Analysis, Breaking, Business, Gaming, Microsoft, Windows

Tim Sweeney Rightfully Attacks Microsoft over Windows Store

‘Poor’ Microsoft. The company simply doesn’t know how to do a right move without offending, or simply infringing the rights of its consumers. First Microsoft shoveled Windows 10 Upgrade down everyone’s throats (Windows 7, 8, 8.1 all push Windows 10 upgrade as almost-mandatory), and then started doing potentially anti-trust acts. Windows 10 Store lacks any serious AAA titles – be that gaming or an applications, and it is not getting better with titles that are being released now.

The list of AAA gaming titles that experienced severe user-friendly failure test over the past couple of weeks is astounding:

Unfortunately, there’s no stopping there. Xbox Chief Phil Spencer was caught openly lying in an IGN podcast, and got caught by Forbes. Microsoft PR probably turned the screw on Forbes and this reputable institution was forced to change the title into “[Updated] What Xbox Head Phil Spencer Gets Wrong About The Cost Of PC Gaming”. So, how did Mr. Spencer mislead / lied to a wide gaming audience?

“The argument that people give me that ‘Hey I’m just gonna sell my Xbox One and play all these games on my PC,’ I get the emotion in that argument,” Spencer replies. Frankly, from a financial perspective, the most cost effective way to go play these games is to own an Xbox One. The graphics card alone is probably 2x what the Xbox [costs] to run at a similar resolution.”

After being rightfully called out by publications such as Forbes and Digital Foundry, as well as an user openly calling him out, Mr. Spencer put out an apology in a tweet which was seen by maybe a few hundred people at best:

Since when is openly misleading, not to say lying to high-paying customers (at the end of the day, Microsoft Windows 10 e-tails for at least $120) – okay? Wonder what the owners of MSFT stock would have to say about this situation – as it only leads to Microsoft loosing the ground of digital stores – where their former employees rule the digital roost with Steam.

Windows 10 Store is devoid of key AAA titles from 3rd party publishers.

Windows 10 Store is devoid of key AAA titles from 3rd party publishers.

Now, developers are finally speaking out. Tim Sweeney, co-founder and CEO of Epic Games came out in British mainstream newspaper, The Guardian and launched a well founded attack on Microsoft policies, saying that “Microsoft has to be stopped.” We will refrain from commenting why the mainstream U.S. media would never run an argumentatively-backed column as this one. Especially one that involves mentioning Microsoft’s anti-trust issues of yesteryear.

Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games.

Microsoft has launched new PC Windows features exclusively in UWP, and is effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem. 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.”

The article details return of good old anti-competitive, anti-trust practices Microsoft was known for in the past and Mr. Sweeney states that Microsoft has only one solution, which is to ‘open up’ the controversial Universal Windows Platform:

  • That any PC Windows user can download and install a UWP application from the web, just as we can do now with win32 applications. No new hassle, no insidious warnings about venturing outside of Microsoft’s walled garden, and no change to Windows’ default settings required.
  • That any company can operate a store for PC Windows games and apps in UWP format – as Valve, Good Old Games, Epic Games, EA, and Ubi Soft do today with the win32 format, and that Windows will not impede or obstruct these apps stores, relegating them to second-class citizenship.
  • That users, developers, and publishers will always be free to engage in direct commerce with each other, without Microsoft forcing everyone into its formative in-app commerce monopoly and taking a 30% cut.

Ultimately, this might lead into a tug of war where Microsoft Windows Store, instead of offering unified experience between Xbox and PC – lead Windows 10 Store into obscurity and becoming another stillborn platform like Games for Windows – Live. Today, consumers have a choice – Steam by Valve Corporation, Origin by EA, even Epic Games’ own Unreal Launcher. Coming back to Mr. Phil Spencer, he issued a series of tweets as a rebuttal to Tim’s article:

Last but not least, Phil stated that they will release details on the “UWP opportunity” at Microsoft’s own //build conference;

In the finest large corporate manner, this conveniently skips the independent Game Developer’s Conference 2016, which will be held in two weeks from now in San Francisco, California. Nothing beats openness like disclosing at your own conference, rather than at a conference which will be attended by all major and almost all minor players in what is one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. If you would like to attend the Build conference, you’re outta luck. All ($2195) tickets are gone, and the event is sold out.