffel like this.
  10. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Enthusiast Posts: 75   +39

    Perhaps that UWP will be a future anti-trust case. I hope it will if it's an abuse of MS dominant position.
  11. noc81

    noc81 TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +29

    This is ridiculous.. Nobody is being forced into anything. PC users can still install whatever 32bit apps they like, and gamers can still pop in any game disc they can buy from any source. Developers can choose to use the MS store, or they can choose not to.
    Teko03 and SikSlayer like this.
  12. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Guru Posts: 824   +249

    So Microsoft wants to take a cut of everything being developed for their own OS, after being left out in the cold for the bast 20+ years....

    Apple and Google have been smart enough to have their own app stores exclusive to their OSes for years...

    If you think that each app store should have an equal footing on every OS, so be it - but to argue that MS is evil for developing UWP is a bit misguided... they're simply copying their competitors!
    gingerbill and Teko03 like this.
  13. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,104   +533

    The difference between Windows and Apple + Google is pretty big. Windows is Windows because it does certain things that no other OS does. Game Devs. are afraid that Microsoft will force them into the windows store and I'd agree with them. From what we've seen, give Microsoft an inch and they'll take a mile. Windows isn't really the same OS anymore if you only have one place where you can get apps.
    Teko03 likes this.
  14. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Guru Posts: 736   +259

    This guy is full of it and is just another dinosaur trying to look like he's relevant today. So what if MS has a more closed off app store? Mac is currently doing it a similar way, but I don't hear him specifically complain about that too? Heck, iOS is a far worse appstore in terms of being closed off and yet nothing...

    But the thing is, UWP apps aren't meant for serious software. That will stick with the normal x86/x64 architecture and guess what? Same old. Nothing to worry about for PC's.
    gingerbill, SikSlayer and darkzelda like this.
  15. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Guru Posts: 824   +249

    So your argument is because MS is better than Apple and Google, what MS does is wrong and Google and Apple are OK?

    Every platform/OS does this by the way... can you buy a non-playstation game on the PS store? Can you buy non-nintendo software on the Nintendo store? Why are we surprised when MS sees everyone doing this and says "me too"...
    gingerbill and SikSlayer like this.
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,104   +533

    My argument wasn't that Microsoft was/is better, it's that they are different and their operating system only has the market share because of this. Pulling the rug out from under everyone isn't going to do MS any favors.

    You are listing closed platforms to open ones, apples to oranges. It's not even an argument, it's a blatantly poor comparison. You need to compare windows to other open platforms, like linux. Hey, as it turns out, linux does have a store either!
    BSim500, Sancticide and Ziffel like this.
  17. Ziffel

    Ziffel TS Booster Posts: 75   +62

    We are starting to truly realize why Windows 10 was "free".
  18. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,347   +1,944

    There's a big song & dance routine about it now but in a few short months everybody will forget about it. Everybody's seeing demons in the closet these days.
  19. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,603   +411

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  20. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,292   +55

    Downloading android apps from other than the google play store is NOT enabled by default either. I don't think you can download ANYTHING on an iphone without it going thru the apple app store whatsoever.
  21. Arturo

    Arturo TS Member Posts: 81   +26

    MS was, is and will be a bad thing. No way to change this. We need them 'for now' but we cannot love them ever. Bad intentions most of the time.
    Evernessince likes this.
  22. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,104   +533

    Yeah that seems to be the way they operate. Go as far as they can until people start complaining en mass. The problem is people don't like that. Just look at how the xbox lost it's lead in the console race. The xbox 360 was a dominant leader and now thanks to the whole DRM fiasco of the xbox one it lost that.

    How many people would back a kickstarter for an operating system that could run all microsoft windows applications and promises to focus on desktop users? I know I'd do it in a heartbeat, just to give Microsoft a run for their money.
  23. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    And I'll continue to stick to Steam and avoid everything with the Windblows store.
    gingerbill likes this.
  24. tcgirl

    tcgirl TS Rookie

    The difference with google is that it is fairly simple to enable the security function download and install apps outside of the Play store. This is a security and CYA feature. If you choose to install apps that are not approved by google then you can't sue when one of those apps hijacks your phone.

    Apple has worked to develop an all inclusive ecosystem designed for users that do not want to have to deal with the worries of security and content. All products created by 3rd parties have to meet certain requirements and guidelines to be published in the store. This keeps the user safe and their store keeps out software with "Objectionable content". For the Mac you can install 3rd party apps from an outside source if you disable the security feature preventing this. If Apple didn't have such questionable business practices I would have bought an iPhone for my son.

    With the beginning of UWP there doesn't seem to be any motive other than profit. Starting with Office 365 Microsoft seemed to be moving towards "software as a service" model offering software on a subscription basis to businesses as well as consumers. With the Windows 10 release it was pretty much confirmed that the policy moving forward is "windows as a service". Today we can still purchase Windows 10 in the traditional licensing but what they haven't specified is what the future cost of "windows as a service" will look like in the coming years.
    Evernessince likes this.
  25. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    People do care. It is these things that have kept people from migrating away from MS.
    I take it you didn't actually read the main concern.
    BSim500, Duckeenie and Evernessince like this.

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