This isn’t “Jim Cornette shoots on the wrestling world,” this is “Tim Sweeney rants on the tech industry.” Yes, the controversial man that often says things that lands him in hot water took the opportunity at the 2020 DICE Summit event in Las Vegas to rant on loot-boxes, politics in gaming, And tech giants violating gamer rights.
According to gamasutra.com, Sweeney seemed to have been very vocal during his time at the 2020 DICE Las Vegas event insofar that he decided to give the crowd there an earful of a rant.
The website starts Sweeney’s rant off with people needing to accept that gaming, as a whole, has turned into a social activity as much as it is an entertainment medium:
“Gaming is becoming a first-class social activity. Gaming will be as much as a communication platform as an entertainment experience. […] Whether we like it or not we have to accept gaming as a platform for world discourse.”
The site sees Sweeney switching from video games acting as a tool for discourse on over to engines, games, services, and tech not being locked down by publishers — he also feels that publishers own their customers.
According to the CEO over the Epic Games Store, he believes everyone should have an equal footing much like what Fortnite has built:
“We’ll all be free to mix and match platforms and engines, online services, free of lockdown…a level playing field where everyone can compete on equal terms. This idea that publishers should ‘own’ the customers… it’s just a bad idea and opposite of what Fortnite is built on.”
The website says that it may seem like Sweeney is referencing to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, but the publication site cites him saying that “those companies have been good partners,” in that they have helped Epic bring Fortnite across multiple platforms “despite their walled garden models.” However, the site highlights who he was really referring to:
“Sweeney was more referencing online tech giants, naming Google and Facebook as companies that have adopted “customer-adversarial” business models that take advantage of users. These companies also have caused a “loss of privacy and loss of freedom” and “a lot of collateral damage for companies like [Epic],” he said.
It’s no secret that Sweeney has personally butt heads with Google recently. Sweeny did not—and still does not—agree with the Google Play’s 30/70 revenue split so the company opted to not release the game on the storefront and instead circumvented the store by offering a game download directly from Epic’s website. “What we have in the case of Android is a fake open platform,” he said, calling its practices “devious.”
He also railed against Apple’s App Store cut, which is also 30 percent, calling that ratio “completely decoupled from any cost equation whatsoever” when compared to other businesses in other industries that build huge margins on a tiny fraction of that share.”
But his rant doesn’t end there. Taking the opportunity at the 2020 DICE event as if he were some all-star egotistical celebrity at the Oscars virtue signaling to the world, Sweeney felt the need to tackle loot-boxes despite them being in Fortnite:
“He also took time to target lootbox-based design and pay-to-win models, asking the roomful of developers at the Vegas-based DICE, “What do we want to be when we grow up?…Do we want to be Las Vegas, or worldwide, highly-respected creators of entertainment products that customers can trust?””
But wait, there’s even more! Sweeney also tackled politics too and even makes an insinuation to the whole Chick-Fil-A situation:
“Sweeney eventually merged his open market perspective into commentary about game companies’ role in the current political discourse in U.S., coming to the conclusion, “we as companies need to divorce ourselves from politics,” particularly when it comes to player discourse and content creation.
“We have to create a very clear separation between church and state,” he added, saying that “there’s no reason to drag divisive topics…into gaming at all.” He also laughed at the notion of someone allowing political affiliations to dictate where they might buy a chicken sandwich, a not so subtle reference to fast food chain Chick-Fil-A.”
And lastly, Sweeney ends his long-winded rant by saying that he’s for gamers and how other companies and bodies in the games industry need to value gamer rights:
“”We need to respect gamer rights and freedoms,” said Sweeney. “…We’re all going to have to be steadfast in fighting for these things.””