Is Microsoft Attempting To Monopolize The PC Gaming Market?

Tim Sweeney discusses his concerns about Microsoft's new API and how it will affect Steam.

Tim Sweeney, Epic Games founder and co-creator of the Unreal Engine, has always been very open with his criticisms towards the direction Microsoft is going with Windows 10. In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, he explained how Microsoft may be attempting to monopolize the PC gaming marketplace.

His reasoning involves Microsoft’s new programming interface, UWP, which was built to streamline all Windows apps across desktop and mobile. With a series of patches across a few years time, he believes that Microsoft will phase out Win32, the predecessor to UWP and the main API used in all Steam applications. This could result in Steam becoming buggy and unreliable, making the Windows Store the preferred alternative.

For more on Sweeney's thoughts on Microsoft, read part of his interview with Edge magazine below:

How exactly do you think Microsoft is locking down the PC to make it a closed platform?

"There are two programming interfaces for Windows and every app has to choose one of them. 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 the antidote to that. It's sandboxed - much more locked down. The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everyone to use UWP, 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. 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."

Given that Steam is so widespread and popular, how could Microsoft truly win that battle, in terms of games at least?

"Slowly, over the next 5 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 seem 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. Microsoft might not be competent enough to succeed with their plan but they are certainly trying."

Overall, it will be interesting to see the direction Microsoft takes with UWP, and Steam's response if Win32 becomes phased out in the process. 

Source: Edge Magazine

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