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Microsoft's UWP and the future of open PC gaming


HarryBizzle
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3 hours ago, Uzi said:

I can see why people have issues with UWP (because for pc gaming it has been terrible so far but at least appears to be improving) but what is the issue with windows 10?

 

I love windows 10.  But I've been looking for a reason to switch to Linux for years.  The wave of compatible games with Linux is improving, so I'm just finally thinking of making the transition.  At first, I'll probably just dual boot it with win 10, though.

 

Cause Linux graphics drivers aren't amazing.

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20 minutes ago, Mogster said:

As far as I can tell, Steam can't currently support UWP apps and doesn't even recognise them for the purposes of the Steam Overlay or Home Streaming.

 

That's a good point.  Kinda hard to do any sort of overlay on an app that doesn't have a base application exe.  Explains why I can't get riva tuner's overlay to work with it.

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  • 1 month later...

This hasn't been bumped for a while, have they been pushing out UWP updates to address concerns? I think I saw at E3 they have/would sort G-sync, for example.

 

Anyway, Tim Sweeney has published another piece, this time in Edge. He still thinks they'll ditch Win32 and effectively kill Steam on the spot. Ars wrote an interesting article in response, some of which I didn't realize:

 

Quote

But, on the other hand, this is neglecting to consider some important details. For example, UWP is built on Win32. It is a fairly large subset of Win32, and it runs in a sandboxed environment, but there's no clear path for Microsoft to completely strip Win32 from Windows without also removing UWP. Similarly, core applications currently depend on Win32: this includes things like Windows' own Explorer shell, as well as critical applications such as the full Office suite. This makes ditching Win32 even more untenable; Microsoft would have to get all of its own software off Win32 first, and that's not going to happen for many years.

 

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/07/now-tim-sweeney-thinks-that-microsoft-will-use-windows-10-to-break-steam/

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37 minutes ago, TehStu said:

This hasn't been bumped for a while, have they been pushing out UWP updates to address concerns? I think I saw at E3 they have/would sort G-sync, for example.

 

Anyway, Tim Sweeney has published another piece, this time in Edge. He still thinks they'll ditch Win32 and effectively kill Steam on the spot. Ars wrote an interesting article in response, some of which I didn't realize:

 

 

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/07/now-tim-sweeney-thinks-that-microsoft-will-use-windows-10-to-break-steam/

 

Tim Sweeney tends to exaggerate.  At the same time, I still don't like UWP because of how applications are sandboxed and harder to modify.

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They won't kill it overnight, but they now have the mechanism to force shit they don't like on people, and they will use it to push whatever they want and degrade the experience of whatever they don't like. For example, they're disabling the ability to hide Cortana in the next Windows 10 update.

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1 hour ago, Halo said:

They won't kill it overnight, but they now have the mechanism to force shit they don't like on people, and they will use it to push whatever they want and degrade the experience of whatever they don't like. For example, they're disabling the ability to hide Cortana in the next Windows 10 update.

 

No they're removing the ability to disable her search function.  Meaning when you're file searching through the start menu, you'll see web results as well.  You can still turn off all of her other features and even hide Cortana from the start menu and taskbar.

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2 hours ago, Halo said:

They won't kill it overnight, but they now have the mechanism to force shit they don't like on people, and they will use it to push whatever they want and degrade the experience of whatever they don't like. For example, they're disabling the ability to hide Cortana in the next Windows 10 update.

 

I don't think it's fair to conflate OS design decisions with an application framework.

 

Are you implying they will still kill win32? How are they forcing shit on people, any more so than any other OS? 

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Win32 is a desktop only thing, UWP was designed explicitly to work across multiple platforms, so which is likely to be the preferred thing for Microsoft to push now? They've spent a year increasingly desperately trying to get people off Win7/8 because they'd prefer not to have to support old stuff when they have a new replacement for it.

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But why would they prefer you move to Win10 ASAP, to the extent that they are willing to forgo $Billions in revenue to achieve that aim?, because they don't want to have another XP situation and be forced to support Win7/8 for longer than possible. DX12 being a Win10 exclusive is just another way to force adoption, the fact Vulkan can support older Windows and a multitude of other non-Microsoft OSes too makes their explanation of it being technically difficult to do look a bit weak when an opensource competitor can manage it.

 

With UWP, what is the incentive to keep Win32 at feature/usability parity? There isn't one, is there? I'm sure Microsoft would love to find a way to get Windows devs to move to UWP ASAP, but unlike the OS upgrade situation, they can't literally force people to switch or do it behind their backs.

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Seriously, that Ars article I linked to a few posts back.

 

Quote

But, on the other hand, this is neglecting to consider some important details. For example, UWP is built on Win32. It is a fairly large subset of Win32, and it runs in a sandboxed environment, but there's no clear path for Microsoft to completely strip Win32 from Windows without also removing UWP. Similarly, core applications currently depend on Win32: this includes things like Windows' own Explorer shell, as well as critical applications such as the full Office suite. This makes ditching Win32 even more untenable; Microsoft would have to get all of its own software off Win32 first, and that's not going to happen for many years.

 

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Being built upon Win32 and replacing Win32 for programs are two separate things though, Windows itself is a Win32 app, but that's not much use if all the applications which will run on it in future are UWAs is it? Because it's not as if Microsoft slowly but surely lock down what you can do on your own desktop is it and attempt to force you to do things their way?, even if you've paid them good money for the OS in question.

 

UWAs are not drop in exact equivalents to Win32 apps, they are different and don't have the same pros and cons. The thing people don't like are the cons, not the pros which happen to come with them. And the cons are by design and as a result, UWAs will never be as flexible as Win32 apps because of their design. Sweeney's concerns aren't the same as what an end-user who wants full control of their OS cares about, his are more about future business, which do overlap with what PC gamers happen to care about.

 

A lot of the more interesting game mods and utilities work because Win32 is weak and can't be protected against malware, unlike UWAs which can be locked down totally.

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OK, there was a lot more context to the article itself, but it's not a hill I want to die on again. They kill off a lot more than Steam if they do what Sweeney says they'll do, and therefore you need consider if the prediction actually makes sense, particularly with the downward trend of the entire PC industry.

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On 29/07/2016 at 16:12, Rev said:

Until every single high-value program used by business customers is a UWP nothing will be killed off. Ie. Nothing will be killed off.

 

Come on, not even Tim Sweeney has made any claims about Enterprise customers, this whole UWP push is primarily a consumer facing move, Enterprises don't give two shits about allowing their employees to play games, the exact opposite stance is more likely. Enterprise customers didn't get a 'free' upgrade to Win10 and they don't have to put up with most of the bullshit consumers have to either on it, though they are the first Microsoft customers to be subject to Windows as a service as they've recently been offered Windows on subscription (Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5), let's see how long it takes Microsoft to attempt that money making scheme for consumers.

 

Is it really that difficult to imagine Microsoft wanting to deprecate Win32 apps in favour of UWP ones?, which plays into their grander vision of using their army of desktop developers to gain footholds in other markets where they can't get dev support, despite years of trying.

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I'm sure they would love to. But Win32 is not going anywhere, and MS will need to keep it up to date for their enterprise customers (even all their own enterprise software is Win32 and has no plans to move). They are not going to create two completely different code bases for Enterprise and Consumer Windows. Even Server and Client currently share the same codebase.

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Come on, not even Tim Sweeney has made any claims about Enterprise customers, this whole UWP push is primarily a consumer facing move, Enterprises don't give two shits about allowing their employees to play games, the exact opposite stance is more likely. Enterprise customers didn't get a 'free' upgrade to Win10 and they don't have to put up with most of the bullshit consumers have to either on it, though they are the first Microsoft customers to be subject to Windows as a service as they've recently been offered Windows on subscription (Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5), let's see how long it takes Microsoft to attempt that money making scheme for consumers.

 

Is it really that difficult to imagine Microsoft wanting to deprecate Win32 apps in favour of UWP ones?, which plays into their grander vision of using their army of desktop developers to gain footholds in other markets where they can't get dev support, despite years of trying.



It's not difficult at all to imagine a Microsoft dreaming of a day when the landscape is 100% UWP. What's really easy to get is that it won't happen for years and years. Personally I'm all for apps that run across devices without needing to buy for each device.
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