It’s no secret the Epic founder Tim Sweeney hates Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which he has made clear on many occasions. UWP, which in essence is a replacement for the venerable Win32 API, is increasingly being used for Windows games, and is the only way to distribute gamers through the Windows Store.
The unified codebase allows for game developers to consolidate resources, making it easier to create titles that can run equally well on Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One gaming console. However, Sweeney isn’t buying into what Microsoft is selling. “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,” wrote Sweeney a year ago in an open letter to gamers (and Microsoft).
”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.”
Well, it’s been a year and Sweeney is still foaming at the mouth over Microsoft's implementation of UWP in Windows 10. As he has said on previous occasions, he still wants Microsoft to make UWP more open, although he concedes that it is a safe set of APIs for Windows.
“If Microsoft would absolutely commit itself to making UWP available, in the long run, in as open a way as Win32 is today I think it would be a positive thing for the industry,” said Sweeney. “We’d support it in that case."
Sweeney also takes issue with Microsoft’s assertion that one of the biggest reasons for adopting the UWP model is to protect systems from malware or other rogue code. "All of the things that Microsoft can do to make Windows more secure, they can do without forcing everybody to sell their stuff through their store," Sweeney continued. “All of these claims that they’re forcing people into the Windows Store and adding friction to non-Windows Store software purchasing, it’s just a lie when they say that they’re doing that to secure users.
“Those are two completely separate issues that they’re only conflating because it’s the only possible excuse they can use for their efforts.”
Tell us how you really feel, Tim! Sweeney says that he understands that the restrictive UWP model may be beneficial for smaller apps such as Twitter, Dropbox, or even OneDrive – but with the overall complexity of premium games (where modding is often prevalent), it doesn’t make much sense.
So, what does Microsoft have to say about all of Sweeney’s ranting? The company is trying to remain diplomatic, with Microsoft senior product manager Peter Orullian writing, "We aren't making any announcements, but we are actively looking at other things like overlays, FRAPS, mods, all of those things are under consideration for how we continue to evolve UWP. We've heard the feedback, and we're far from done evolving UWP."
Microsoft is definitely listening to feedback, as in May 2016 it added support for FreeSync and G-SYNC in UWP games.