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Microsoft Losing Ground On Windows Store and UWP For Gaming 209

Vigile writes: Microsoft has big plans to try and merge the experiences of the Xbox One and Windows for gaming but the push back from the community and from major developers and personalities is mounting. Earlier this week PC Perspective posted a story that detailed the controversy around DX12 performance analysis without an exclusive full screen mode, changes to multi-GPU configurations and even compatibility issues with variable refresh that crop up from games from the Windows Store. Microsoft's only official response so far as been that it is listening to feedback and plans to address it with upcoming changes. Now today, Epic's Tim Sweeney has posted an editorial at The Guardian with an even more dramatic tone, saying that UWP (Unified Windows Platform) "can, should, must and will, die..." Clearly the stakes are being placed in the ground and even damage control from Phil Spencer on Twitter isn't likely to hold back angry PC users.
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Microsoft Losing Ground On Windows Store and UWP For Gaming

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  • Seriously, 99% of PC users don't even understand what it means to be upset about "around DX12 performance analysis without an exclusive full screen mode, changes to multi-GPU configurations and even compatibility issues with variable refresh that crop up from games from the Windows Store". Or what UWP is. Does it mean that games aren't working? Maybe you mean Game DEVELOPERS are upset.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:31PM (#51638723)

      Who fucking cares about 99% of PC users. Gamers care about this shit, and gamers are nerds, and this is news for nerds.

      • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:34PM (#51638741) Homepage Journal
        Really? Gamers care? What Gamer is running games from the Windows store???
        • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:45PM (#51638825) Journal
          If Microsoft has their way, it will be ALL OF US. This is why Steam OS exists, to try and help stave off this future where Microsoft controls the PC gaming market. You saw what plans they had at the Xbox One launch shitshow, they havent abandoned them, just delayed.
          • Never thought I'd say this, but as someone who uses OSX in addition to Linux, even the Apple-loving side of me is looking down its nose and tut-tutting about lock-in...

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            I never understood the furor around the XBox One launch. Who in their right mind still wants to haul physical disks around? Is this some console peasant fetish that we PC Gaming Overlords don't understand? Making everything effectively a download, like Steam or GOG, seemed like an improvement to me.

            • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @05:41PM (#51639679)

              I was surprised at this as well. Do you know who apparently still like physical disks? Kids. They enjoy being able to lug their games over to a friend's house, throw it in their game console, and start playing. Personally, I've gone 100% digital. The idea of never having to touch another disk to launch a game is a joy, but not everyone cares.

              That being said, part of the furor was the notion that MS is forcing you to check in with them once a day or your games simply don't work. That's pretty draconian. Losing the secondary used game market was also deemed unacceptable. Yes, it was a bit of an overreaction, but MS brought in on themselves by their "fuck you, peon, you'll like what we tell you to like" attitude, and the general impression that they were ignoring their core constituency: hardcore gamers. Plus, toss in the ridiculous forced inclusion of the Kinnect device, bumping up the price for a moderately inferior console, and it's not hard to see why the Xbox had a PR disaster early in it's lifecycle, and is likely paying the price even now.

              • Physical discs have REAL WORLD VALUE to the bearer. Microsofts plan was to move the entirety of that value to their side of the table.
                • Remember that value depends on perception. The only value game discs have for me is entertainment value, and that value is actually enhanced when I have immediate access to the game rather than having to hunt down a disc I've forgotten I even own.

                  Naturally, MS and game publishers would certainly love to kill physical media, not because it has real world value, but the secondary effects of that - the used game market. Digital goods are a bit unlike physical goods in that there's no real penalty for owning

                  • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

                    Purposefully obtuse is just annoying. The physical disk with the physical box and the physical manual can be sold. None of the digital distributors allows you to trade you games with other members, NONE. I am sick of marketdroid bullshit and spin. Now the pushback, demand regulations that force first sale doctrine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] onto digital media, no please sir may I have another watery bowl of gruel, a swift kick in the goolies and I take the chicken from the table, laws to force first

            • Who in their right mind still wants to haul physical disks around? Is this some console peasant fetish that we PC Gaming Overlords don't understand?

              Bandwidth caps
              Non-optimal speed with VERY large games.

              Sure for games less than 10GB it's not a big thing, but titles larger than that?

              Nothing can beat the bandwidth of a truck full of blu rays.

              • by torkus ( 1133985 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @06:48PM (#51640183)

                Nothing can beat the bandwidth of a truck full of blu rays.

                Since it's /. I get to geek out and say nuh'uh

                BDXL = 128GB = 120mm Dia x 1.2 mm = 9MB/mm^2
                2.5" HDD = 4TB = 100mmx70x19 = 27MB/mm^2
                3.5" HDD = 10TB = 146mmx102x25 = 30MB/mm^2
                microSDXC = 200GB = 15mmx11x1 - 1212MB/mm^2

                Flash wins by three orders of magnitude :)

                26' uHaul truck (since we're geeks not CDL drivers) holds 7400lbs or 3357KG
                uSDXC weights .25g so you can carry 13,428,000 (by volume is 2x higher but...max weight)
                2,685,600,000GB or 2.7EB

                Let's say we're going 100km/hr and going NYC to SF for 4700km or 47 hours or 169,200 seconds
                So that's about 16000GB/s

                The approximate bandwidth of a 26' uHaul is 127tbps.

                Those cards are $100 each so it'd only cost $1.3 billion (plus gas, tolls, and rental)
                Let me know next time you want to move 2.7EB from NYC to SF - I'm down.

                • Bandwidth has to be measured end-to-end. I can transmit terrabits per second over laser of random noise. So you have to take into account the time to copy data to a MicroSD at 90MB/s. So it's 169,200 seconds + the heat death of the universe over USB 2.0 to copy to each MicroSD. :D

                • AWESOME! someone did the math. So I guess that the bandwidth of a truck full of microsdxc is the one to beat. I wonder what the math would show if we added in cost as a modifier.

                  It might be cheaper to send several trucks of blu-rays.

            • Physical discs have different laws and doctrines surrounding them. They have an intrinsic value that Microsoft was trying to move completely to their side of the table. It was about removing the physical value discs represent from the market. Further, they had NO DETAILS or proven implementations of the plans and wanted everyone to take it on faith. You are referencing something that was incredibly poorly conceived and had no tentpoles established of any kind. You are defending vaporware.
              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                What intrinsic value? You buy, say, an EA game, and you're forced to create an Origin account and the disk gets locked to that account, right? At least, I always assumed tha was the point of Origin: to prevent resale. At least with the MS plan there was some sort of half-assed resale idea for downloads.

          • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @05:38PM (#51639657)

            A good way to help fix this:

            Any time you're asked to fix a computer with Windows 8 or 10, do the person a favor and unpin the Windows Store icon from the taskbar and start menu to make room for things that are actually useful.

          • Steam has a near monopoly on the PC gaming market (75%). And you're afraid that Microsoft might have a monopoly on the gaming market? Steam charges developers a fee, the same fee as Microsoft.

            The "Xbox One launch shit show" was offering a system that gave customers more flexibility than Steam did.

            If you don't like the Windows Store, then just sell your product with an installer and a sideload. UWP apps run by default without any system reconfiguration in Windows 10. But publishers *want* to be in a st

            • People who defend MS like this simply have not been watching them long enough to understand what they are. They are a PROVEN threat to consumers, over and over and over. Convicted abusive monopolist, right there next to Standard Oil and AT&T. They tried to outright kill Linux by funding SCO. People like you dont understand the incredible pain MS inflicted on computer science. I have been watching MS for almost 25 years, they havent changed much in that time. Still a ravenous, obtuse, stumbling elephant.
        • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Informative)

          by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:45PM (#51638827)

          Really? Gamers care? What Gamer is running games from the Windows store???

          None, that's just it though. Microsoft is pushing it for their PC releases. Quantum Break, for example, is going to be exclusive to the Windows Store. It won't be on Steam or any other 3rd party platform. They are moving all of their 1st party games this direction and the fear is they are pushing 3rd party devs to do it as well.

          • Every platform is stupid and has exclusive games. So what? Anyone playing games for awhile has learned that you can't play all of them. Can't play the xbox ones, can't play the playstation ones can't even play the windows games, it's an old story. On the other hand 9 out of 10 games are utter crap so you're not really missing anything. Any game from Microsoft is worth skipping anyway.

            • by Pax681 ( 1002592 )

              Any game from Microsoft is worth skipping anyway.

              Nah.. Freelancer was pretty damned good and had and still has a modding community.

          • Well if it's not on Steam I won't be buying it, so problem solved.
        • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Forgefather ( 3768925 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @04:08PM (#51638993)

          Maybe a gamer who wanted the to play the games that are exclusive to the windows store such as Quantum Break, which is what caused the entire controversy in the first place. What this represents is the carving up of the PC space into a console like model of distribution where Microsoft is the gatekeeper of the PC gaming experience.

          • Yeah, I am pretty sure you should have seen THAT coming for years. Walled gardens. Don't use Windows if you don't like it.
            • by lgw ( 121541 )

              Windows as a walled garden will die, and die quickly. The niche of Windows is the absence of the walls, for better or for worse.

          • You mean how like you need UPlay for Ubisoft titles or Steam for Valve titles (or any of the other titles using Steamworks) or Origin for EA titles?

            There's no reason for them to not have their own store/platform.
            There's no reason for them to not make their own games exclusive to their own store/platform.
            There's no reason for them to not entice 3rd parties into signing exclusivity contracts, or entice them in general by taking less of a cut.

            More stores is a good thing. It promotes competition. Currently ev

        • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @04:23PM (#51639117)
          Remember Windows RT? This is Windows RT repackaged. It's the slow to a boil cooking method. Once they reach critical acceptance they will deprecate the Win32 API in Windows and ONLY UWP API's will work. This will take years but Microsoft has always gone for the long game. Remember when they lost the browser wars to Netscape or the time they were five years late to the internet?
          • The key phrase is "once they reach critical acceptance". I realistically interpret this as "never". At the moment, they're not exactly making a lot of progress replacing traditional desktop apps, and they've got almost no presence at all in mobile.

            No, Microsoft will not be killing the Win32 API, even if some in the company would like to. They'd kill one of their core constituency, which is businesses, obsoleting all the millions of legacy applications that run only on Windows which, realistically speakin

            • I tend to agree with your assessment I was merely explaining why UWP matters and developers SHOULD be leery.
          • Dumb users:
            "Windows sucks, it's full of viruses and malware!"

            "Introducing UWP, a sandboxed environment in which an app can't infect your computer with any viruses!"

            Dumb users:
            "Microsoft is trying to steal my ability to infect myself with viruses!"

            There is nothing inherently wrong with UWP/WinRT. The APIs are still very immature and nowhere near the depth of Win32 which has had 30 years to bake but pretty much anything you can do in Win32 you can do in UWP.

            And contrary to popular belief, you can i

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        gamers are nerds

        Gamers aren't nerds. They end to be under-35, but that's pretty much it. Games are mainstream.

    • Re:Angry PC Users? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:38PM (#51638763)

      Here is a list someone made:

              No SLI/Crossfire,
              Windows 10 store download is buggy,
              No refund policy explained,
              Vsync is always on,
              Always borderless fullscreen,
              Game files are protected,
              Can't launch it via the exe (So adding it as a non steam game will not work)
              No fps/hardware monitor software works with it,
              You need to take control of the folder as admin if you want access to the files
              Mouse software which lets you create custom binds for each game doesn't work
              Say bye to using sweetfx and mods
              Since no fps/hardware monitor software works, this means overlays meaning no Steam Controller since you can't use Big Picture Mode

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Damn. Then don't buy games from the Windows Store. Problem soved!
      • the app store lock down sucks!

      • Not to mention that the article even said the only controller that will work is the XBOX controller. So who needs to configure a Steam controller if the controller won't even work with any games. I absolutely LOVE my Steam controller. I will very easily switch to gaming on Linux before I will give up that thing. Linux is already my non-gaming computer, so switching my gaming one over is an easy step.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:29PM (#51638701)
    >> even damage control from Phil Spencer


    >> damage control...on Twitter

    Yeah, time to rethink your PR strategy then because no one reads/forwards/retweets apologizes on Twitter. In fact, the only live people left over there seem to be reporters looking for the next drunk/racist/sexist celebrity/politician/athlete tweet, so craft accordingly...
  • I've yet to see anything touted as "one size fits all" that does.
    • It's the same as "write once, run everywhere". Might looks good on paper, but once you get to use the thing you keep falling into cornercases.
      Obviously in this case, the "cornercase" is that everyone will have to be dumbed down to fit, but hey, it will be easier right? (No it won't either).
  • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:39PM (#51638769)
    What advantages are there to buying a game on the Windows Store versus Steam or GOG? Seriously, I cannot think of a single one. It has inferior performance, functionality, portability, etc.--I'm literally paying the same for less.
    • by Quince alPillan ( 677281 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:57PM (#51638919)

      Windows Store has more mobile games that have been ported to Windows 10 than Steam or GoG. I've also seen a lot of "free" games that have huge advertising banners covering most of the screen. They're the same type of cheap and easy to make clones filled with advertisements and pay-to-win crapware that you'll find on any other mobile platform.

      These aren't AAA titles, nor are they decent, older games with great gameplay like you'd find at Steam or GoG.

    • by DingerX ( 847589 )
      Well, the chief advantage is that Microsoft can force its practical monopoly on gaming OSs to run Steam and GOG out of business. Then again, Valve has built up enough cash that they probably could make SteamOS into a serious contender, with a free office suite that actually had a UI that made sense.* In short, they've continually done wrong by gamers to the degree that, if they make a serious effort to move from "Windows DXnn -- Required for serious gaming" to "Windows UWP App store -- Required for PC gamin
    • What advantages are there to buying a game on the Windows Store versus Steam or GOG? Seriously, I cannot think of a single one. It has inferior performance, functionality, portability, etc.--I'm literally paying the same for less.

      1. Apple the arch enemy made sooo much money and overtook MS on size due to success of their store with Itunes and mobile apps. MS wants a piece of the action too! Not a feature for you, but for them
      2. Theoretically with Redstone Windows 10.1 and 10.2 (early 2017) you can run the same games for your XBoxONE and XBoxONE will have access to pc software and games and apps like Nook, Netflix, etc.This is a feature for developers so they can just write once and forget.. Supposedly it can benefit some users who h

    • The advantages are for Microsoft, to create a platform that is a walled garden and move away from Windows proper [theverge.com] to this new floating platform that can work across devices, called Universal Windows Platform.

    • The advantage is that you can use Xbox Live chat and ideally get cross-buy and cross play. So your game saves transfer between the Xbox and PC. That's a selling point for me. However not all Windows Store apps are cross buy.

  • As a casual user (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imgod2u ( 812837 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:39PM (#51638771) Homepage

    I'd consider myself a "gamer" in a previous life. Nowadays, I have exactly one machine (my media PC) that has a decent-ish GPU that I rarely use to play games. My typical gaming? Plants vs Zombies on an iPad.

    There are hordes more like me than there are multi-GPU people. And Microsoft is doing the smart thing here. The "PC gaming gods" that complain about this shit and want to "boycott" it are holding Windows as a whole back a decade. I want a Windows tablet (like the Surface) but I'm forced to admit, the iPad has *way way way* more apps. And part of that reason is because neckbeards who are very vocal but by far in the minority are guiding the platform for the majority of users.

    • 100% correct. No one cares about "DX12 performance analysis without an exclusive full screen mode". Christ.
    • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:47PM (#51638847) Journal
      " The "PC gaming gods" that complain about this shit and want to "boycott" it are holding Windows as a whole back a decade."

      Fuck you. Bill Gates PERSONALLY held back computing at least 2 decades and we are still paying for it and will continue to do so for a while.. you can shove this tripe up your ass.
    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      The existing traditional platform supports your plants vs zombies just fine. There's no reason to limit it with obviously consumer hostile 'app stores'. I don't get this relatively recent negative attitude towards open, diverse platforms. Windows has had this for decades, supporting casual and hardcore gaming quite well. MS shouldn't fuck with it.

      If you're not a 'neckbeard' (your derogatory term for enthusiast) anymore, why do you still post to slashdot? Perhaps reddit or a gawker gaming site is more your

  • Good for Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ormy ( 1430821 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:43PM (#51638805)
    I like using Linux for most things, but Windows 7 is my main OS because it plays all my games reliably, Linux is still lacking in this area. I'd love if this UWP fiasco finally pushed gamers and developers off of Windows for good,
    • Re:Good for Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The Raven ( 30575 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @04:11PM (#51639019) Homepage

      The only remaining big hangup preventing wide-scale adoption is the shitty video drivers on Linux. Until NVIDIA and AMD pour resources into better Linux drivers (or someone else pours even MORE resources into good open-source drivers) we will continue to see crappy performance, and that will keep potential developers at bay.

      • Linux is too small a share for devs to support it and make a profit. Unless Linux can find a way in the door and not have it slammed shut by Microsoft throwing their weight around (netbooks anyone) then it's not going anywhere. If all else fails Microsoft just refuses to support dual boot computers like they did when Hitachi shipped a dual boot BeOS computer. OEMs have a long history of depending on Microsoft to dump their tough support calls on, so that's a death knell right there. Oh, and Linux is still
      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        I thought NVIDIA has good drivers in Linux!

      • They are working on it (both AMD and NVidia), either by releasing more documentation or by rewriting their binary drivers, now that people actually care ;)
  • Just remember... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:54PM (#51638901) Homepage

    Just remember that this opinion rant on The Guardian is coming from someone who cannot figure out how to sideload apps on his Android phone, because apparently opening an APK from any number of the existing file explorers out there and then having it directly prompt the user to temporarily enable side loading is a "hidden" feature that makes it difficult, just like how Windows has had UAC for a decade now.

    • Re:Just remember... (Score:4, Informative)

      by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @05:51PM (#51639739)

      > just remember that this opinion rant on The Guardian is coming from someone ...

      This isn't just some dumb schmo off the internet. Maybe if you had written the Unreal Engine, or an optimized texture mapper in x86 assembly that supported dithering, written an whitepaper entitled The Next Mainstream Programming Language" [uni-saarland.de], AND been responsible for open sourcing the entire Unreal Engine then maybe we'd find you to be a little more credible. Tim is looking at the *big* picture, along with Valve. The more MS tries to be like Apple or Google the more game devs they piss off. Continued long enough it will reach critical mass.

      > just like how Windows has had UAC for a decade now.

      Riiight, because MS's solution is to *spam the user with modal dialog boxes*. When most people that crap off how is it solving the problem again???

  • I don't see how this won't fly. They're locking dx12 to it, and it sounds like dx12 is a huge performance boost. I know Vulcan is supposed to compete but I'll believe it when I've got games built of it in my Steam library...
    • DX12 is locked to Win10, so building games fro UWP locks out older versions of the OS as well as Linux/OSX/PS4 Android and iOS ports, then there is the 30% MS Tax. But in return you can save dev time on the XBOX one.

      I think MS is shooting themselves in the foot, and the evidence thus far is the rapidly devolving of an app store into a ghost town. This is going to be as popular as WinRT, and probably will have a lifespan less than silverlight.

      • Yeah, but the 30% Microsoft Tax is no different than the Valve tax. You get a lot for that 30%. Hosting, a patching service, full installer, DRM, etc, etc. Being locked to Win10 isn't such a problem for AA and AAA titles. Microsoft is giving it away, so you're Win7/8 users can just upgrade. The bigger titles weren't going to be Android/iOS ports and the PS4 is a DirectX Box too (albeit a DX11 one) and you were stuck doing a port over to it anyway.

        Microsoft has the right idea. 30% of virtually all softwar
    • You probably ALREADY HAVE games that are Vulkan on your system....got any Mantle games? There ya go, Vulkan is Mantle 2.0.

      And DX12 is gonna be a non-starter, since it won't support Win 7/8/8.1 which is more than 2/3rds of the Windows PC gaming market. Do you honestly think any game dev is gonna make a DX12 exclusive knowing that they 1.- Cut out 2/3rds of the market AND 2.- Get the "fun" of paying a 30% MSFT tax for being dumb enough to use it?

  • ...AAA industry for developing Windows Only.

    There are literally THOUSANDS of games for Linux and Mac on Steam, and for every DirectX/Windows exclusive purchased on launch you could comfortably buy 2-4 of those and get just as much time, enjoyment, story and entertainment if not more.

    Reward devs who support the platforms you want to use. Buy their software, and don't buy software from companies who don't want you.

    The same goes for hardware. If you reliably buy GPUs that support Linux drivers well, and
  • hey developers, if you use open APIs you are no longer at the mercy of one company's "vision" of what a platform should be and can get more users without having to repeatedly porting your code.

    • hey developers, if you use open APIs you are no longer at the mercy of one company's "vision" of what a platform should be and can get more users without having to repeatedly porting your code.

      Well go write one then. DirectX won due to being more than just a renderer like OpenGL. It has directSound, DirectInput, and other features. Also one unfair advantage was the MBA phb types were so terrified over piracy they decided to focus just on the xbox. Backport it to PC if it compiles etc. So guess which API was supported on the xbox?

      So write a competing one? Port it to Android and MacOSX as well and then you have some leverage? UWP right now is buggy but it is compelling if I were a game developer as

  • The real headline should be, "Microsoft Losing Ground"

    For the last decade most of what they've done has been either miserable or an outright disaster...Windows Me, Vista, MSN Messenger, the Zune, the Kin, the Windows Phones, Windows Mobile, Win 8 and 10, the Surface tablet, Bing, their app store....they're doing well with Azure but not a lot else.

  • Tim Sweeney is saying "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."

    What features are these? Is he talking about newer DirectX features being exclusive to UWP or other important features that would put games on, say, Steam at a disadvantage? To create a UWP program you must distribute through the Windows Store, and this could make Vulkan (a

  • What did people think would happen if you invest in a platform you don't control.

    MS have a long history of screwing partners, especially if the partner has started to make real money in an area.

    My sympathy for these developers is limited, yes release on Windows but you maybe want to do another platform so you have a plan B.
  • by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:04PM (#51640273) Journal

    This is their play to get their own app store. If they can get a 30% cut on all games involving DX14 for example (by obliging DX14 games to use their app store), then they will be raking it in. There is no way they will give up on this strategy, as the benefits are too high.

    Personally I say fuck them, they shit on PC gaming with GfWL because they were focusing on xbox, so I'm glad that Steam ate their lunch while they weren't looking. To add insult to injury, there are games now that are defunct because they relied on GfWL which was then abandoned by MS.

    It turns out that Gaben was right all along about the need for SteamOS.

  • XNA was focused on .NET-based games development for Xbox and Windows and got abandoned by Microsoft in 2013. UWP is supposed to be a generic application development system, not games-specific, so how long will it really last?

Real Programmers don't eat quiche. They eat Twinkies and Szechwan food.