Epic’s Tim Sweeney Talks Linux, Steam Machines, and Microsoft

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 #Windows8, 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 #PCplatform.”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.

From Linux Game News:

When we read news like this it’s interesting to see how companies like Epic Games really are taking strides for Linux and open source. The Microsoft permission and approval process is no surprise, too much to late. Something that could have been implemented over 10 years ago, when the industry was looking for more control from Microsoft.
There is a new precipice in the gaming community and it’s obvious, both gamers and developers are looking at getting far more value for their investment. And Windows 8 did not hit the market with great reverence, but caution, proprietary restrictions, and anything BUT a platform to broaden PC gaming. This new found freedom from Epic and Valve, will bring a whole new aspect to the world of gaming: a stable platform with far more functionality out of one operating system.
So Linux Game News is eager to keep a close eye on Epic Games and the views of Tim Sweeney. This new found platform support will put indie and AAA developers at an more eye to eye level, vying for awareness and market share. Making Linux a catalyst in the ever-growing gaming industry and blasing a new trail for years to come.

What do you hope for and expect from Epic Games? How do you think the industry will be affected?

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