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Tim Sweeney is still mad at Microsoft

"They can change the rules of the game at any time"

Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney reiterated his concerns about Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform at the GamesBeat Summit yesterday, using his time on stage to warn of the dangers of the company's approach.

"Nobody is adopting UWP except the small group of developers Microsoft is paying to do so," he pointed out.

Microsoft tried to address some of his very public concerns at Build last month, but Sweeney dismissed those comments as "propaganda" during his talk.

"On stage Phil Spencer said that Xbox is an open platform, which surprises me because you have to get your game concept approved before you can start developing it and then you have to get every update approved and Microsoft has absolute control. And guess what? You don't know who your customers are. They sell it through their store and it's not your platform. I think they're just in propaganda mode at that point."

He said developers needed to defend their businesses and that direct relationship with customers. He said many developers don't want to speak out and take on Microsoft and for others used the analogy of slowly boiling an amphibian.

"If you throw a frog in boiling water, he'll just hop out. But if you put him in warm water and you slowly ramp up the temperature, he will not notice and he'll be boiled. But a lot of frogs in the industry have already been boiled. Look at Facebook: Every company moved their brand presence to Facebook, sending out messages for their customers to receive. Now, you have to pay to send out your messages to people who chose to follow you. A boiling frog," he declared.

"Microsoft has given itself the ability to force dash updates without your authorisation. It will just update itself and you can't do anything about it. They can change the rules of the game at any time."

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Latest comments (18)

Curtis Turner Game Developer - Monsters of War A year ago
Other platforms are already restricted. Windows isn't quite there yet... There are pros and cons to each approach.

Not much lil ol developers like me can do except give them $100, 30%, and hope they welcome us into the Windows World!
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Rafael Brown Creative Director/Co-Founder, Digital Myths Studio, IncA year ago
Hmm, having been at the conference myself and hearing his full talk, the headline is rather misleading. Tim Sweeney came across as thoughtful and analytic, not mad. He's very clearly looking at the windows 10 potentials for ecosystem and walking us through options. An excellent talk and I hope more people think over his points.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic A year ago
"Nobody is adopting UWP except the small group of developers Microsoft is paying to do so," he pointed out.
Epic Games Shadow Complex Remastered on the Windows 10 Store

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the situation here, but if not... Man alive, put your money where your mouth is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 5th May 2016 8:14am

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Show all comments (18)
Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation LtdA year ago
"Other platforms are already restricted."

And how many of those platforms can be used by anyone to develop games, or make mods, or download free tools and distribute games directly or through whichever channels they want including directly?

The headline is a bit flippant considering the implications for PC developers if Microsoft continue to press ahead with something nobody wants which makes the PC less versatile as a platform. Every major UWP game release so far has been beset with problems. It's like they learned nothing from GFWL's failure.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A year ago
What has Microsoft done for games on the PC? DirectX, GFW, UWP.

DirectX has grown into a convenience holding Linux at bay but was repeatedly used to push WIndows versions instead of Windows as a whole. GFW died for good reasons. UWP shows you with just how much you can get away with when Linux isn't really considered an alternative by the customers and all major publishers run their platforms on your operating system come hell or high water.

No PC gamer needs UWP and if Microsoft only uses it to self-destruct the Windows versions of Microsoft first party games, then I doubt many PC gamers are sad about it. The Xbox might need first party MIcrosoft titles to survive, Windows does not.
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, MaxisA year ago
I surprised by some of the comments here and think people are missing the point and real target of UWP.

UWP isn't necessarily for game developers of AAA titles who Microsoft have repeatedly said can release their games the way they always have. Yes Microsoft has tried using it on their first party titles and had some poor results but it doesn't mean Steam, Origin, GoG etc are going away. Most importantly, Microsoft isn't forcing this on anyone. It is a feature you may never even see or use.

UWP is more is for those who make smaller games and apps and puts Windows Phone as a viable market for developers to put their products on. This is especially useful for companies like Game Troopers who have released quality games on Windows Phone and started transitioning to Windows 10 PC and Xbox One releases all of which support UWP.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic A year ago
Most importantly, Microsoft isn't forcing this on anyone. It is a feature you may never even see or use.
The problem comes in... Okay "forced" is too strong a word - no-one is "forced" to buy/play a game, let's get that out the way. But if someone on PC wants to play Quantum Break, they're "forced" to use the Windows Store. If Microsoft wanted to compete - truly compete - then they'd release it on Steam as well. So, saying it's "a feature you may never even see or use" is obtuse. Want to play Killer Instinct on PC? You have to use Windows Store. Forza on PC? Windows Store. Add that in with the gross stupidity of Epic and Eidos, and you have Windows Store as a front for non-MS games (Shadow Complex Remastered, Rise of the Tomb Raider), which gives it a veneer of respectability and usefulness.
UWP is more is for those who make smaller games and apps and puts Windows Phone as a viable market for developers to put their products on.
And if that's all it was, no-one would care about the restrictions...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 5th May 2016 5:58pm

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James Prendergast Research Chemist A year ago
@ Morville. Sounds like Chair Entertainment (the developers of Shadow Complex and the remastered version) are the primary movers on this sort of decision. Sure, Epic is a publisher but it's not their game... maybe it's not their choice? Bit of a weird situation.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic A year ago
'tis a bit weird... *shrugs* Ah, well, it's just games, y'know? Weird-ass industry. :)
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Rafael Brown Creative Director/Co-Founder, Digital Myths Studio, IncA year ago
That is incorrect. Chair is a wholly owned subsidiary studio of Epic Games. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chair_Entertainment However Shadow Complex was built by Chair prior to Epic buying Chair. Microsoft still owns the publishing rights to Shadow Complex, probably for a set number of years. These contracts are often 5 or 10 years in length, sometimes with a right of first refusal on renewal. So Shadow Complex coming out on PC has to go to UWP only (and not Steam, GOG, Origin, etc) because Microsoft says so.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rafael Brown on 5th May 2016 10:00pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic A year ago
Which actually makes everything weirder... Because Shadow Complex Remastered premiered a few months back through the Epic Launcher, and was just released on Steam a few days ago. So either a) MS don't care about UWP exclusivity for such a small game, b) Epic is being handed money by MS for the UWP version, or c)... ?
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Paul Jace Merchandiser A year ago
Microsoft still owns the publishing rights to Shadow Complex, probably for a set number of years. These contracts are often 5 or 10 years in length,
I think their publishing rights expired with the release of the remastered version because....
Which actually makes everything weirder...just released on Steam a few days ago
And there will be a PS4 version releasing later this month. I'm pretty sure Microsoft won't be publishing that.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! A year ago
And there will be a PS4 version releasing later this month. I'm pretty sure Microsoft won't be publishing that.
... unless Sony recently bought Microsoft. Hey, it didn't happen! Just a joke, folks. :D
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion DevelopmentsA year ago
And there will be a PS4 version releasing later this month. I'm pretty sure Microsoft won't be publishing that.
Microsoft now publish titles on sony and nintendo hardware, IE, the minecraft IP. So it's not entirely impossible.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic A year ago
Easy way to check the publishing... Go to the Steam Store Page. :D
Title: Shadow Complex Remastered
Genre: Action
Developer: ChAIR Entertainment
Publisher: Epic Games
Release Date: 3 May, 2016
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation LtdA year ago
@Barrie: I think you're right that some of the fear is misplaced. Microsoft can try all they like to entice developers to use UWP but at the moment there's no compelling reason to do so.

There is a nagging worry that somewhere in the upper echelons of Microsoft (insulated from what's going on in the real world - i.e. the folks who dreamt up the Xbox One launch strategy) it will be decided that UWP is 'good enough for everyone' and channels like Steam will be made progressively harder to use - this is what happened with office software, years ago. But then Microsoft aren't in the unassailable position they once were.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser A year ago
... unless Sony recently bought Microsoft. Hey, it didn't happen! Just a joke, folks. :D
Sony couldn't afford Microsoft. But Microsoft could buy Sony with enough room left over to buy Nintendo. Then the NX would stand for....well, you know.
Microsoft now publish titles on sony and nintendo hardware, IE, the minecraft IP. So it's not entirely impossible.
Not quite. It's true that Microsoft continues to allow their Minecraft IP on other consoles/platforms(something that they have probably not received a single "thank you" for but will get plenty of complaints if and when they restrict future Minecraft releases to Xbox and PC platforms) but the PS3, PS4 and Vita versions were actually published by Sony and developed by 4J Studios.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 7th May 2016 4:23am

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion DevelopmentsA year ago
Microsoft now publish titles on sony and nintendo hardware, IE, the minecraft IP. So it's not entirely impossible.
Not quite. It's true that Microsoft continues to allow their Minecraft IP on other consoles/platforms(something that they have probably not received a single "thank you" for but will get plenty of complaints if and when they restrict future Minecraft releases to Xbox and PC platforms) but the PS3, PS4 and Vita versions were actually published by Sony and developed by 4J Studios.
Ah, OK - the wiiu version is published by mojang, had assumed the various playstation versions were the same.
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