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.

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  • Alec Mowat
    And we can talk after that.
  • vir_cotto
    Awww yiss, Gaben's steam package, and some Linux love is what we need!
  • 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.