Summary: This is not like the Mac App Store. In the mac, if I make an app, I can distribute it both on the app store and other places. YOU CAN’T DO THAT IN WINDOWS 10. I can’t make a UWP game and put it on Steam! UWP is the way forward. It’s the foundation in which all future Windows APIs will be developed. It’s the future of Windows! Win32 is legacy. We don’t WANT to build Windows 7 apps. We want to EMBRACE the BETTER and SUPERIOR UWP platform that’s more secure and modern, AND we want to sell that SUPERIOR game and app on BOTH Windows Store AND steam.

Mr Tim Sweeney’s comment in regards to the UWP apps leading the way to a more closed PC ecosystem has come under fire by many Windows enthusiasts. Mr. Sweeney, founder of Epic Games and a prominent game developer, has expressed his disapproval in regards to the direction Microsoft is going with Universal Windows Platform, or UWP, apps. Sweeney had this to say: “Microsoft has launched new PC Windows features exclusively in UWP and is effectively telling developers you can use these Windows features only if you submit to the control of our locked-down UWP ecosystem.” Opinions on whether he is right or wrong range all over the place, but here’s my take on it.

I will be completely frank. Mr. Sweeney is right, and I think many people who are upset by his comments are misunderstanding his point. I say this because most of the arguments against Sweeney goes something like this:

Windows 10 is as open as it always has been. You can still make apps and distribute it any way you like. You can still put your game on Steam. You don’t have to put your app or game on the Windows Store. Microsoft is no way taking away this openness.

Therein lies the misunderstanding. No, you can’t put your Windows Store game on Steam, as of now. Let me make this very clear to you. As of right now, you cannot put your UWP app or game for sale on ANY store other than the Windows Store.  To put your app or game on Steam or Origin, you have to build it on top of Win32, which is a legacy platform for Microsoft. UWP is the way forward and is the new foundation for most future Windows APIs.

So, if you want to make an app for the Windows API that is the future and is the path going forward, you are stuck with the Windows Store. THIS is what Mr. Sweeney is arguing.

UWP apps and games bring many benefits, such as sandboxing, and clean install/uninstall. It is a better system than the aging Win32 platform. People SHOULD develop for UWP, but they should have the option to make those apps be purchasable on Steam and Origin, AS WELL as Windows Store.

Ad for those who are worried about security, Windows can have the default options to limit app distribution from the Windows Store and trusted stores such as Steam, Origin, and Uplay, with the option to enable unrestricted access for advanced user.

Final conclusion: right now, if I write a game for UWP, I CANNOT distribute it via Steam. Until the day comes in which I can do so, Mr. Tim Sweeney is absolutely correct.