It’s no secret that Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Gears of War developer Epic – a once close friend of Microsoft – is not very happy with the company’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
Sweeney criticised the closed nature of the platform in the past, particularly how you couldn’t side-load UWP apps on Windows 10. It appears his fears are much larger than UWP limitations, as a recent interview in Edge Magazine seems to suggest.
“The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP (Universal Windows Platform), then they phase out Win32 apps. If they can succeed in doing that then it’s a small leap to forcing all apps and games to be distributed through the Windows Store. Once we reach that point, the PC has become a closed platform,” he told the magazine, as reported by MSPowerUser.
“It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones.
“Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken. 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. Now they’re doing it to Steam. It’s only just starting to become visible,” Sweeney added.
Though he believes this to be a possibility, Sweeney said that Microsoft “might not be competent enough” to actually bring this plan to fruition.
“They make a bunch of statements that sound vaguely like they’re promoting openness, but really they’re not promising anything of the sort,” he went on.
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.
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.