"I genuinely worry about the future of Microsoft," says Epic Games founder

Tim Sweeney not too pleased with the "closed" nature of Windows 8, also says that virtual reality will "completely change the world."

DayZ creator Dean Hall is not the only developer who is not terribly pleased with Microsoft and Windows 8. Speaking with Polygon, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney said he's concerned about the "closed" nature of Microsoft's latest operating system.

"I genuinely worry about the future of Microsoft," Sweeney said. "They've locked down this Windows 8. They say future app developers should focus there, but you can only ship that with Microsoft's permission and Microsoft's approval through Microsoft's store. And that sucks compared to the open nature of the PC platform before…"

On the other hand, Sweeney praised Valve's line of Steam Machines, describing the product line as the "most open high-end gaming platform ever."

But Sweeney isn't ready to write Microsoft off entirely in the PC gaming space. He said he's hopeful, due in part to the recent senior management shakeup, that Microsoft will become more "open" as it relates to developing for the Windows platform. If they don't, Linux and Steam OS are a good backup plan, he said.

"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."

Also in Polygon's interview, Sweeney said the virtual reality market is going to explode in popularity and prominence over time. "We're doing a huge amount of research in VR, working with Oculus kits," he said. "We see this as a technology that will influence every game and every platform."

Sweeney went as far to say that virtual reality technology, like the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift or Sony's Project Morpheus, are going to revolutionize the world in a more meaningful way than smartphones did.

"It's technology that I think will completely change the world," Sweeney said. "I think It's going to be a bigger phenomenon than smartphones. You have to put it in perspective and realize we're in maybe the [first-generation] iPhone stage right now where you have this really cool device, but it has some real flaws that prevents it from being a pervasive device for everyone. There might be an audience for 10 million users of the current tech, but as it improves with each generation, the audience is going to keep growing until eventually you're going to reach a critical point where you can put on one of these devices and have an experience that is effectively indistinguishable from reality."

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
255 comments
rarson
rarson

Someone needs to tell Sweeney that his games aren't apps. Seriously, who gives a fuck about apps? Especially on a Windows computer. Developers can make games for Windows 8 the same way they did for Windows 7.

Brakkyn
Brakkyn

My PC runs Windows 7.  I helped my mother purchase a new system that had Windows 8.  Even for daily mundane tasks, it wasn't as good as to be expected.

It seems like they change or "improve" things just for the sake of it, and then you're stuck when they drop support of an operating system that ain't broke.

MrFacepunch
MrFacepunch

Hehe Tim Sweeney...Tims Weeney more like.

nightsinner
nightsinner

It just amazes me how Microsoft is so reluctant to listen to what people want.  There is definitely a middle ground where a company can innovate and still give people what they want.  People like a light, simple, open, easy to navigate, easy to customize operating system that runs all the most popular software and peripherals.  It's not rocket science.  Microsoft has become so stingy and so afraid to lose market dominance that they have made it a self fulfilling prophecy.  Wake the hell up!      

nicecall
nicecall

complete backwards compatibility and directx is the only thing keeping microsoft Windows going strong for so long.  As long as they keep that up, they cannot fail.  Does seem weird they never bothered keeping backwards compatibility with all their consoles, but yet we can use play almost every windows game still in windows 7 with a few exceptions.

Windows 8 is a bit of a mystery, I can expect Microsoft to bury this under the rug soon enough and bring us Windows 9 which will probably give us all the interface options we had in windows 7 out of the box.

I wouldnt listen to Epic whatever, they are noobs.

hystavito
hystavito

"I think It's going to be a bigger phenomenon than smartphones."

I don't think it will.  Smartphones are huge because they tap into basic human behaviours and tendencies.  Things like convenience, lack of will to spend any time learning, ease of use, laziness if you will :).  Mobile software sales are huge because they are also easy, instant, and cheap.  These are things that compel people who would normally not care at all for games, or computing in general, to fiddle with their phones constantly.  And of course, because it rides on the back of the previous explosion of mobile phones, well everyone already wanted that and they are always with you.


I don't see that with VR.  Even if the devices became as light and easy to wear as a pair of glasses, you still can't see and do other things while you're wearing them.  You can't pause for a moment to watch TV, yell at your kids, move and do things while your out.


For VR to work the same way as smartphones, we need technology and connectivity way beyond anything we have today or will have for a very long time.

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

Can Valve compete with Direct X ?   Somebody please chime in.

mos2000
mos2000

Instead of this article reading like this - a more wise dev would have simply said "why can't MS get it right in back to back versions"  These devs just re-invent the wheel with their complaints:


MS comes out with a good version

Everybody praises it

MS comes out with a sh---y version

The sky is falling

MS comes out with a good version

Everybody praises it


It's the same never ending cycle since the frickin 90's.  Get a grip and focus your complaints in the right area -- them making back to back functional windows.  

The sky's not falling but developer input focused correctly can help keep the sun shining a little longer

drysprocket
drysprocket

MS is basically stuck in a time travel paradox. They see the bleak future for them, and are trying to change it. But their very act of doing so, is what's going to turn out causing the bleak future in the end. 


I love self fulfilling prophecy ish; always entertaining to watch.

souldomain1984
souldomain1984

Closed nature? What do they mean by that?


I own Windows 7 but I've got a test version of Windows 8.1, and I can do and install all the stuff the way I did on Windows 7.


Steam runs. Uplay runs. Battle.net runs.


And probably any other crap (like Origin) a developer would love to force down your throat. Would run, too!


It seems that some developers are shitting their pants because they smell a possible future. Which I'm sure M$ already considered strongly, to make additional coins. But I don't think they really will do it. Because then a lot of Molotov Cocktails would rain upon M$ HQ. Too many people are depending on Windows.


And I'm sure M$ employees wouldn’t want a Molotov Cocktail in their prick faces! :D

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I don't understand what is being said here. Does MS need to give permission for every game released on Windows 8?

krystyla
krystyla

Closed? The store no one uses is closed that's it, you can still access the registry and tweak windows all you want, install 3rd party programs making windows completely different...

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

So much for Microsoft promising they care about PC gaming again.


Windows 8 is a huge piece of garbage.

charlesswann
charlesswann

Why be worried? An MSless world is a better place.

doggiezilla
doggiezilla

Because he knows Xbox One and Windows 8 sucks.

19James89
19James89

Is he aware that Microsoft has an operating revenue of $76bn and rising per fiscal year? He'll be saying he's worried about Apple next. Come on bro, seriously? I'd worry about Sony's financial problems and Nintendo's ever increasing irrelevance before I'd worry about Microsoft's future.

rarson
rarson

@Unfallen_Satan  

The app store, apparently, even though nobody wants to develop apps for Windows.

rarson
rarson

@Brakkyn  

Windows 8 is better than Windows 7 if you take a little time to figure out the differences.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@nightsinner You do realize that "light" and "simple" are in complete contradiction with "runs all the most popular software and peripherals" right?

You might as well be saying "I want to put everything I have in this box, but I don't want it to be heavy."

theKSMM
theKSMM

@hystavito I agree.  The headgear in those things looks awfully cumbersome, and how long can I afford to be shut out from the real world while I play a VR game?  I mean, once I strap this thing on a lose the peripheral vision and sound of my real environment to be come totally immersed in a game, will I be able to hear the phone ringing or the baby crying?  Or will the smell of smoke be my first indication that my house is on fire?

teapartycitizen
teapartycitizen

@mos2000  And to add to this never ending cycle of Microsoft missing the mark, it is becoming obvious that Microsoft will never ever get Windows under control because as we have seen time and time again that Microsoft is blindly wondering around and only getting it right half the time. A 50% on a test would be a failing grade in any school. I believe that Linux may start growing in prominence as people come to this realization that Microsoft will not change as many have. 

rarson
rarson

@souldomain1984  

They're talking about the Metro apps. Why? I have no clue. Who cares about Windows apps?
Actual program development is no less open than it was before.

pezzott1
pezzott1

@souldomain1984 

Are you talking as a developer or as a consumer who buys/installs Miscosoft approved softwares for windows?

GarGx1
GarGx1

Not yet but windows 8 is a very large step in that direction. They really do want all software that runs on windows to go through the windows App Store. This is why a lot of developers are concerned about the direction MS are headed in

rarson
rarson

@Thanatos2k  

Windows 8 is better than Windows 7.

You seem to like to rant about things that you don't understand.

rarson
rarson

@neowarrior121

Anyone who has bothered to spend enough time with it to realize that it's a better OS than 7.

mos2000
mos2000

@teapartycitizen Exactly - Linux based OS like Unbuntu are the sh--.  If devs would just support Linux a little more, and stop griping about windows, there would be peace in the world :-)

platinumking320
platinumking320

@teapartycitizen Its really a back and forth of technology-minded senior management, then scummy sales - minded senior management. Now that the ballmer era is over. Hopefully, more open platforms will return. MS still has a multitude of ways to make money off of developers, businesses and consumers while allowing them the OS and financial freedom to make what they want with little cost burden.

The way it used to be.


souldomain1984
souldomain1984

@pezzott1

I'm a consumer. And as far as I could see, none of my softstuff was approved by M$. At least not that kind of approval which apps seem to require. And I don't use apps.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@GarGx1 I would not be surprised if MS want this; they are no strangers to anti-trust lawsuit. In this case I want to find out what specific features in Windows 8 or lack of features (that existed in previous Windows) have caused game devs like Sweeney, "Notch," and Valve to express concern. What makes Windows 8 "closed"?

rarson
rarson

@GarGx1  

The apps are entirely different from programs. Microsoft would be shooting themselves in the foot if they removed the ability to run programs. That's the only reason that people are using Windows 8, as Windows 8 that only runs apps is basically useless (see the Surface RT).

McGregor
McGregor

@GarGx1  Sounds like Apple mentality...which is why I don't like apple products. I'm not a fan of the, "my way or highway" attitude.

Derbefrier
Derbefrier

@GarGx1   where have you read this? Yes they have an app store but where has it been written or said they want that to be the only option? I have tried to find these things myself but haven't had any luck and therefore must assume you are all full of shit unless otherwise proved wrong.  This really to me just seems like advertising for valves steam box with the usual hyperbole you see in these kind of things. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@neowarrior121 @doggiezillaWell did you know that some owls aren't so wise?

rarson
rarson

@Unfallen_Satan

It's the app store requirements, that's it. Which makes me wonder why they're complaining, since their companies aren't developing apps anyway (nobody is). Every single feature of Windows 7 exists in 8, plus more. Windows 8 actually offers quite a few significant improvements.

hystavito
hystavito

@HowlPendragon  That's actually the only hope to keep Windows somewhat open.  Their failure to pull of what Apple can.


Apple created such a frenzy of demand for their products that people would accept anything to own one, closed platform or whatever, they don't care.  Apple's insane success with things like the iPhone is one of the reasons that we have seen this trend backwards towards the old days of proprietary and closed stuff.


What makes me mad is that all these companies were able to exist and flourish because of that openness, and now they all want to take it back.  If not for that openness, we wouldn't have the internet as we do today, or so many other things.  It's scary when you look back at the early days of the internet entering into the consumer space, and see all the failed attempts to "own" it.  The times ahead also scare me.  This stuff has potential consequences that go far beyond the technology market.  It really does worry me.

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

@McGregor You got it.

Microsoft is always trying to emulate Apple. That's why they put Windows 8 on the Xbone, and why everything they make looks like their Windows 8 interface. They're trying to push their own version of "one ecosystem for all your needs" but don't know how to do it as well as Apple did under Steve Jobs.

I would complain, but watching them trip over their own shoelaces is pretty entertaining.

teller76567
teller76567

@Derbefrier No way it was said and is in stone, then Microsoft went and did damage control...so you kind sir are full of your own self...

souldomain1984
souldomain1984

@nazgoroth @souldomain1984


I usually I don't calculate. But once I did, and it told me: Division by Zero Not Possible!

I don't know what that means but it really appeared to me that I broke my calculator.

Who the fuck could break a calculator?


Me! ^^


Dat Math of Doom!

stuff238
stuff238

@Xmus942 @neowarrior121 @19James89  Haters going to hate. I actually loved windows vista when I had it. Never had a single problem. Don't understand where all the hate came from. Windows gets better every time and haters can't see that.


EDIT: I currently have 7 and it has been awesome. My dad has 8 on his PC and it is great too. It took a little adjusting to using it, but it is still great.

Xmus942
Xmus942

@neowarrior121 @19James89 

How is he the blind one? Do you even own the operating system moron, or are you just dissing it because it's considered a cool and edgy to be dismissive of Windows 8?  I actually own the operating system and I can confirm that it is indeed a great operating system. At worst, it is just as good as Windows 7. It can do every thing that Windows 7 can and a little more.