Epic Games Founder Slams Microsoft For Trying To 'Monopolise' PC Gaming

Epic Games Founder Slams Microsoft For Trying To 'Monopolize' PC Gaming

This week, Microsoft has touted a new initiative that they have said will unify platforms, making it easier to for developers to release games on both PC and Xbox One. But at least one major developer isn't thrilled with Microsoft's plans. In an opinion piece published in The Guardian last night, Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney absolutely railed against Microsoft, calling upon other developers to fight against the corporation for "moving against the entire PC industry". Specifically, Sweeney criticised Microsoft's new Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to build games and apps that can run across all of Microsoft's hardware including Windows 10, Xbox One and any Windows-branded tablets and phones.

The problem, Sweeney wrote, is that with UWP, Microsoft has created a closed ecosystem where developers must use the Windows Store and go through Microsoft's certification processes to release games on that platform. Sweeney said he sees this as contrary to the spirit of PC development — a huge blow for Microsoft, as Epic is one of the biggest companies in the space. Epic is best known not just for their developer toolset, the Unreal Engine, but for creating the popular Xbox franchise Gears of War, which Microsoft purchased in 2014.

"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 wrote.

Microsoft disagrees with this assessment. Windows vice president Kevin Gallo told The Guardian in a response to Sweeney's op-ed that Microsoft is not, in fact, building a closed platform. "The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store," he said. "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 required."

Sweeney had criticised Microsoft for making it difficult and confusing to install UWP-developed apps outside of the Windows Store, pointing out that any user who wants to do so would have to dig through a series of convoluted menus and options. "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,'" Sweeney wrote. "But in turning this off by default, Microsoft is unfairly disadvantaging the competition. Bigger-picture, this is a feature Microsoft can revoke at any time using Windows 10's forced-update process."

The whole op-ed is brutal and worth reading, encouraging developers and customers to fight against Microsoft's new initiative.

"As the founder of a major Windows game developer and technology supplier, this is an op-ed I hoped I would never feel compelled to write," Sweeney wrote. "But Epic has prided itself on providing software directly to customers ever since I started mailing floppy disks in 1991. We wouldn't let Microsoft close down the PC platform overnight without a fight, and therefore we won't sit silently by while Microsoft embarks on a series of sneaky manoeuvre aimed at achieving this over a period of several years."


    I'd fully agree with him but i mean come on... its Microsoft, they do this every 5 years and they screw it all to hell and it all falls apart and no one cares.

    The whole op-ed is brutal and worth reading, encouraging developers and customers to fight against Microsoft’s new initiative.

    I don't think its as brutal as it is truthful. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see what MS are striving for. They're jealous of apple store and androids google play and want in on that. Problem is they have to force a change which people naturally oppose so instead they're offering a free OS and are going to slowly implement the changes over time - people are dumb much like a frog wont leave a pot that is slowly coming to the boil.

      Just two nitpicky corrections, first it can be brutal and truthful.

      Secondly a frog will hop out of a slowly boiling pot of water quite safely. Which is why frogs are smarter than people =P

        Further proof:

        No frog has ever created a Windows Store account.
        They were on to this years ago.

      Are they jealous? They are trying to pull off something neither of those platforms have. They have something neither of those stores have (games actually worth playing) and are trying to offer something their competitors dont have (nintendo, sony) which is a unified system with all your games for all devices.

      Could potentially mean absolutely no more emulation and all games being backwards compatible in the future.

    You know what? developers dont have to use the UWP if they dont want too.. but if it means i can buy the game once and use it across many devices? Im in.

    Sorry to me this is a win win. And we may have a viable alternative for steam - which lets face it, was needed.

    Microsoft could give out free hand-jobs and kittens and everybody would still find a way to rally against them.

    Last edited 05/03/16 10:58 pm

    And would it kill you to update the article to Phil Spencer's clarification re: UWP as well? Open to all stores, including Steam.


    Last edited 05/03/16 11:06 pm

      Haha nah Kotaku are very very anti Microsoft and Xbox, it's just a thing... been going on for a few years now, they loooove bashing Microsoft where possible

    Really the only people who are worried are competing tech companies because there is no way that MSFT suddenly blocks Origin, Steam, Battle Net, Ubisoft Launcher, GoG, and any other competitors. All they're looking to do it drive profits their way and making a compelling reason to stay up to date with OSes.

    What about people who bought a Steam machine Linux version and then suddenly they realise they bought games on Origin, Ubisoft, or GoG and then they can't play it. No one cried foul of Valve for moving to a completely separate OS thereby negating many people's purchase and then forcing them to rebuy content they had through other digital distributors.

    I've been waiting for MSFT to push for a stronger unified ecosystem and I really think people are overreacting far too much.

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