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Epic's Tim Sweeney Talks About Microsoft, Steam Machines

In a recent interview, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney showed some concern about Microsoft's future in regards to app development. Microsoft wants developers to focus on Windows 8, but when taking that route, games can only ship with Microsoft's permission and Microsoft's approval through Microsoft's store. That seemingly goes against the open nature of the PC platform.

"Steam has been a great democratizing factor on PC and if Microsoft forecloses on PC then all developers will shift to other alternatives, like Steambox and Android," he said.

Sweeney added that Epic is hopeful that the recent management changes will lead to a more open approach to developing on the Windows platform. If Microsoft doesn't give in, there's always Steam OS and Linux.

"I sense kind of a renaissance at MS in the last six months," Sweeney said. "Talking to the DirectX team for example, they're making some brilliant decisions on DirectX 12 to make it more efficient and more open than ever before. You just generally sense a momentum to be more open with the community and more broad with their Windows strategy. I'm hoping that takes root."

Earlier in the interview, he said that Valve's Steam Machines will likely be the most open high-end gaming platform ever created. Epic Games is really enthusiastic about this new tier; they're glad to see some consumer choices in that portion of the PC gaming market. He also said the new Steam OS platform is a welcome Windows competitor.

"You can see that we're doing some HTML5 deployment stuff so you can run our game in a web browser without any plug-ins," Sweeney said. "You can see that we're working on Linux and Steambox and have some support up and running for Valve's Steamworks. It's not an advertised feature yet, not completely ready for prime time but it's there."

Just weeks ago, Epic Games introduced a subscription plan for Unreal Engine 4 ($19 a month). He told Polygon that this subscription plan is a reflection of the new game development world, and that Epic Games wants more game creators to have access to the engine and its tools. Now indie developers have the same advantage that Epic and AAA developers had in the past.

"We've been debating opening up the engine source for about 10 years now," he said. "We always just had some fear of what it would do to our business or whether it would leak out or attract patent trolls. But this time around with the rise of indies the benefits to the world of releasing the code far outweighed the negatives."

To read the full interview, head here.

  • Alec Mowat
    UT:2014
    And we can talk after that.
    Reply
  • vir_cotto
    Awww yiss, Gaben's steam package, and some Linux love is what we need!
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    I don't want to have all my purchases go through Microsoft's store, but neither do I want a system that's so "open" that developers have unrestricted access.
    Reply
  • bak0n
    I'm just waiting and watching the progress of the Steam OS. It may very well become my go to OS if things progress the way they seems they will.
    Reply
  • JD88
    Steam for Linux is gaining games every day. Three of the more recent additions are Metro Last Light, Total War: Rome II, and the newly announced Civ game. No, it's not there yet but it's getting there.
    Reply
  • bmwman91
    I'm a little confused when the author says, "Microsoft wants developers to focus on Windows 8, but when taking that route, games can only ship with Microsoft's permission and Microsoft's approval through Microsoft's store."

    Is this referring to WinRT and WP8? I have yet to use the Store for a single thing in Win8/8.1 on my desktop. Old software (older than Win8 & the store), new software, whatever...I have not run into any instance where I couldn't run something because it wasn't MSFT-spproved.
    Reply
  • zanny
    I'm just waiting and watching the progress of the Steam OS. It may very well become my go to OS if things progress the way they seems they will.

    SteamOS is not meant to replace a desktop. It is designed to sit under your TV and act as a media center, game launcher, and light web browser.

    For actual productivity you would want a traditional Linux distro, and then you just install Steam from their repositories if it doesn't come bundled on the iso.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    This is getting silly. Many of the complaints Tim Sweeney is leveling against Microsoft for their Store could be applied to Android (Google Play) and Steambox (Steam Platform controlled by Valve). Why is Microsoft not allowed to have their own store? They need it given the shift in revenue model (especially on mobile/lightweight platforms), and with universal binaries coming they need a unified storefront across all versions of Windows.
    Reply
  • blackmancer
    This is getting silly. Many of the complaints Tim Sweeney is leveling against Microsoft for their Store could be applied to Android (Google Play) and Steambox (Steam Platform controlled by Valve). Why is Microsoft not allowed to have their own store? They need it given the shift in revenue model (especially on mobile/lightweight platforms), and with universal binaries coming they need a unified storefront across all versions of Windows.
    Because Microsoft are a bunch of pirates that will fuck you in the ass the moment you bend over. Microsoft IS the limiting factor for innovation and development
    Reply
  • Abricalio
    This is getting silly. Many of the complaints Tim Sweeney is leveling against Microsoft for their Store could be applied to Android (Google Play) and Steambox (Steam Platform controlled by Valve). Why is Microsoft not allowed to have their own store? They need it given the shift in revenue model (especially on mobile/lightweight platforms), and with universal binaries coming they need a unified storefront across all versions of Windows.
    I've heard this argument a lot, and here's the reasons I see it different on PC: You can build a PC from your own hardware so there are very few limits to what your system can do. For this reason software must be equally as unlimited in scope. Steambox runs on a Linux os allowing any programs you want to be installed. Phones and consoles (PS/XBox) use limited proprietary hardware, and thus the software has equal limits imposed on it to ensure quality control. Windows was designed to be run on (almost) any x86 computer, with any hardware/peripherals (as long as you meet minimum requirements). A store goes against everything that is prized about PCs if MS tries to impose Android/iOS-type store lmitations.
    Reply