Xbox in your PC: The Universal Windows Platform is premature, but not evil

In the article, he explicitly requests that gamers oppose UWP, stating in plain terms:

"Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry — including consumers (and gamers in particular)."

Tim Sweeney has since backed down on some of his stronger hyperbole, admitting that he had no proof of Microsoft's apparent "evil" intentions. Indeed, Microsoft's own knowledge of UWP is limited, as the sprawling project is barely emerging from infancy. As Windows Central readers will know, UWP's implications for consumers, developers, and Microsoft are vast, far beyond the PC gaming market where Sweeney's personal stake lies. Not only are those implications broad in scope, they're absolutely necessary.

Beyond the promise of Windows 10 Mobile receiving apps on the back of Universal Windows Apps (UWA) developed for PC, forgetting the capabilities for UWAs to conform to almost any device form factor, present and future. From IoT to Windows Holographic, to Xbox One, phones and PC, UWP is a utopic vision of software development unity that just hasn't been attempted on this scale before.

The roots of Sweeney's concerns aren't without cause, especially when gaming is concerned. Speak to the wider community who isn't actively tracking (or interested) where Microsoft has been taking the company recently. You'll discover lingering resentment, bad memories of the maligned Games for Windows Live program, and a bunch of memes depicting how much Internet Explorer sucks — aspects Sweeney was quick to draw on for his Guardian piece (without the memes, sadly).

Despite owning the platform, I'd argue that Microsoft is a total outsider when it comes to PC gaming, and they've earned that position through years of neglect, bad ideas and poor messaging.

Well, times have changed, and it's time to give Microsoft another chance.

Universal What Platform?

The Universal Windows Platform is a method for packaging an application for distribution on Windows 10 devices. With minimal code tweaks, a developer can publish a responsive app to Windows 10 PCs, Windows 10 mobile phones, HoloLens, and eventually the Xbox One — taking advantage of every input you can imagine, whether it's mouse and keyboard, controller, touch, or air touch as seen on HoloLens. Sweeney attests that UWP packages sit in opposition to Win32 executables, a format that encompasses everything from Steam-distributed games to Photoshop to Spotify.

One of Sweeney's key criticisms was that UWAs need to be distributed through Microsoft's Windows 10 app store. On this point, he was off the mark — you can 'sideload' UWA very easily, arguably more quickly than you can obtain Epic Games' own Unreal Tournament reboot, which requires an irritating launcher and an "Epic Games Account." And Twitter user @aL3891 recently demonstrated how a UWP can be packaged into a Win32 .msi installer using features supported by Microsoft.

He also complains that Microsoft (like Steam) takes a cut of a developer's sales for apps sold through this storefront, in addition to the fact UWAs gain access to specific Windows 10 features currently unavailable to typical Win32 installations, including the all-important Xbox Live API.

When it comes to AAA games, which Sweeney's Epic Games are well known for, the Windows 10 Store admittedly provides a sub-optimal experience for finding the titles you want. If you're hunting down Quantum Break in the Windows 10 Store, you might have to wade through an avalanche of terrible mobile titles and other apps you're uninterested in to find it. Right now, the Windows 10 Store isn't designed to distribute and promote big titles like that. As an example, the download bar doesn't display accurate progress information. Fairly basic stuff.

Windows 10 Store

UWP also carries other limitations. It's impossible to use many third-party features with a game packaged as UWP, including GPU-specific options, or software packages that allow for mouse and keyboard macros, or even third-party game capture software. Universal Windows Apps are secure by their very nature, making user-generated mods difficult, if not impossible to create. Microsoft has heard these quality-of-life concerns and confirmed that improvements are on the way.

Project Centennial is part of those gains, as it will enable classic Win32 apps to be packaged for UWP. Those apps will think they have full access to Windows, but in reality, they will run in a contained environment. Microsoft has also confirmed that UWP will open itself up to other distribution storefronts, most likely including Steam, with more information coming across GDC, Build and beyond.

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The ink is barely dry on Microsoft's plans for UWP, and to fill in the gaps in our knowledge with alarmism and anxiety is a waste of energy at best and incredibly counterproductive at worst. Microsoft is still working out the details on how this proposition will work across Xbox One and Windows. They announced just the other day that Xbox game developers are now able to connect their online games to networks outside of Xbox Live. Whether you play Rocket League on Xbox One or Steam, soon the player pool will be united, with Playstation Network likely to follow. These features and policies aren't dreamed up on a whim; they're the result of months of planning and development.

It's thoroughly unfair to expect that UWP could've been rolled out overnight with all features and policies ready and in place to use across everything it could potentially encompass. Project Centennial isn't fully completed, Xbox One doesn't have its promised mouse support or the full UWP app store (although, it's on its way).

Some of the things Sweeney considers UWP's shortcomings are merely growing pains, but others are intentional and come with substantial benefits.

Console Conundrums

When the Windows 10 Store picks up the quality of life features that Steam users take for granted, games packaged for UWP will provide something that has never existed on PC previously — a console-like gaming experience.

Sweeney lauds the fact Win32 apps can be distributed from literally anywhere, whether it's Steam, Blizzard Entertainment's launcher or the malware ridden SourceForge.net. The fact that Windows development is truly open has led to unprecedented positive innovations that have shaped the modern world, and this is why Windows is such a powerhouse.

Steam

Games, apps, and services delivered as Win32, via Steam as an example, aren't going to go away as a result of UWP, at least not in the foreseeable future. Valve boss Gabe Newell voiced similar concerns about Windows 8.1's app store and its UWP predecessor back in the day too. The Steampocalypse never came to pass, nor will it.

Even when you disregard the fact Microsoft has effectively confirmed that Universal Windows Apps will be capable of being distributed via means beyond the Windows 10 Store, there's no reason why UWP and Win32 can't coexist — they offer differing experiences.

A traditional Win32 game potentially allows power users to get more bang for their buck. Full access to the game's files not only allows for fun gameplay mods but, occasionally, the modding community will work together to improve a game from the ground up. The apocalyptic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl is a notorious example of a PC game that benefits immensely from mods as the game is virtually unplayable without them, due to bugs and other anomalies. Garry's Mod transitioned from quirky Half Life 2 sandbox to a massive indie hit, going on to sell over 6 million copies. Games packaged for UWP aren't easily tinkered with. Of course, this has both pros and cons.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - With mods.

UWAs are sandboxed, meaning they can't take over your PC to the same extent a Win32 program potentially can. Microsoft added User Account Control (those annoying security pop-ups which darken your screen) a few years back to rein in the power and potential harm a Win32 app can inflict on your PC. That openness has forced Microsoft to include baseline anti-virus defenses into Windows too, in the form of Defender.

"The [console and PC experiences] are uniquely different in ways that we want to embrace both."— Phil Spencer on MNR

Typically, people who game on consoles or smartphones don't have to navigate these problems, because not only do those contained app packages have to sail through the platform's internal testing, but they just don't wield the same power that a Win32 app does. When you uninstall a UWA, they don't leave any traces of themselves either, no cluttering folders, toolbars, annoying launchers, just clean, smartphone-like installations and updates, storing user data in the cloud. The console-like, smartphone-like experience is a key benefit of UWP.

For developers, it means that they can serve their AAA games to an audience that would rarely stray from Candy Crush and its various casual derivatives. The fact Microsoft selected Rise of the Tomb Raider — with its iconic brand — to test out UWP's AAA gaming chops should come as no surprise. It also means that their games are far less likely to be cracked, as UWP regularly checks the integrity of an app's files.

Running a UWA game from the Windows 10 Store might be a simpler and more familiar experience to an audience who has grown up with and become accustomed to the simplicity of smartphone app stores. I downloaded EA's PC MMO Star Wars The Old Republic recently, and was forced to trawl through forum posts and modify game files in Notepad to get the game to run.

It's rarely a huge problem, but as a Xbox gamer who is accustomed to, you know, games just working out of the box, Win32 gaming can be an incredibly annoying and fractured experience.

If UWP can deliver a more regulated environment for games, that'll potentially bring PC gaming to millions of people who prefer the ease of use that consoles and smartphone games afford them. If you want to play games with the full force of capabilities Win32 offers, tweaking, modding, and using third-party enhancements, then that experience is here to stay.

Indeed, none of this is to say UWP won't eventually evolve to adopt some of the benefits of Win32, but while we wait for UWP to mature, it'll coexist with Win32 gaming nicely, rather than in spite of it.

How UWP will benefit both Xbox and PC gamers

Microsoft's battle cry is "Mobile First, Cloud First" and it encompasses everything the company is doing right now. "Mobile" means mobility, and "cloud" refers to data and services travelling between you and Microsoft's massive server farms. UWP is designed from the ground up for mobility, and we're already beginning to see the benefits of that.

Microsoft updated the Xbox One with UWP capabilities last November with its New Xbox One Experience update (NXOE). We're yet to see Microsoft Office on the Xbox One, but the Xbox One Avatars app does appear to be sharing UWP code with its Windows 10 PC counterpart. The menu button on your Xbox One controller suddenly begins to make sense.

NXOE - Dashboard

Xbox dashboard (Image credit: Windows Central)

In some ways, I feel like NXOE was the true launch of the Xbox One, but as I mentioned earlier, getting all of Windows 10's pieces into place has taken years, and still has years ahead before it reaches maturity. We're going to get the full rundown on how Microsoft wants to shape gaming at Microsoft's Build event at the end of March, but they've already given us a lot to think about and discuss already.

On my Surface Pro 3, I can download DOSBox, hit http://GOG.com?pp=2e2a30bb154779e00c75f6f710777bc9f68e33b7 and play Wasteland 1 that came out in the 80s without issues. As long as your specs are up to scratch, and you're willing to go through the tweaks or additional programs to get older games running, you can potentially play any Windows game on your 2016 PC. With Project Centennial, Microsoft could bring some of that magic to Xbox One and streamline compatibility on PC in the process.

Project Centennial + UWP + Xbox One + mouse support = a ton of classic PC games fully compatible with your modern computer and Xbox One

I believe that part of the reason Microsoft wants to get mouse support on Xbox One isn't necessarily so you can use UWP Office more efficiently, it's so they can package older PC games for Xbox One and modern computers without having the developers fully retrofit the games for things like controller support.

Xbox 360 backwards compatibility was just the beginning. Tons of classic games like Bioware's incredible Knights of the Old Republic have already hit iOS, repackaged for Apple's easy-to-use console-like gaming store. The combination of Centennial and UWP could lead to thousands of classic games across your Xbox One and modern PC, without the annoyance of file tweaking or forum spelunking. And those apps could also plug into Xbox Live and all the benefits W10 has to offer. Of course, for UWP to achieve that sort of software renaissance, it has to be open to as many developers, publishers and technologies as possible, and from what we've heard, it appears Microsoft agrees.

Ultimate Windows Platform

The 'U' in UWP stands for 'Universal', but I think it should stand for 'Ultimate.' Windows 10 is the final destination for Microsoft; there isn't going to be a Windows 11, or 12. Updates to Windows 10 are going to be free moving forward, meaning the days of paid upgrades are totally gone.

Microsoft makes piles of cash licensing Windows to businesses, and through their cloud platforms like Office 365 and Azure. However, when it comes to Windows as a service, Microsoft would not only have to be insane to not try and develop a monetized consumer platform within W10 — they simply have no choice.

Microsoft would not only have to be insane to not try and develop a monetized consumer platform within W10 — they simply have no choice.

Through the popularity of iOS, Android and home consoles, millions of consumers have stood up and yelled loud and clear that they want a standardized software experience, and that's what UWP offers. The fact that the console versions eclipsed Minecraft on PC is a testament to that fact.

Simply put, UWP has a long way to go before it can achieve its full potential, and it's understandable, and in some ways encouraging, that consumers give Microsoft a (respectfully worded) hard time about it. Big corporations are incredibly good at disappointing their customers. Valve themselves managed to draw the ire of PC gamers recently, planning to charge for mods distributed through Steam. Skepticism has always been healthy, and will continue to be.

Still, I believe it's worth giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. The guys and girls who run Xbox are gamers themselves, they use Steam and even presented it on stage during the HoloLens reveal. When I interviewed Xbox platform head Mike Ybarra about NXOE last year, I framed some of my questions from the assumption that Microsoft wanted to take on Steam directly — Mike was quick to shut me down, saying they had no intention of doing that:

"I don't like to use the terminology like "take on Steam", I'm a big Steam user myself, I probably play more games on Windows than on console. I love the fact that Steam exists on Windows 10. Will we want to have a great robust store that has first-party and third-party games all the way from AAA down to mobile phones? Absolutely. We want to make the Windows Store an alternative for developers to distribute their games and for customers to acquire them."We don't necessarily see it as "taking on Steam", or Valve, because I think Valve is so much more than their distribution store. We love their games on our consoles, we love their games on Windows, and we think they do a lot to help Windows gaming in general."

I'd argue that Microsoft has possibly shoehorned AAA titles into UWP too early, but certain features are hard to test without setting it free into the wild. There are still questions about usability, particularly when it comes to hardware nuances like SLI, V-Sync, full-screen exclusive mode and so on. I'm one who is generally uninterested in mods and enjoys the ease of use and standardization that a console affords me, so games packaged for UWP are an attractive proposition, regardless of the storefront.

People like Sweeney are filling the blanks in their knowledge with fear and negativity, and it's understandable. We're used to getting screwed over by big companies. The negative PR might've hurt Microsoft, but it'll give them the opportunity to hear people's concerns and respond appropriately, whether vocally or in the policies they'll use to shape UWP.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wants people to love Windows, and I'm sure he's well aware that part of that is openness. Free Office apps on iOS, SQL Server on Linux, Microsoft's Open Technologies (opens in new tab) initiative, the purchase of Xamarin those are all decisions that came from the top down.

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Phil Spencer and the Xbox team are well aware that Steam is the standard for AAA PC game distribution. Whether they try to emulate Steam a little more in the Windows 10 Store, or distribute their AAA UWP games like Quantum Break directly on Valve's store remains to be seen — and that's the entire point — we don't know what their plans are yet. I humbly request for people to stow their pitchforks for a few more weeks, wait for Build 2016 (opens in new tab), and see what Microsoft has in store.

When you disregard the past, and follow today's Microsoft, it's plain to see that UWP is not evil in intent. Not only is it an opportunity for standardization and universal distribution, but it's an opportunity for Microsoft to prove that they're dedicated to independent companies, and the openness that has typified PC gaming, and Windows development in general.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

61 Comments
  • Nice article
  • it wil be a no from here
  • Rock on Windows 10
  • i've never been a fan of steam... for lack of options it's not horrible per se and their sales are awsome... the fact still remains it's part of it's own world... with UWP and store everything is part of the OS... i think of steam more akin to using bluestack on win 10 for some games that just aren't available on the platform... however, when they are bluestack will become irrelavent...
  • Bluestacks is an android emulator. Steam is a store front that provides products and services. Not comparable.
  • I think maybe (not to presume) his point was that Steam is something you have to install to support the actual apps you want to install. I see his point. Steam isn't fun or entertaining, to me. It's just something I have to have so that Fallout stays up-to-date and is installed. Personally, for most of the non-UWP games on my PC, if I could have obtained them from the store, that would have been preferable.
  • Jeddic you are correct Sir/Ma'am... Electric Jack is just short sighted and not of understanding of my analogy... Steam and BlueStacks are both vehicles with which to get content otherwise unavailable natively within the Windows Store Ecosystem... and he failed to see that
  • "something that has never existed on PC previously — a console-like gaming experience" Most PC gamers are not looking for a crap console experience, thats why they game of $1000+ PC's. They already have everything console players have plus a hell of a lot more. If you want a "console-like" experience as you put it you already have that as well with Steam big picture mode and Steam Link for your TV. There is nothing new Microsoft can bring other then their exclusive Xbox titles like Halo to the PC, and unless they do that to entice people to even try the Windows Store for serious PC games and not just mobile crap, then Microsoft has no chance to break into the PC gaming market, not to mention the fact everyone still remembers the disaster that was GFWL, and Microsoft's killing of popular PC franchises as they more and more focused on the Xbox.  
  • I did mention some of these things. I agree that they've earned their position as an outsider in PC gaming. The console-like experience is ease of use and simplicity of installations etc. not just playing games on your TV. Even when writing the article, I couldn't get XCOM to run properly on my PC without digging through forums to troubleshoot some of the problems, that's annoying to some, UWP can fix that. Thanks for reading.
  • While it is annoying when something goes wrong and you have to hunt around in forums for answers, mess with files etc. What are you going to do when a new game on the Windows store doesn't work? At least I can t try to fix the games that don't work by messing with the files. On the Windows store, I am SOL. UWP will never be bug free or frustration free for the same reason win32 on the desktop isn't. Too many hardware configurations with too many differences between software running on it. No two systems are alike which is why this model won't be embraced by PC gamers. It will take what we currently have and cut us off from being able to fix the problems that occur between the apps and our own PC.
  • Xbox certified games have to pass a level of QA before they can hit the store and be certified. Outside of that might not be thoroughly ideal - but a lot of the problems you encounter today, like running stuff at resolutions outside of your default (game boots, resolution swap freaks out the client, and it crashes) and things like running a launcher as administrator or creating firewall exceptions would totally go away. UWP eliminates lots of common problems by its very nature.
  • Lol amen to that. Yeah metro apps arnt perfect ive had to use powershell a few times to get rid of stubborn apps
  • I've never had a Windows Store app not work, either on my phone, or my PCs. However, just yesterday I wanted to play LoL, and the app crashed every time I tried to launch it. Not to mention since I haven't played in a few weeks, it will probably need several updates when I do get it to run. If it were a UWP app, not only would it likely be harder to hack, but it would be up-to-date and working all the time.
  • Console like as in simple install and play. No launchers, no download clients, no hunting for files and no waiting for clients to update or browsers to launch just to play your games. I'm a PC gamer, own an Xbox One that I primarily use for Skype and playing Rise of the Tomb Raider, purchased from the Windows Store on my gaming PC IS a console like experience. Simply click the live tile and launch it, no hassles, no updates outside of the Windows store. Steam and Origin and others were the first step in getting gamers past having to choose a directory to install games and having different exe and setup files per game, entering in activation codes from the back of paper manuals. Gaming on a PC has scared away many casual gamers as the barrier has always been that you had to know something about PCs and folder structures and more to play a game on a PC, even having controller mapping and keyboard issues from game to game. Steam, Origin and started the consumer gaming on PC via a one stop shop, revolution. The Windows Store is making it even easier for consumers. No more, go install X client and then visit their store, create another account, install game and keep everything updated. It is simply, go to the Windows Store, install game, play. That is a console like experience. Buy game, install, play.
  • Aye, I've always had mid-range gaming machines historically, but as my free time slipped away as I got older, I just wanted that reliability that consoles can afford me, and millions of console gamers do too. Hopefully UWP can deliver some of that, providing Microsoft don't abuse the power of an embedded store - nothing they've done recently indicates they want to do this though (nor would they get away with it, probs). Thanks for reading.
  • I agree. Your welcome, great article, it was a joy to read and was well written and well though out.
  • Thanks man :')
  • You're welcome! ☺
  • The sentence "but as my free time slipped away as I got older" touches my heart so I have to log in to upvote your reply. On the topic: I think I can take the Windows store as, according to Microsoft's words on future of the platform, just another alternative to Steam, Origin, and friends. With a little comfort of not needed another account and client.
  • Origin is a piece of ****! It in no way can compare to Steam (not in catalog nor ease of use), even GOG is a better store (despite it lack luster and dated catalog)
  • What's so bad about Origin? I haven't had any issues with it.
  • PC gamers missed out on halo though, and that's got to hurt real bad lol. Not me though as I've got a PC and Xbox ;) will be buying a ps4 soon too.
  • I have no intention of playing Halo on PC, but I hope they'll launch it on PC. If they want people to believe their buy once, play anywhere rhetoric, they should dive in.
  • Thats just not true. Anecdotally, I am a candy crusher who wants nothing more than a simplified gaming experience on his not-so-powerful PC. I am not currently looking to buy a console. What becomes of me?
  • Console experience will stay, for sure. It's where I intend to do the vast majority of my gaming.
  • Great article.. and it also looks like I made it into a pic as one of your Xbox Live followers lol. #followback
  • Tiny bit famous
  • Haha, will do, want me to blur it out? Sorry about that.
  • Lol no blur needed, it was a pretty cool surprise!
  • Lol no blur needed, it was a pretty cool surprise!
  • :) I added you back now anyways. Thanks bud.
  • What I really hope for is more compatibility between platforms. Right now you kind of have to stick with a single platform to get the best experience, as the user accounts, communities, achievements, and games themselves are completely separate most of the time. It would be awesome for developers and consumers if Steam and UWP/Xbox Live could share a lot of these things. I hope the cross-platform multiplayer we're starting to hear about is the start of that.
  • Yeah, I hope Microsoft announce some partnerships at Build. Steam, of course, would be massive.
  • Universal = all device can share app together and less cost to repair bug.
  • Nicely written article. I'm personally excited to see where UWP apps go. While I have no problem with games on the desktop, I don't think it can hurt to make getting them simpler for regular people. I think people who game in the PC need to stop thinking that console-like automatically means low quality. This is coming from someone who plays on both console and PC.
  • Agreed! Thanks for the kind comments. :)
  • Sweeny is a greedy, brainless 7urd
  • Awesome job Jez! Great piece!!!
  • Thanks dude!
  • Xbox One Dock. Slip your phone in and it becomes a gaming machine. You heard it first from Poopyfinger.
  • Cheeki breeki iv damke
  • Jez be careful writing these intelligent articles that aren't explicitly about gaming. They will have you another beat soon if you keep this up.
  • Haha, thanks man.
  • The right time for people like Sweeny to voice their concerns is now, before they've become reality.  As the author of this article says, the concerns are not without reason.  I'm not just referring to Microsoft either.  After all, what good example do we have of a company providing both the platform and the store that really gives alternate distribution channels a fair shake?  The iPhone?  Android?  Kindle?  In my opinion, the closed app store model on the iPhone is the most damaging thing Apple has ever done to consumers, precisely because everyone else has gone down the same road.  Maybe Sweeny was a bit over the top, but Microsoft needs to hear this kind of thing, and loud, or they'll likely end up exactly where Sweeny predicted.  
  • I agree in general, but I think the way Sweeny has gone about it is needlessly damaging, particularly in his first piece where he shows nothing short of staggering ignorance about the capabilities of the platform. Many consumers barely read past the headlines. I have faith that Microsoft will make good on their promise to keep it as open as possible.
  • Apple has always been about the closed experience. Google has historically approached products taking them from open to more closed as they matured and more users got on board. Microsoft has generally had a platform of openness, both on the application and hardware front. However, people have been abandoning MS platforms because the closed model offers an ease and safety that the open model does not. Microsoft is working to bring the best of both worlds to Windows users.
  • Great Microsoft... love UWP...
  • I just unistalled SW:TOR on my PC cause it was taking up 38GB of space on my SSD and I hadn't played it in years.  No one I know plays it anymore :/
  • Shame, I kinda like it. I hope it gets an Xbox One release when they add mouse support.
  • Could MS (Nadella) be abandoning Xbox as hardware? Hiding sales numbers, not putting proper fight against PlayStation etc. all points to that direction.
  • Certainly not! Xbox Live makes them a lot of money, and Xbox as a platform is a great vehicle for good relationships with consumers - something MS has commonly lacked.
  • "Project Centennial + UWP + Xbox One + mouse support = a ton of classic PC games fully compatible with your modern computer and Xbox One" Except for the fact that x64 doesn't support 16 bit, and a lot more issues that exist with MS-DOS/Win9x vs NT. That is why DOSbox is such a popular way to play those classics, because the current OS simply does not use those instructions anymore.
  • Well I didn't necessarily mean that old, heh
  • Forget about XBox in my PC. I want my Steam library in my XBox!
  • Very well thought out observations on the UWP reality. I'm definitely looking forward to what comes next, which is a refreshing feeling when it comes to Windows.
  • If UWP is pretty mature then don't launch it. Missing SLI,Crossfire,Free sync ,G sync support along with absent modding support won't win it any fans. Steam and gog pretty much destroy any attempts by Microsoft to enter PC gaming. Their Xbox escapade for so many years has cost them the PC gaming crowd which is greater than all the console crowd combined. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I agree in general, if they want to be taken seriously in that space they need to do a lot better. A core PC gamer doesn't want to be subjected to Candy Crush clones while searching for a real game.
  • This kinda misses the point. UWP without a LOT of changes is not going to appeal to the hardcore PC gamer crowd. Granted. Absolutely. Instead, who it will appeal to are two audiences: 1) the Candy Crushers of the world, for which there IS a valid corner of the gamer market, and 2) those who do want those big, blockbuster AAA titles, with beefier, more upgradable, malleable, and cutting edge PC hardware than what you can have in a console, and/or on a laptop/desktop where you can switch from a full desktop Windows experience straight into a game with a few clicks, and yet, want it with all the ease and instant "it just works" gratification of a no-fuss console-like experience. THESE two are who UWP is for. So the fact that it doesn't support all the "gear head" bells and whistles of Win32, while true, is sort of a "yeah, so?" considering the audience it will serve. So I view this complaint as invalid. To the concern of UWP and Win32 ending up in an antagonistic fist fight on the PC, or that one will end up doing away with the other, or undermining it: this I do find as a valid concern on its face, but one I also find unfounded. In other words, I believe with as different as the audiences will be, I think both formats will be well populated by their target audiences, and as a result, development will remain robust for both. It'll mostly just be "everyone to your corner", with a little beneficial cross-bleed-over to boot, and the PC platform as a whole only bolstered by the influx of the casual... ....any concerns of the platform being "dumbed down" or "polluted" by this strikes my ears as ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but the "master race" "snob-whining". I think your elitist little corner of the world will remain largely unchanged, and if it is changed, it'll only be changed for the better by way of the tide raising all ships. No, the only concern here that I see as both valid AND sound, is distribution difficulties in the Windows store by way of a ton of junk games with similar names making the search more difficult. But a) I think a lot of AAA gamers are astute enough to not fall for the wrong game, and b) I think over time, MS will work to mitigate this. Simply having a carefully curated separate AAA section of the store would be a very easy and probably pretty effective solution. So even this concern I don't see as a long-term problem. In short, this all sounds good to me...with the caveat that we've got a little bit of wilderness to get through first. Cheers!
  • Great article, Jez! Yes, I see a lot of growing pains ahead, and perhaps a fair critique of Windows 10, WaaS, and the UWP is that they should've probably put an extra year or so into laying the infrastructure before rollout. It's been a bit of a mess. I've used this analogy before, but it's like they built this ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE house...but realized too late that they forgot to install the plumbing first. That said, looking beyond the tip of my nose, and considering the long term, I am practically giddy with how good this could all be, and how optimistic I am for a glorious outcome! And to your point: I see ABSOLUTELY ZERO grounds for alarm over UWP subsuming Win32 to the detriment of the hardcore PC gamer, nor do I see Windows 10 becoming a draconian one-gate town via the store like iOS is. So I think "Epic Mr. Sweeny's" fear mongering black helicopter is either fueled by genuine, good-natured alarmism borne by misunderstanding and irrational fear.....or much more likely, by at best only partially valid profit-driven concerns, rather than a genuine concern for the gamers at large like he positions himself. Instead, I see a period of birth pains, and difficulties, and naysayers, and fear mongerers, brought about in part by their own trolldom, and yet, in part by truly legitimate gripes over MS's own semi-botched execution of 10. But afterwards, when all the smoke clears and the waves settle down, I see both formats existing side by side in a completely complimentary symbiosis, having the Win32 "gear heads" still fully accommodated, while the PC platform at large is quite meaningfully bolstered by the influx of "regular gamers" by a more casual, more console-like UWP experience. Cheers!
  • Nice speech. I think you're right a out the house and plumbing thing. I also think they had this great idea and they felt they had to push it to the market so fast so as to still be in the game. I also think maybe they built that HOUSE because they needed shelter. And they had to use what was on ground. Now that they have quality materials, they are being messy about where to patch and what to do first. But certainty is we are not collapsing that HOUSE. Let's be optimistic, they've gotten a few improvement so far. And for an organization like MICROSOFT, I think it's a target for bad-press and haters alike. They should read all about The Godfather -it is all about business. We've got to do what we've got to do to stay alive. Nobody blames nobody for wanting to win but everyone still don't understand that in times of great competition, there must be a loser. So I feel in the not-to-far future, everyday, we MSFT lovers will be getting interesting features and salient attributes that indeed makes us unique. To put in Satya's voice: ..."and that is why they will want to join us."
  • Well, we MSFT buff love MSFT. And whatever they are trying to di, I think they have great ideas. But Rome wasn't built in a day and it's optimal to see MSFT giving us a lot to talk and deliberate about everyday. It shows a team of dogged optimist toiling everyday to put their fragments to live. For people like me it has always been MSFT and will always be. It's the idea for the future and I pray it keeps getting better for us. Probably, someday, most of us would get to look back and say "I remember when our development days." And you write well JEZ.