Tim Sweeney: Microsoft is trying to kill Steam with Windows 10
Microsoft is on a mission to destroy Steam with Windows 10. At least that is what Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games believes. He says that Microsoft's love of UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps means that Win32 apps are gradually being driven to extinction.
In an interview with Edge magazine, Sweeney says that he predicts Microsoft will release patches for Windows 10 over the next few years that will render Steam "progressively worse and more broken".
Sweeney has spoken out against UWP before, and his hatred is far from a secret. He believes that Microsoft will use its position with Windows 10 to make Steam less and less attractive to users, while simultaneously enticing them to its own app store.
It would be easy to dismiss his claims as lunatic conspiracy theory, but he argues a very good case:
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 an antidote to that. It's sandboxed -- much more locked down.
The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody 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.
The move towards UWP apps is understandable for both Microsoft and many developers -- it means it is easy to create apps and games that will run on a range of Windows devices. But it's not such good news for delivery platforms like Steam which Microsoft will clearly see not only as a rival, but as an enemy eating up potential revenue.
But how likely, realistically, is it that Microsoft would kill off Win32? If it did happen, it could not be for a number of years -- just think of the number of business and enterprise clients working solely with Win32 apps that simply aren’t going to be upgraded or converted any time soon. Sweeney may be a little wide of the mark, but it will certainly be interesting to see if anything he says comes to bear.