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Epic's Sweeney calls out Microsoft over PC gaming monopoly

UWP is "the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made."

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Earlier today Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney released an article via The Guardian calling out Microsoft over its recent Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, calling it "the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made" and accusing the company of attempting to monopolise the PC gaming space.

The basis of Sweeney's argument is that he believes that Microsoft is monopolising development of video games on PC. Microsoft has launched a selection of features that are exclusive to UWP which Sweeney thinks is "telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem."

The whole idea of UWP is that it would enable developers to create apps that work across various platforms like the Xbox One, Windows 10 and various mobile devices. However, Sweeney's focus is not so much on Microsoft's Windows Store, but on the fact that it's a system set up to stop people accessing content from other stores.

He accuses the company of "structuring its operating system to advantage its own store while unfairly disadvantaging competing app stores, as well as developers and publishers who distribute games directly to their customers".

Sweeney brings this up because it is impossible to download UWP apps from anywhere other than the Windows store, at least by default.

It is possible to navigate through "Microsoft's settings-burying UI" to find a way to enable side-loading, however Sweeney argues that having it turned off by default means that "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."

Sweeney also mentioned that Epic Games spoke with Xbox boss Phil Spencer and Microsoft, expressing their concerns about the Universal Windows Platform. "Because they listened very patiently I hoped and believed that Microsoft would do the right thing, but he we are. Microsoft's consumer launch and PR around UWP are in full swing, and this side of the story must be told."

However, since the article was published, Microsoft has responded to Sweeney and The Guardian, insisting that Universal Windows Platform isn't what Sweeney says it is via the following statement:

"The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. 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.

We want to make Windows the best development platform regardless of technologies used, and offer tools to help developers with existing code bases of HTML/JavaScript, .NET and Win32, C+ + and Objective-C bring their code to Windows, and integrate UWP capabilities. With Xamarin, UWP developers can not only reach all Windows 10 devices, but they can now use a large percentage of their C# code to deliver a fully native mobile app experiences for iOS and Android. We also posted a blog on our development tools recently."

It's hard to tell where Microsoft's latest initiative is going to go, and whether or not Sweeney is correct in saying that they're attempting to monopolise PC development, all we can do is watch and wait to see what happens next. Tim Sweeney's full article can be found here.

Epic's Sweeney calls out Microsoft over PC gaming monopoly

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