Tim Sweeney thinks Microsoft will use Windows 10 to sabotage Steam

Tim Sweeney thinks Microsoft will use Windows 10 to sabotage Steam

Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games, is no fan of Microsoft’s ‘Universal Windows App’ (UWP) alternative to their previous Win32 API. He’s made that clear in previous statements, suggesting that Microsoft’s ultimate goal is a UWP monopoly via their Windows 10 store.

In a new interview with Edge magazine (physical media, so I can’t link directly; but NeoGaf have a partial transcript), Sweeney takes these claims even further. He reiterates his belief that Microsoft’s long-term strategy is to phase out Win32 and move all programs, apps and games to the UWP format; which would be distributed solely through the Windows store.

“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 manoeuvers. 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,” Sweeney says.

Asked by the Edge interviewer how Microsoft would actually be able to do that, given the widespread use and popularity of the Steam platform, Sweeney suggests Windows 10 patches could be deployed to sabotage Valve’s store.

“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.”

Unfortunately, the piece doesn’t elaborate on the “previous competitors”, but it’s possible he’s referring to the United States vs Microsoft anti-trust case (1998) which found that “Microsoft maintained its monopoly power by anti-competitive means and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market.” However, I’m not familiar enough with the details of that case to say whether Microsoft was found to be actively sabotaging competition through Windows patches.

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    • Paul Younger

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out and and whether Microsoft has the balls to do it. I am not entirely convinced this is what will happen. We shall see,

      • lazerbeak

        problem is this all pure conjecture, its just a conspiracy theory it could be true but theres no way of proving anything

    • User

      People would revolt pretty hard within the gaming community I’d imagine. Plenty are willing to put off upgrading their Windows because of the dislike towards the new direction – let alone one that will make gaming an actual hassle.

      Hoping it stays a theory.

    • ΨΦ

      “Do you think Microsoft will sabotage Valve’s Steam store?”

      Microsoft (or any other company of that size and wealth) would sacrifice babies to Ba’al one-for-a-dollar, if they knew they could get away with it. The bigger a company gets, the bigger its board of directors, meaning responsibility of actions gets divided amongst more people, so it is easier for the company to be more erm… evil. Imagine the BIGGEST scandal EVER, and what? They would fire a couple of bottom-feeders and the company would merely change policy to not get caught again.

      What are your thoughts on UWP?

      My thoughts are very much the same as of Mr. Sweeney’s on this matter, just with much more profanity.

    • https://www.artofodd.com Jordan Cain

      I greatly respect Tim Sweeney as a dev, but he really needs to chill out with the doom and gloom. Lest we forget GabeN’s similar Steam doomsday claims that Windows 8 was going to destroy gaming on the platform (hah!). While I do agree that MS is trying to build up their own store (I mean, let’s be real here… everyone is), it is not in MS’s best interest to attempt to isolate against THE largest PC gaming framework. I know MS isn’t known for making the best of decisions at times, but I also know they aren’t that stupid.

      • nfojunky

        They paid over $26 billion for LinkdIn – I’m no longer convinced they aren’t that stupid.

        • https://www.artstation.com/artist/odd_enough Jordan Cain

          I’m confused, I think you’re implying that was a stupid move, but it’s not. I also think you underestimate the importance and influence of LinkedIn. It’s kind of a big deal. To have a large social network choc full of user analytics to poll from… yeeeah they made a very smart move there.

    • Ron Hobson

      Prior to release of Windows 10 during the time of the Beta Insider Preview I can give a definitive example using Creative Assembly’s Rome Total War, Barbarian Invasion, and Alexander. Alexander was already blacklisted and blocked for install prior to a month before the Windows 10 release and likely from the beginning. Rome Total War and Barbarian Invasion would install, but they would not run if installed under Windows 10. Anyone that had upgraded could still play, but anyone trying for a new install and it was broken.

      This is how it will happen and how it is happening with a few games at a time.

      It took about 100 hours of work running theories and looking for what was wrong as there were no error messages at first. Once the first stage problem was fixed came the error messages and those were much easier. I made the first post with the fix at TWCenter under the name HawkDreams if you wish to verify. Microsoft begrudging lost that battle and even unlocked the installation of Alexander Total War.

    • Keith kowalski

      horrible shady devs are doing a much better at undermining steam.

    • https://glenbarrington.blogspot.com/ Glen Barrington

      Doesn’t Steam run on Linux? I can’t imagine a better place than LInux for the gaming community. It would give the, always struggling, OS a shot in the arm as well as the Desktop computer business, and give the gamers (particularly those with an interest in technology overall) a say in directing the future of Linux.

    • Ron Hobson

      Linux sucks for most older games so no they wont, they will just load up a computer with an older OS and keep trudging along just like they did when Windows XP killed many games triggering 98 or 2000 to be loaded back up to keep playing. In this case it will be Vista or 7.

    • lazerbeak

      Problem is games development is driven by finance not ethics DirectX works and Windows is by far the largest market so why bother using a Cross platform API like Vulcan (yes I know some games do as use it), I LOVE it if they did but it wont happen IMHO, In short its up to developers pressure needs to be put on them to stop using Directx

      • Lasse Øksbro

        There are also openGL
        Use in many games

        • lazerbeak

          its too far behind Directx techwise now, Vulkan is the replacement for openGL

    • lazerbeak

      Theres tons of logical flaws in his augment, First all Windows Store will never challenge Stream, Windows 10 only has 30 percent of the windows market and upgrades have slowed down already, next MS would struggle to order dev team to a sabotage steam, its not ethical, people would leave and report whats going to to the press, at the end of the day everything Tim said was conjecture so theres no point auguring about it too much, hes right about one thing MS would love to force everyone to buy all their software from the Store like Apple does, the question is will it happen ? I checked the WIndows 10 store it sucks nothing on there worth bothering with

      • Zedilt

        Also… UWP that he thinks will replace the win32, makes use of the win32 API, just like steam.

        • lazerbeak

          im not coder but that seems over ambitious to me what about developers that want stick to with win32 why would they switch?

          • Zedilt

            Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the micosoft app store. So it you make an app for UWP it works and is available across PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub, etc..

    • lazerbeak

      My hope is MS will push too hard on UWP and developers will start using Vulcan more

    • Harrison Ford

      UWP is an extension of WinRT, a more modern, safe and flexible API than Win32. That’s all it is and Sweeny should just take his meds.

      When Apple introduced Mac OS X, they introduced the Cocoa API. This API had better capabilities than the “Classic” API in Mac OS X, better support and basically was the future for Mac OS X apps.

      Like Microsoft, Apple didn’t release this API just to screw with crazy people like Sweeny, but because the new OS simply had new features, new demands and new hardware to support that wasn’t really practical to do with the old API.