Editorial

Editorial: Microsoft's left hand ... please meet right hand

You know, maybe Gabe Newell and Notch have a point after all. Both of them have been highly critical of Windows 8 and its "Modern" UI over the past few months. Notch, the creator of Minecraft, doesn't want to certify the game to be sold on the Windows Store because he feels that Microsoft is trying to turn the PC into a closed system.

I thought all of this talk was just a bit paranoid. After all, the desktop is still there in Windows 8. That means any game, and any app, made for previous versions of Windows can still work in Windows 8.

Now, I'm not so sure that Microsoft really knows what it is doing when it comes to the Windows Store. That's due to the reveal that Microsoft will ban games in Europe rated higher that PEGI 16 from being sold in the Windows Store.

What? That makes no sense at all. As has been pointed out by others, many games that are popular and critically acclaimed won't be able to be sold in the Windows Store in Europe under this guideline, such as the games in the Call of Duty series, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and others.

But here is the kicker: Microsoft itself publishes a lot of games that are rated at the PEGI 18 level in Europe. Want proof? Head over to the PEGI website and do a search. There are a lot of Xbox 360 games with that rating listed that Microsoft has published over the years.

That includes games such as Deadlight, the recent 2D zombie action game that was released during Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotion. The game is due to be released on the PC on October 25th, and you would think that Microsoft would want one of its own published games to show up for Windows 8 as well. Nope; developer Teqilia Works says that the game is slated for a Steam release. There's no indication of a Windows 8-Windows Store release.

Gears of War for the PC ... not allowed in the Windows Store for Windows 8 and RT?

Perhaps the biggest problem with Microsoft's newest decision is the fact that, under their own rules, they won't be able to release any of their own Gears of War games on the Windows Store. While just the first game in Epic's massively successful shooter series was ever ported to the PC, this new Windows Store decision effectively crushes any incentive to bring the other two games to Windows 8.

Epic recently hyped up the fact that it got the full version of Unreal Engine 3, which all of the Gears of War games use, running on Windows RT, the ARM-based processor cousin to Windows 8.

Microsoft has made no comment on why it has restricted Windows Store from publishing PEGI 18 games. But they apparently have no problems releasing such games on their own for the Xbox 360 and, at least for the first Gears of War game, on the PC. Game developers who want to make titles that have PEGI 18 ratings should ask Microsoft this question, "If you can release games like this on your own publishing label, why won't you let us do the same for Windows 8 and the Windows Store."

It's a question that Microsoft, we suspect, might have a hard time answering.

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Perhaps if you actually done a little research about all of this you would know this isn't a "recent announcement" but is something that has been around for a while now! I looked into what I would need to do to be able to get my game on the Microsoft Store AND just be able to easily install it in Windows 8 without Windows 8 warning the user of the potential danger of installing my game. For one, there is the rating you mention in this article, but there is also restrictions on what you use to make your software with. You can ONLY use Microsoft approved APIs. And most people don't realize just how much software, free, quality, secure software that is out there that has been created with non-microsoft APIs. Like SDL, Allegro as well as compilers like MinGW (GNU compilers) and many many many other quality secure libraries that go along with them. My game I created was created with Code::Block IDE, which uses MinGW compiler and the Allegro 5 library (which uses many other free open source libraries). It is all completely free, open source software that is used to create it that is cross platform compatible (and I think this is the key to what Microsoft is up to). I can recompile my game for ANY operating system that supports these libraries (and that's quite a few) without changing my code. This is a stealthy way for Microsoft to try and limit open source and control the market for Windows, which would choke off software made that could be recompiled easily for operating systems like Linux and such as well as grabbing 30% of all the sales from their store. I plan to reprogram my game(s) so that if they detect Windows 8, they will refuse to run. And I invite other developers to do the same in protest.

Does it really matter!
If you want a PEGI 16 game:
1. don't buy a Windows RT device
2. just head over to your local game store
3. buy it
4. install it on Windows 8
5. play it
6. stop complaining

So, you people that said the Windows 8 store was going to kill Steam, and that was the only reason Gabe Newell criticised it - I bet you're feeling pretty damn stupid right now.

Athernar said,
So, you people that said the Windows 8 store was going to kill Steam, and that was the only reason Gabe Newell criticised it - I bet you're feeling pretty damn stupid right now.

Even Gabe doesn't know why he was criticizing Windows 8. His interview was all over the map, and ultimately ended with him saying he isn't even 100% sure his concern is valid.

But people have short attention spans, read only the criticism part, ate it up, and lo' that 'twas Gabe didst say it, it becometh gospel. All hail Gabe! All hail cupcakes!

And then there's Notch, who just says whatever he has to so Gabe will invite him to the next pajama party.

Joshie said,

Even Gabe doesn't know why he was criticizing Windows 8. His interview was all over the map, and ultimately ended with him saying he isn't even 100% sure his concern is valid.

But people have short attention spans, read only the criticism part, ate it up, and lo' that 'twas Gabe didst say it, it becometh gospel. All hail Gabe! All hail cupcakes!

Do you actually have a point to make, or are you just being tearful that not everyone worships at the cult of Sinofsky?

Joshie said,

And then there's Notch, who just says whatever he has to so Gabe will invite him to the next pajama party.

Like how you shill for Microsoft in the hopes your beloved god Sinofsky will give you a job? Yeah, that's not hypocritical at all.

Athernar said,

Do you actually have a point to make, or are you just being tearful that not everyone worships at the cult of Sinofsky?

Like how you shill for Microsoft in the hopes your beloved god Sinofsky will give you a job? Yeah, that's not hypocritical at all.


I've never mentioned Sinofsky a single time in any of my posts anywhere. But please, keep projecting your fantasy universe for the rest of us to watch.

Joshie said,

I've never mentioned Sinofsky a single time in any of my posts anywhere. But please, keep projecting your fantasy universe for the rest of us to watch.

Is making completely nonsensical, tangental responses a hobby of yours, or is it just a cover for the fact you haven't made a single point yet?

Athernar said,

Is making completely nonsensical, tangental responses a hobby of yours, or is it just a cover for the fact you haven't made a single point yet?


Is ignoring people's points so you can ask them what their point is a hobby of yours, or do you not even realize your reading comprehension skills are lacking?

If you really, REALLY can't figure out the point in my original post, there's nothing anyone can do to help you. You're clearly feeling extra-super-combative, so no matter what I say, you'll have something menstrual to fire back. Since I know this, it's actually more productive (and fun) for me to write this whole paragraph needling you, since it'll at least inspire you to waste more of your time writing something snippy back at me so you can feel like you're winning some contest, rather than work on your analytical skills some, which would actually serve you better in life.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Microsoft's newest decision is the fact that, under their own rules, they won't be able to release any of their own Gears of War games on the Windows Store.

This is wrong, and where the 'assumptions' become hyperbole that was also expressed in a very similar article from another site.


THIS APPLIES ONLY TO GAMES SOLD DIRECTLY THROUGH THE MICROSOFT STORE....

Therefore...

Gears of War could NEVER BE SOLD ON THE MICROSOFT STORE as it is not a ModernUI/Metro App, and is a traditional desktop Application.

Microsoft Store = Metro/ModernUI Applications only. PERIOD.


So this is a nonsensical argument...


In the bigger picture, this has to do with legality of software and digital content distribution in several EU countries. Maybe the author would like to look a few of these legal issues up and then voice their concerns to governments that have created this issue.

Please note, in the US and other parts of the world, this does not apply. So this is not something Microsoft is doing, this is something that Microsoft is being FORCED to do on a regional basis.

The EU has a lot of crap, and to get angry or ****y with Microsoft for their crap is just insane, take your outrage and direct it at the choking insanity of the EU and governmental laws.

*** Hint for Author to better understand: Go look up PEGI and Online Only Software distribution, and notice there is not an unified rating system, as it only applies to BOXED software.

Therefore, this spills over into digital content distribution, which laws are freaking insane as they vary from country to country and even then there is no way to ensure the software won't violate local laws.

How about a game with a religious or prohibited symbol? Swastika games in Germany are not so popular, or legal are they?

(Seriously, go look at the rules for digital distribution.)

Apple has the same guidelines in the EU because of the same issue.

Actually, not true. I had to read to the very end to be sure of it, but the Windows Store requirements described at...

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u.../windows/apps/hh694083.aspx

...include both the age ratings guidelines (section 6.2) as well as a later note that desktop apps (which can be, and are already, listed in the Windows Store) must follow all of the same guidelines as well as an additional set unique to desktop applications. I'll quote:

7. Desktop apps must follow additional requirements
In addition to these requirements, you must certify desktop apps under the Windows Desktop App Certification program.

"Additional" requirements inherently translates to "everything we just said, plus...". Those details can be found at:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...ry/windows/desktop/hh749939

I do agree that PEGI is overkill as a rating system in general. Though articles are giddy to point out that the successful TES: Skyrim wouldn't make it into the store with these restrictions, they ignore one of the reasons why: PEGI 18+ must be applied to any game that allows the player to kill defenseless people. A surprisingly popular activity in TES games.

Joshie said,
Actually, not true. I had to read to the very end to be sure of it, but the Windows Store requirements described at...

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u.../windows/apps/hh694083.aspx

...include both the age ratings guidelines (section 6.2) as well as a later note that desktop apps (which can be, and are already, listed in the Windows Store) must follow all of the same guidelines as well as an additional set unique to desktop applications. I'll quote:

"Additional" requirements inherently translates to "everything we just said, plus...". Those details can be found at:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...ry/windows/desktop/hh749939

I do agree that PEGI is overkill as a rating system in general. Though articles are giddy to point out that the successful TES: Skyrim wouldn't make it into the store with these restrictions, they ignore one of the reasons why: PEGI 18+ must be applied to any game that allows the player to kill defenseless people. A surprisingly popular activity in TES games.

You are missing something very simple...

If you do not want to use the Microsoft Store, you are not bound to any terms. PERIOD.

As for the speculation of what can be 'listed' in the Microsoft Store, there are limitations, but the items you reference do not specifically apply.

"Additional" requirements inherently translates to "everything we just said, plus...". Those details can be found at:

This does not mean that all previous requirements, as many of the items in the list are SPECIFICALLY for NON-DESKTOP applications.

Take this item, which appears above the item (7.) you referenced.

Microsoft
3.1 You must use only the Windows Runtime APIs to implement the features of your Windows Store app

The very definition Windows Store Apps are non-desktop applications, and thus this requirement does not and cannot apply to Windows Desktop Applications.

For what Microsoft allows to be 'listed/advertised' in the Store is still coming to light, as this article is an example.


The whole ratings information comes from this section specifically.

Microsoft
5. Windows Store apps are appropriate for a global audience

Note that it says 'Windows Store Apps', which again by DEFINITION are NOT Desktop Applications.

Here is the URL that makes this clear:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u.../windows/apps/br211369.aspx


So to take issue with Ratings and Desktop Applications and what is allowed in the Microsoft Store are different arguments and is just conflating things that are not related.

Desktop Applications also fail to meet the security and startup and suspend requirements and the touch and UI requirements of 'Windows Store Apps'.

That is because they are not held to the same requirements.

One final note on the ratings; if you fully read the (5.) section, Microsoft even makes allowances for 'Mature' content to be allowed in 'Windows Store Apps' for specific circumstances that authors can work around.

thenetavenger said,

You are missing something very simple...

If you do not want to use the Microsoft Store, you are not bound to any terms. PERIOD.

As for the speculation of what can be 'listed' in the Microsoft Store, there are limitations, but the items you reference do not specifically apply.

This does not mean that all previous requirements, as many of the items in the list are SPECIFICALLY for NON-DESKTOP applications.

Take this item, which appears above the item (7.) you referenced.


The very definition Windows Store Apps are non-desktop applications, and thus this requirement does not and cannot apply to Windows Desktop Applications.

For what Microsoft allows to be 'listed/advertised' in the Store is still coming to light, as this article is an example.


The whole ratings information comes from this section specifically.


Note that it says 'Windows Store Apps', which again by DEFINITION are NOT Desktop Applications.

Here is the URL that makes this clear:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u.../windows/apps/br211369.aspx


So to take issue with Ratings and Desktop Applications and what is allowed in the Microsoft Store are different arguments and is just conflating things that are not related.

Desktop Applications also fail to meet the security and startup and suspend requirements and the touch and UI requirements of 'Windows Store Apps'.

That is because they are not held to the same requirements.

One final note on the ratings; if you fully read the (5.) section, Microsoft even makes allowances for 'Mature' content to be allowed in 'Windows Store Apps' for specific circumstances that authors can work around.


To be completely frank, my interpretation and your interpretation are both relying heavily on *interpretation*.

This is an issue Microsoft needs to clear up with better constructed guidelines for store listings, because the Windows Store *is* home to both modern and desktop apps.

FWIW, section 5 has nothing to do with the examples these FUD articles draw up. The only exceptions for mature content outlined in (5) are for streaming apps where it would be unfeasible to guarantee all content meets all guidelines all the time (ex., YouTube) and 'storefront' apps where they provide a gateway to other content that might not meet those guidelines.

That storefront part is very interesting, though, in that it means--in no uncertain terms--that Valve could release a metro Steam client that could sell desktop apps of all ratings. But hey, let's all just keep pretending MS is being anti-competitive, yeah?

Reading up a bit on the PEGI rating system makes me wonder if this is not because of a shortcoming of the rating system itself. PEGI 18 is basically the same as ESRB's AO category. The difference (as it usually pertains to games) between the ESRB 17+ and AO categories is simply that of sexual content, whereas PEGI 16 and 18 differ on severity of content, regardless of it being sexual in nature, or violent in nature. If this is the issue, then MS may be best to implement a content policy similar to that of the Xbox, where they have a fairly strict "no pornografic content" (Under ESRB, this translates roughly to "No AO") which could then allow them to permit PEGI 18.

That's what I think it is anyways, just that the two rating systems don't line up well. I'm fairly confident that MS will end up revising this policy based on this negative feedback, though I doubt that AO style titles will ever show up in the store

Sraf said,
Reading up a bit on the PEGI rating system makes me wonder if this is not because of a shortcoming of the rating system itself. PEGI 18 is basically the same as ESRB's AO category. The difference (as it usually pertains to games) between the ESRB 17+ and AO categories is simply that of sexual content, whereas PEGI 16 and 18 differ on severity of content, regardless of it being sexual in nature, or violent in nature. If this is the issue, then MS may be best to implement a content policy similar to that of the Xbox, where they have a fairly strict "no pornografic content" (Under ESRB, this translates roughly to "No AO") which could then allow them to permit PEGI 18.

That's what I think it is anyways, just that the two rating systems don't line up well. I'm fairly confident that MS will end up revising this policy based on this negative feedback, though I doubt that AO style titles will ever show up in the store

Looking through the comments, you're the ONLY one that gets it.

I don't think the Windows Store is intended to be used to sell high-end hardcore games. The Windows Store is meant for mainstream casual touch-friendly games.

Maybe the Windows app store will evolve over time to bring in more adult hardcore games, but that isn't the focus right now as they target the mainstream iPad audience.

This all sounds stupid. Just verify the age linked to whatever account is logged in and display items based on that. Why is this hard? You see people saying "M$", but I think they hate money with some of the decisions they make.

Keep pushing this issue. I have a feeling it is simply an oversight and will be correct but nothing ever changes when you stay quiet.

This seems to be localized to Europe because I believe they will allow ESRB Rated M games in the US.

This is stupid, any full blown game that shows in the store is never sold via the store, its linked to like the desktop apps.

Having it missing from the store is a nothing issue, you'll just get it via steam or disk or EA Origin or whatever.......the presence on windows store is hardly a problem.

And as others have said, MS seem to be the EU's private bank lately, they have to tread very carefully or face a totally unrealistic fine that others in the same field do not have to worry about.

Exactly. Desktop-mode games can NOT be downloaded through windows store, so it's pretty much a non-issue.

Ok, one may say "how about 18+ metro-mode games?". Really? What proper mature 18+ game can be made for metro, except for japanese anime-style porn games?

Edited by eddman, Oct 11 2012, 9:33pm :

eddman said,
Exactly. Desktop-mode games can NOT be downloaded through windows store, so it's pretty much a non-issue.

Ok, one may say "how about 18+ metro-mode games?". Really? What mature 18+ game can be made for metro, except for japanese anime-style porn games?

Anything that can run in Unreal? It was ported to WinRT

Sraf said,

Anything that can run in Unreal? It was ported to WinRT

Ahh, for some reason I mistook the PEGI 18 rating as adult. ESRB's 18+ rating is AO. I thought europeans were more open minded than americans in such matters.

Maybe MS thinks PEGI 18 is the same as AO. /S

Yes, perhaps they should allow them, although I still think mature games and metro, which is primarily for touch devices, can't go along very well.

eddman said,

Ahh, for some reason I mistook the PEGI 18 rating as adult. ESRB's 18+ rating is AO. I thought europeans were more open minded than americans in such matters.

Maybe MS thinks PEGI 18 is the same as AO. /S

Yes, perhaps they should allow them, although I still think mature games and metro, which is primarily for touch devices, can't go along very well.

I think that this is part of the issue, PEGI has no direct line to a ESRB M rating, and PEGI 18 is basically the same as ESRB AO

why would they keep pooping on everything. common ********s at microsoft just make the processes for highly anticipated potential failing start more fluidly not harder and harder and harder.

Its quit strange, since the Microsoft account does include age of the user and kids have restricted accounts just like the 360. I think Notch and Newell maybe are more correct then ever if this turns out to be the case.

"this new Windows Store decision effectively crushes any incentive to bring the other two games to Windows 8"

i don't think THIS crushed your hopes...

Hopefully Microsoft respond so we can understand their reasoning even though it may be daft.

This sort of action along with their bonkers account management for people that amazingly might not live in one country their entire life is really grating. When simple things are a hassle, you look elsewhere.

WooHoo!!! said,
This sort of action along with their bonkers account management for people that amazingly might not live in one country their entire life is really grating. When simple things are a hassle, you look elsewhere.

You know they've fixed that, right?

Wyn6 said,

You know they've fixed that, right?

I wouldn't exactly say fixed, more like papered over the cracks of an already badly designed bridge that nobody would risk crossing.

Perhaps, I missed the crux of your argument somewhere and may need to reread it. But, I think there's in inherent flaw in what you believe to be the case. The games you reference are PC and console games. The Windows Store isn't where these sorts of "mature" games are supposed to be sold, although an x86 port or a ground-up RT version could theoretically be sold there.

The Windows Store, as I see it, and admittedly I may be wrong, is probably considered more for casual games and such not things you would purchase on PC. These games wouldn't have been in the Windows Store in the first place, thus you will purchase them through the channels you normally would. However, the question is, does this exclude titles like Deadspace which were primarily developed for the mobile space? Considering I haven't read what constitutes the various ratings tiers, I don't know if Deadspace is considered mature or not or if it's more along the lines of The Harvest or Fusion Sentient (Windows Phone).

If so, and they are also excluding games design specifically for mobile, and Microsoft does indeed decide to handle things as your article states (Yes, I know they've confirmed this) then perhaps once in practice they will reconsider.

So what you're suggesting is that they're intentionally fragmenting the market. Also, I've never heard of Deadspace, only Dead Space. I assume they're different games as Dead Space is obviously not a mobile only game.

They will have a marketplace similar to GFWL on Windows 7 now and then Windows Store... with probably a completely different or somewhat overlapping set of games.

KSib said,
So what you're suggesting is that they're intentionally fragmenting the market. Also, I've never heard of Deadspace, only Dead Space. I assume they're different games as Dead Space is obviously not a mobile only game.

They will have a marketplace similar to GFWL on Windows 7 now and then Windows Store... with probably a completely different or somewhat overlapping set of games.

Yeah. My bad on Dead Space. I was typing that, but was thinking of the iPad exclusive game, Infinity Blade. I mistakenly mixed the two up as they're both on iPad. So, my mistake. What I was getting at was mature games made specifically for the mobile space.

That being said, no I'm not suggesting intentional fragmentation. What I'm saying is the article talks about PC games not casual and mobile games (yes, I'm aware there can be some bleed-over here). The Windows 8 Store to my knowledge is designed to sell casual and mobile games. PC games are still designed to be sold by those devs and publishers.

Again, this is not to say that PC games cannot be casual or mobile or vice versa. But, the author's examples were games solely made for PC and wouldn't be sold in the Windows Store anyway. Not sure If I've lent any clarity to my post, but there it is.

KSib said,
So what you're suggesting is that they're intentionally fragmenting the market. Also, I've never heard of Deadspace, only Dead Space. I assume they're different games as Dead Space is obviously not a mobile only game.

They will have a marketplace similar to GFWL on Windows 7 now and then Windows Store... with probably a completely different or somewhat overlapping set of games.

Offering new software technologies and a new model is now 'fragmenting' and somehow destructive?

You argument is stupidity built on shiny ignorance.

If I had to guess, lawsuits. The EU have already proved they have no problem with suing MS, so someday down the line some kid will download a game from the windows store, something will happen (that's unrelated to the game), his parents will claim it was all the games fault and then the EU will sue MS for not collecting the kids passport / id card to prove he's 18.

It's a stupid rule nonetheless.

---

I also don't know why the EU has such strict licensing. Games rated ESRB mature or under are allowed on the Windows store (so like 90%+ of all games) but when they go over to the EU they get rated ESRB adult (or PEGI 18).

-Razorfold said,
If I had to guess, lawsuits. The EU have already proved they have no problem with suing MS, so someday down the line some kid will download a game from the windows store, something will happen (that's unrelated to the game), his parents will claim it was all the games fault and then the EU will sue MS for not collecting the kids passport / id card to prove he's 18.

It's a stupid rule nonetheless.

---

I also don't know why the EU has such strict licensing. Games rated ESRB mature or under are allowed on the Windows store (so like 90%+ of all games) but when they go over to the EU they get rated ESRB adult (or PEGI 18).

Yeah... EU is stupid when it comes to Microsoft lawsuits.

-Razorfold said,
If I had to guess, lawsuits. The EU have already proved they have no problem with suing MS, so someday down the line some kid will download a game from the windows store, something will happen (that's unrelated to the game), his parents will claim it was all the games fault and then the EU will sue MS for not collecting the kids passport / id card to prove he's 18.

That's nonsense. Steam and other services operate in the EU without threat of lawsuit - all they need to implement is a basic age verify function. In fact it's more likely that Microsoft will be targeted for restricting games on the criteria of age, as the Windows Store is the only method for distributing WinRT apps and it is therefore anti-competitive.

The Windows Store is a clearly anti-competitive move, allowing Microsoft to take a significant cut of software sales that it has never had before while shutting out competing stores (from Amazon, Steam, etc).

That's nonsense. Steam and other services operate in the EU without threat of lawsuit - all they need to implement is a basic age verify function.

Yes and that's stopped the EU before? OS X , iOS, Android all operate in the EU fine and they all have locked in or bundled web browsers and media players. But when MS does it with Windows, it's grounds for a lawsuit (or a second lawsuit even though IE isn't a monopoly anymore).

The Windows Store is a clearly anti-competitive move, allowing Microsoft to take a significant cut of software sales that it has never had before while shutting out competing stores (from Amazon, Steam, etc).

Only on Windows RT. On the regular Windows 8 all other stores work fine. This is exactly like the way it is with Apple; iOS has a locked down app store, OS X doesn't.

-Razorfold said,
Yes and that's stopped the EU before? OS X , iOS, Android all operate in the EU fine and they all have locked in or bundled web browsers and media players. But when MS does it with Windows, it's grounds for a lawsuit (or a second lawsuit even though IE isn't a monopoly anymore).

Microsoft is the only one of those three to hold a monopoly in their specific market. Google and Apple don't get sued for the same thing because there's no clear dominance by a single competitor.

On the other hand, Google have/are being investigated by the EU for abuse of its monopoly on search. Contrary to popular belief, they don't just pick on Microsoft, just ask Google, Intel and ThyssenKrupp.

-----------------

AFAICT there's no reason legal reason why MS can't sell mature rated games. All they'd have to do is ask for a credit card or something similar. That's how most other places get around it.

Majesticmerc said,

Microsoft is the only one of those three to hold a monopoly in their specific market. Google and Apple don't get sued for the same thing because there's no clear dominance by a single competitor.

On the other hand, Google have/are being investigated by the EU for abuse of its monopoly on search. Contrary to popular belief, they don't just pick on Microsoft, just ask Google, Intel and ThyssenKrupp.

-----------------

AFAICT there's no reason legal reason why MS can't sell mature rated games. All they'd have to do is ask for a credit card or something similar. That's how most other places get around it.

Inb4:

EU: "Google, you are a internet search monopoly because everyone likes your service. You must stop being so good at doing what you advertise."

theyarecomingforyou said,

That's nonsense. Steam and other services operate in the EU without threat of lawsuit - all they need to implement is a basic age verify function. In fact it's more likely that Microsoft will be targeted for restricting games on the criteria of age, as the Windows Store is the only method for distributing WinRT apps and it is therefore anti-competitive.

The Windows Store is a clearly anti-competitive move, allowing Microsoft to take a significant cut of software sales that it has never had before while shutting out competing stores (from Amazon, Steam, etc).


Wait, launching an app store is inherently anti-competitive if it's Microsoft?

Just want to be sure. Because it's the same model as other platforms.

Joshie said,

Wait, launching an app store is inherently anti-competitive if it's Microsoft?

Not just if it's Microsoft. Android allows competing stores. Apple on the otherhand should be investigated for its restrictions. I believe it is fundamentally anti-competitive to block competing stores from offering software for a particular platform. The problem with Microsoft doing it is that it has a dominant position in the computer market and it is leveraging that position to reduce competition and take a percentage of all WinRT software sales on the platform.

Microsoft was fined because it used its market dominance in the OS market to unfairly gain an advantage in the web browser market, killing off Netscape and pretending that integration into Windows was required. IE because so synonymous with the internet itself that the EU required that a browser ballot be added to make people away of the competition - that action has resulted in the marketshare of IE dropping considerably, especially in comparison to the US.

I am against large businesses abuses their positions to restrict consumer choice and drive up prices. The EU also took action against mobile phone companies for roaming charges and Intel for coercing OEMs into dropping AMD products. The EU was also investigating Apple with regards to the iTunes Store before Apple dropped DRM. The US regulatory bodies have been incredibly ineffectual and you only have to look at the US broadband and mobile phone markets to see the damaging impact that has had. The EU is far from perfect but I broadly support its actions; I just believe it needs to be more even handed, as Apple has been able to avoid serious investigation despite its anti-consumer practices.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Not just if it's Microsoft. Android allows competing stores. Apple on the otherhand should be investigated for its restrictions. I believe it is fundamentally anti-competitive to block competing stores from offering software for a particular platform. The problem with Microsoft doing it is that it has a dominant position in the computer market and it is leveraging that position to reduce competition and take a percentage of all WinRT software sales on the platform.


Is it? They aren't blocking any ecosystems whatsoever in the market they dominate (PCs). All of their competitors have made it abundantly clear, however, that the ARM-based tablet market is *post*-PC, entirely separate, and a market Microsoft has no dominance in. The software ecosystem is restricted to Microsoft only within the confines of Windows RT.

What's more, your example of Android is misleading. Out of the box, Android disables (blocks) the installation of any and all software not acquired from the Play store. You can enable side-loading, but it comes with a stern warning that you're putting your system at risk. Android may not permanently remove compatibility with other ecosystems, but they put FUD between them and users.

When it comes down to it, for each mobile platform to have a restricted (to some degree) ecosystem unique to each is *the industry standard*, and can be observed across the board. In fact, Microsoft is wholly unique in launching with support for x86 slate tablets that have the unrestricted openness of the desktop OS, and as a result, Windows 8 Pro is immediately more of an open platform than even Android.

Your complaint is unfounded, and requires severely bending one's perspective on the state of the industry. Because of the facts that you're choosing to ignore, I continue to stand by my rhetorical "if it's Microsoft" remark.

It's also incredibly worth pointing out one massive exception to the Sherman Act: if behavior can be attributed to the best interests of the consumer, it overrides anti-competitive side effects. There is absolutely no denying that closed ecosystems protect users from malware and viruses in a way that isn't possible on a platform that opens up, and every single report of new malware on Android goes out of its way to point out that it primarily affects users who disable the side-load block.

Closed ecosystems still provide a path for software developers and only block competition from third party ECOSYSTEMs, and you have to argue that mobile devices are a platform for that sort of competition in the first place anyway. So users are seeing incredible innovation in the mobile space, even where ecosystems are controlled, while also getting a safer computing experience.

These are a lot of immediate, quantifiable pros for consumers, where the indirect, fuzzy 'cons' that require cause-and-effect analysis from the effects had on consumers EVENTUALLY at some point in the FUTURE due to restrictions on certain kinds of unrelated business models...well, it doesn't really stand firm.

Edited by Joshie, Oct 12 2012, 3:40am :