Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney launched a scathing attack on Microsoft and its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) back in March. Sweeney argued that Microsoft is turning the PC into a walled garden and that game developers must fight against it. In a new interview with Edge magazine, Sweeney goes into detail about his fears that Microsoft wants to make old desktop games and Steam inconvenient to use and position the Windows Store as the only source for new titles.
“Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken,” says Sweeney. “They’ll never completely break it, but will continue to break it until, in five years, people are so fed up that Steam is buggy that the Windows Store seems like an ideal alternative. That’s exactly what they did to their previous competitors in other areas.”
SWEENEY THINKS MICROSOFT IS TAKING SMALL STEPS TOWARD KILLING DESKTOP PC GAMES
Sweeney admits that Microsoft is trying to mimic Apple’s software distribution model, but in small steps. Microsoft has been building its UWP effort to create universal apps and games that run across all devices from PCs, to tablets, phones, the Xbox One, and even the HoloLens headset. A number of games published by Microsoft Studios are now starting to show up exclusively in the Windows Store, with titles like Quantum Break not available on Steam.
Some of Sweeney’s concerns seem like genuine issues Microsoft needs to address, especially the ability for game developers to distribute UWP apps separate from the Windows Store. While Sweeney thinks Microsoft will intentionally break Steam, it seems highly unlikely that Microsoft would want to further damage its Windows platform by driving dedicated PC gamers over to any rival platform.