*Update* Xbox boss Phil Spencer has indirectly responded to Sweeney’s criticism via Twitter:
Spencer then provided a link to show more information about the company’s plans:
Before stating that more will be revealed soon:
Original story follows:
The company’s Universal Windows Platform Initiative allegedly subverts the rights of developers and restricts user freedom.
Speaking to The Guardian, Sweeney describes Microsoft’s recent actions as “the most aggressive move” it has ever made in regard to platform monopolisation.
Microsoft has begun launching features exclusive to UWP, and Sweeney believes it’s “effectively telling developers that you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem.”
“They’re curtailing users’ freedom to install fully featured PC software, and subverting the rights of developers and publishers to maintain a direct relationship with their customers.”
According to Xbox Boss Phil Spencer, the new initiative will allow developers to create apps that will work across a range of devices, such as Windows 10 and Xbox One.
Related: Upcoming Xbox One Games in 2016
However, Sweeney believes this will restrict how developers interact and provide products to their audiences, with many applications now restricted to the Windows Store.
Microsoft is “structuring its operating system to advantage its own store while unfairly disadvantaging competing app stores, as well as developers and publishers who distribute games directly to their customers.”
As it stands, it isn’t possible to download UWP applications outside of the Windows Store, nor can you launch or update them.
“It’s true that if you dig far enough into Microsoft’s settings-burying UI, you can find a way to install these apps by enabling side-loading,” Sweeney said. “But in turning this off by default, Microsoft is unfairly disadvantaging the competition.”
Related: Xbox One Review
Sweeney held nothing back in his assault on Microsoft’s service, openly comparing it to Valve’s Steam store.
“Valve’s Steam distribution service is booming with over 100m users, and publishers such as Adobe, Autodesk, Blizzard, Riot Games and EA are operating highly successful businesses selling their games and content directly to consumers.
“Microsoft’s situation, however, is an embarrassment. Seven months after the launch of Windows Store alongside Windows 10, the place remains devoid of the top third-party games and signature applications that define the PC experience. Where’s Photoshop? Grand Theft Auto V? Fifa 2016?”
Epic Games sold the Gears of War franchise to Microsoft in January 2014. The upcoming Gears of War 4 is likely being developed as an exclusive for Xbox One and Windows 10, ironic considering Sweeney’s concerns.
What do you think? Are you worried about the direction Microsoft is taking with PC gaming? Let us know in the comments below.