Epic Games Co-founder Thinks Microsoft Is Locking Down PC Ecosystem With Universal Windows Apps

Gears of War Ultimate Edition Windows Store

Tim Sweeney, the co-founder of Epic Games, creator of the Gears of War series of Xbox and PC titles today published an article on Guardian regarding Universal Windows Apps and Windows Store. Tim thinks that Universal Windows Platform on Windows 10 as the first apparent step by Microsoft towards locking down the consumer PC ecosystem and monopolising app distribution and commerce.

Here, Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games.

Microsoft has launched new PC Windows features exclusively in UWP, and 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.

Tim’s argument is that Microsoft is structuring its operating system to advantage its own Windows store while unfairly disadvantaging competing app stores, as well as developers and publishers who distribute games directly to their customers. If a developer has a Universal Windows App, he can distribute it only via Windows Store.

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.

It’s true that if you dig far enough into Microsoft’s settings-burying UI, you can find a way to install these apps by enabling “side-loading”. But in turning this off by default, Microsoft is unfairly disadvantaging the competition.

He also proposed the following solution for Microsoft to avoid this situation.

  • That any PC Windows user can download and install a UWP application from the web, just as we can do now with win32 applications. No new hassle, no insidious warnings about venturing outside of Microsoft’s walled garden, and no change to Windows’ default settings required.
  • That any company can operate a store for PC Windows games and apps in UWP format – as Valve, Good Old Games, Epic Games, EA, and Ubi Soft do today with the win32 format, and that Windows will not impede or obstruct these apps stores, relegating them to second-class citizenship.
  • That users, developers, and publishers will always be free to engage in direct commerce with each other, without Microsoft forcing everyone into its formative in-app commerce monopoly and taking a 30% cut.

Tim’s fear is that Microsoft will continue to improve UWP while neglecting and even degrading win32, over time making it harder for developers to publish new games outside Windows Store.

I wonder why Tim is not talking about Apple Mac OS X. Even Apple is now following the same policy as Microsoft by releasing apps for Mac OS X on their own App Store. Even Apple App Store on Mac has review guidelines and Apple takes a cut for apps/games sold through their Store. Read his full thoughts from the source link below. What do you think of Tim Sweeney’s thoughts? PC game developers and publishers are not happy over the 30% cut they should pay for Microsoft and I think that’s the reason they are now trying to create some noise.

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