Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney clearly doesn’t think much of Microsoft. He’s been pretty critical of the company over the past few years, but this latest suggestion is a pretty strong one.
In short, Sweeney – who helped create Unreal Engine – reckons that Microsoft wants to try and sabotage Steam so that people will start to consider the Windows Store a more attractive option.
Sweeney discussed the choice between Win32 and Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform with Edge (via PC Gamer):
Every Steam app–every PC game for the past few decades–has used Win32. It’s been both responsible for the vibrant software market we have now, but also for malware. Any program can be a virus. Universal Windows Platform is seen as an antidote to that. It’s sandboxed–much more locked down.
It’s Sweeney’s concern that Win32 apps will be phased out, which could start causing problems for Steam. He says that if Windows can do that, then it’s a ‘small leap’ to force all apps and games to go through the Windows Store.
Through this, Sweeney believes that Windows will sneakily begin the process of breaking Steam, by making it ‘more and more inconvenient to use the old apps’, while becoming the only source for 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.
His final comments there are possibly in reference to allegations that Windows sabotaged both Quicktime and Firefox.
Sweeney thinks Microsoft might not be ‘competent enough’ to succeed in this endeavor, but maintains that they’re definitely trying.
Sweeney has previously criticised both Microsoft’s UWP initiative, and the ‘closed’ Windows 8. Speaking with GameSpot recently, he expressed his concerns about the way Microsoft uses updates to take away ‘fundamental rights’ you have to use their platform.
That’s a really nasty thing, Microsoft giving itself the mandatory power to change the rules on you at any time, and as a user, there’s nothing you can do about it. You know, that’s wrong. It’s that culture that exists within Microsoft. I don’t think everybody at Microsoft feels that way, but the culture that’s driven by some of their executive leadership believes that it’s not your PC, it’s their PC, and they can do what they want with it, and they’ll do whatever they can get away with. It’s constantly figuring out what they can do without users going into open revolt and discovering more and more everyday where that boundary is.
I think it’s safe to say that Microsoft won’t be getting a Christmas card from Sweeney this year.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.