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Xbox's head addresses Tim Sweeney's UWP comments, more info coming at Build 2016 [Update]

Xbox chief Phil Spencer joins Microsoft's Senior Leadership Team
Xbox chief Phil Spencer joins Microsoft's Senior Leadership Team

A few hours after Epic Games' co-founder Tim Sweeney slammed Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform in general, and its possible effects on PC gaming in particular, the company's Xbox division head Phil Spencer took to Twitter to offer his own response to Sweeney's comments.

In his editorial that was posted on The Guardian's website, Sweeney was critical of UWP apps only being available from the Windows Store by default, and not from third-party stores and websites. He feared that will make Windows more of a "closed garden" for PC developers.

On his Twitter account, Spencer stated:

"Windows has always been an open ecosystem welcoming the contributions of hardware and software partners, and will always continue to be. UWP is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, and can be supported by any store. Broad range of tools. We will discuss our next steps with the Universal Windows Platform at //build later this month."

Spencer also responded to a couple of fan's questions concerning Sweeney's statements;

"@TimSweeneyEpic is a friend and he pushes for what he believes. I agree UWP has to be open and that's what we are doing.""The feedback is great, even when it's negative, I read it and it impacts our plans. Thanks for being vocal."

Update; Spencer's comments did not go unnoticed by Sweeney, who responded on his own Twitter feed:

"I like the sound of this, and look forward to thorough technical details on UWP's planned openness at //build."

Source: Phil Spencer (Twitter)

94 Comments
  • Go Phil
  • Very classy, professional response. Kudos to him.
  • Well said!
  • Was thinking the same, props to him.
  • Yep, this. Even though a few of Sweeney's gripes were easily defendable (e.g. the 30% cut the store takes -- like traditional publishers just distribute games for free??), Phil just thanks him for his feedback and avoids fueling any drama. Very classy and well-played.
  • Meanwhile, Sweeney's original article will continue to exist online and get way more exposure than Spencer's more important tweet will ever get, and this FUD will continue to be disseminated endlessly, at the expense of Microsoft.
  • This is so darn true unfortunately Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • @Coip, true however the Windows Central article would also pop up. Plus the Guardian have picked a comment from poster "Seth Glen". Have a look at the guardian website. Admittedly it's not much but something.
  • I just love this guy. Post from Windows Central on Windows 10
  • That's your only choice when you work for microsoon
  • Why do you think .NET is open source now?  Why do you think they have brought an open source, cross platform company Xamarin?      
  • I think that is the point the sane people were trying to make on the last article. Windows is not closed. Use UWP if you want, use x86 if you want. Choices are great.
  • This^
    Tim's argument deliberately ignored the ever-present alternative of using classic Win32 .exe installers to whip up emotion through FUD.
    If you don't like the windows store, then just go the standard .exe route we've been using for decades. UWP is just another option, but it's never the only option. Windows is the most open computing platform there is.
  • Exactly, there isn't any point in "fighting" UWP when you can just openly choose to put it on Steam or Origin, or not even. Phil had a great response though and it's really professional that he says he listens to feedback weather it's negative or not. Really impressed right now. Zachary Bowling - ZAD Apps
  • @ZackTheNever. Yup, the response was pretty darn good.
  • uwp is optional yes, but its also just as open as as win32.. its jsut an app model, its not dependent on the windows store as tim claims.
  • Last I checked I could still sideload UWP apps on my phone and PC.... All they'd have to do is incorporate a method that calls home to alert the user of available updates.... Fools these people are.
  • Spencer is in it
  • Because...Phil :)
  • I understand how Microsoft works; software king. I just don't understand the comments made against Microsoft though. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't I guess
  • Welcome to corporate media.
  • It's always "en vogue" to pick on Microsoft. They're working extremely hard to shake the negative perceptions that have been built over the past several years, and Satya is doing an amazing job as CEO! But everybody is so whiny these days, and the unfortunate reality is that the tech blogs and commenters in them stoke these fires as the extremely opinionated, overly vocal minority. The tech savvy ones seem to think that they understand what it takes to run a multi-billion dollar multinational company that caters to ALL walks of life, or that it takes a TON more work to build an operating system and API set than it does to build an app. They also seem to forget that Microsoft has dozens of different teams dedicated to building different products, each one with dozens of engineers split into dozens of teams to focus on dozens of different pieces of a single product. They don't realize that it takes time to get things done or that fixing one bug can introduce several other bugs. If they were software engineers, they might understand this. But the ones that complain are mostly teens and twenty-somethings (those dreaded millenials of which I am often ashamed to be part of) who have no idea what goes into building a product that will be used by millions of people around the world. They just know that they want it done they way they want and they want it now. (Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind.)
  • Satya is intent on turning MS into the next IBM. You remember IBM right...
  • You mean the one that's still around?
  • IBM was an unbreakable monopoly until the US Government stepped in and forced them to break up into smaller pieces because of federal monopoly laws. It's what allowed IBM compatible computers to gain a foothold and take over from IBM, while IBM had to refocus on other things. They are still a very large and powerful corporation, just no longer a monopoly.  Satya is very careful to make sure that MS is NOT a monopoly so that they don't get broken up. He's done quite well with that strategy, especially in the area of mobile. ;) 
  • @rhapdog. Bahaha, you should become a spin doctor! :P.
  • If Satya did any better of job preventing MS from becoming a monopoly in mobile, he would be driving to our houses to take what few phones there are out there away from us.
  • U only earn on platforms which u own. Google owns android and u tube is only earning good revenue bcoz of android as ads are targeted heavily and there is no decent ad blocker in the OS. U have to root it. If google didn't had android advantage they would have been screwed by ad blockers on windows platforms.
  • That was very very nice of my fav MSFT employee Phil.. :-)
  • Am I the only one here who's wondering how did this fit in 140 characters? XP
  • I was too, it must've been a split tweet that they put together in this article. Zachary Bowling - ZAD Apps
  • Isn't twitter removing that limitation? Maybe Phil is part of their "insider" program :-)
  • Whaaaaat? Twitter is removing it? Wasn't that the whole point of twitter. "micro" blogging???
  • Twitter has a point?  
  • Oh come on. You're just being rude now. It's pretty neat for following news and other updates
  • Yeah, and its a great way to address issues and problems directly to the source. At times I have gotten immediate response to problems, most recently the MS store not launching on my kids W10 tablet.
  • I have got better rates from Att and State Farm for tweeting them. I also got one of those ponies from Wellsfargo off twitter
  • Countless times for me too
  • I do think twitter will lose its luster if its much longer than 140 characters. 200, 250? Is that too many? We have a facebook. We dont need another facebook...
  • @scabrat, well I guess sometimes it's hard fitting a advert in 140 characters :P.
  • Thanks for clearing that up.  
  • It's interesting that the tech industry doesn't understand the benefits of UWP for the every joe (e.i. 90% of the world).  Everytime someone's says choice it's from thier own views, but what about ALL the people that a simplyfied store (e.i. what apple did) would benefit...
  • This! I have been a PC gamer for a LONG time. As I get older I don't want to deal with x86 games anymore. I don't want to MOD, I don't want to customize my settings. I have limited time to play, I just want to launch a game and play. And if I get an email, I can hit my start button, do what I need to do and then go back to the game like nothing happened. UWP is where its at for me, but people can do what works best for them.
  • I'm not trying to be a jerk, but all of what you said can be done with x86 games too. I rarely ever MOD, and I usually just let the setting be where they are (something you will still be able to do with Windows store games. Hopefully UWP will come around to be exactly what people want/need though. I'm pretty excited for it in the future, and very eager to see what some talented minds do with it. Let's be honest, Micorsoft knows what they are doing, but some of the best ideas ever come from people out there trying to prove themselves.
  • That is kind of my point though. Those were just examples. I don't need any of that, so my preference is grabbing a single download from the store (that doesn't try to change my system resolution) that I can easily jump in and out of as I need to. But ultimately my main point is; choices are good. UWP is my preference and it may not be for others. Btw, I didn't take that as you being a jerk at all. I like conversation. (and not irrational fanboy hate)
  • It's not about what MOD can be done with x86... it's the simplicity... open app store find game... not go hunt for the game and having to install steam or origin or anyother store front... it's about the 90% of people that won't be going to the internet to find game X or app X... imagen that you would have to go through the same process to purchase game digitaly for your Xbox... that would be considered a failer bacuse it won't be simple to use... they are looking to apply those benefits to all askpects of windows with UWP
  • This is why I've transitioned almost all my gaming to xbox.  So must less fuss and bother, just tell it to turn on and 'goto' whatever game I want. Yes, I miss out on things like modding that can sometimes be fun, but the reduced aggravation and cost to be able to play the latest titles make up for that. Besides, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to not have to use origin or steam.
  • Me too! I only have a few that I still like on the PC and wish they were UWP. Civ, Kerbal, SimCity, etc.
  • I can see it becoming a reason to start charging more money for the right to use on other devices
  • Agreed, not to mention the benefits of UWP development which saves a lot of time and money. Also doesn't Microsoft still offer 20% instead of 30% cut of revenue if the app / game reaches $20k or something? For a AAA title that would be reached within minutes. Not to mention that Windows Store also promotes apps and games to users which will encourage more people to buy especially if those people don't have Steam or don't generally follow gaming news etc. In my view 30% revenue is worth it for lowered development costs and higher sales. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Agreed, not to mention the benefits of UWP development which saves a lot of time and money. Also doesn't Microsoft still offer 20% instead of 30% cut of revenue if the app / game reaches $20k or something? For a AAA title that would be reached within minutes. Not to mention that Windows Store also promotes apps and games to users which will encourage more people to buy especially if those people don't have Steam or don't generally follow gaming news etc. In my view 30% revenue is worth it for lowered development costs and higher sales. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Well, you don't have to use the store. You can sideload applications, it's enabled by default and users still get the benefit of sandboxed applications.
  • This is again an answer that applies to 10% of people (tech people) not the 90% of people that don't know what sideloading applications is
  • And they can still go to Steam and buy the game itself. This is a non-issue. The Windows Store wont be the monopoly. Only a certain few people have Windows 10 and Xbox One and want the same game on both. Thats really what this is about. Devs can target W10 and Xbox with one app in the store where Steam cant do that. But that affects a few people. Besides, Steam will have better discounts and stuff. If they want to make Steam better for tablets they should make a SteamTablet skin like Steam Box so people can play games on tablets. Besides, GoG and HumbleBundle will still be a thing. Not to mention Origin and Ubisoft and the other ones I am missing. Non-issue. They just dont want to pay for being in the store even though they pay Steam and EA and Ubisoft and everyone else for being in their store. #Drama
     
  • Good response. Well done.
  • "closed garden" -> "walled garden"
  • You need a walled garden to keep the rabits out. Otherwise, all your carrots get eaten. I learned that one the hard way. :|
  • Follow the money. Epic Games is launching a digital store, like Steam, Origin, etc. Sweeney would rather not have another competitor.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit +
  • Tim Sweeney didn't seem to mind Microsoft's 'walled garden' when he took Microsoft's millions for exclusivity on Gears of War.
  • @XboxP3 is the MAN @Microsoft @Xbox =D
  • Uwp strategy is great and hope Microsoft would maintain it. I mean they don't have to dissappoint their loyal users in the long run saying that win32 was better than uwp.
  • I think the real issue was that Microsoft is governing the pricing and availability of the product on their Store, not that doubt whether anybody is welcome to submit their stuff to it. So the Microsoft dude didn't really address the concern at all, he just states the obvious without making real promises.
  • Phil should be running the company. But that would make too much sense .
  • Not really. Just because he's good at PR and gaming, that doesn't mean that he should be in charge of Microsoft. It's a massive company with fingers in a lot of pies and it's hardly in danger of tanking just because Windows Mobile isn't moving at the pace fans want it to.
  • And that's the problem...none of these fingers ever give a crap what the other is doing and they all conflict. Instead of a fist, we get five fingers with muscular dystrophy.
  • I don't think that's quite as true now as it was a few years ago otherwise the unification of Windows wouldn't be happening now. Again, just because Windows Mobile is slow-going and they have some cross-platform apps, that doesn't mean everything else in MS is helter-skelter.
  • Again, as someone posted in the early article, if he is so opposed to the many of the constraints he mentioned, why has he had zero issue with Steam so far? Someone is worried about the size of his kick-back...
  • Double-standards hypocrisy at it's finest. I'm pretty amazed at the polite and professional response from Phil. I would have pointed out such double standards and told Sweeney to stick to the steam store and Win32 exe files. Posted from my OnePlus One.
  • So...did Spencer make a statement without getting all the facts first?
  • Do you mean Sweeny?
  • *sigh* Yes. Yes I did. Thank you.
  • Exactly, Sweeny basically ran off with his mouth without knowing the details. Thanks Sweeny for putting Microsoft in a negative light all because you didn't have all the facts.  He looks like a complete jackass now.
  • Battlefield 5! Don't ask why
  • I don't consider someone who says "fight Microsoft" any friend.
  • Open communication. Both sides need to keep an open mind and try to understand each other.
  • Phil always showing class. Good on him!
  • I wish I cold be as cool as Phill... of course, my clients are not as reasonable as Sweeney
  • Win32 needs to die. It is a tired, dated, bloated, insecure, **** system that is the biggest problem with Windows today. The install process is a pain in the ass. Bloatware and crap is always trying to be installed with Win32 software. Win32 software also doesn't uninstall cleanly and completely, leaving behind dead files that muck up your registry. Good riddance I saw. If I could snap my fingers and replace all 20 million Win32 apps with 20 million UWP apps, I would do it in a heartbeat.
  • Very well said.
  • Damn, what a straight up professional and intriguing response. The UWP sure is gonna be amazing and diversified. There's now even more potential for devs to make apps independently, and still provide the convenience of automatic all-in-one location updates via the Windows Sotre. Or better yet, there could be repos by independent developers providing updates in the Windows Store. You're doing a very good job Microsoft. Glad to be a part of the Windows 10 development. Posted from my OnePlus One.
  • I imagine they'll take out any drm type stuff which likely works with the store and constant support (for that 30%) and strip a lot of security related things from it like gird party signing probably would prompt you with a trust warning since ms has no say in whether this app is trustworthy and customers used to the platform should be made aware that this is not an ms verified/curated app. So you'd still get the ease of deployment if a single package, the sandbox protecting the system as a whole to a lesser degree, and the ability to port. I just hope they don't support thus ob windows mobile, as adding another place or places ti look for apps is overkill at this point.
  • Why is everyone so vocal about Microsoft openness and so damn silent about Apple and Google confining fortress system.
  • I don't really get it, you want Mas to do all the antipiracy work, all the platform stability work, the api work, etc but then you don't want to share any profit you make from all of their work? But uf another platform like steam dies similar work, you have no problem with it? If you don't want to be charged for using the platform, make the game free, not freemium and MS gets 0$ and all is fair right? I mean it sounded like that was what he was saying... He doesn't believe people should get paid for the work they do and he doesn't care that there are alternatives where he doesn't have ti share profit, he wants all the other kids shiny toys because he's special.
  • Looks like Sweeny spoke about something he knew little of. Ashame really, you'd think he would know better...
  • I feel like we're overlooking what Phil said. He mentioned UWP apps can run in other stores and more info at build. Sounds like the Windows apps running on other platform story we heard recently.
  • Thanks for being vocal
  • Thanks for being vocal
  • Thanks for being vocal
  • Thanks for being vocal
  • Make no mistake. UWP is Microsoft's attempt to reduce gamer choice and take the air out of Steam, Origin, Uplay, GOG, Nvidia and AMD. Among other sites pcper.com lays out the case against Microsoft beautifully.
  • Comment deleted by user.
  • Well tbh the guy was right. The windows store is yet not the place to be revolutionary and bring devs over and so on. But, and that's a big but, microsoft and especially the xbox decision always did the best they could to make everything possible. So I think spence and his guys will turn the windows store in a great gameing platform. If ms fixes windows 10 at some point first tho Posted from your moms place
  • Very classy, as usual.