Miranda L Visser / Jul 2nd, 2012 No Comments
Speaking about Unreal Engine 4 at the Game Developers Conference in Taipei this week, Epic Games CEO Time Sweeney revealed that the iOS title “Infinity Blade” was more profitable than the more expensive and widely known “Gears of War.”
According to Gamasutra, Sweeney says that the iPad is approaching the performance capabilities of two of this generation’s consoles: Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This development would be faster than Moore’s law which dictates, “That the number of transistors on a given chip can be doubled every two years,” according to CNET.
In conjunction with this, Epic Games has updated their strategy. Sweeney talked about the development of Unreal Engine 4 which, in contrast to Unreal Engine 3′s development that took place during the creation of “Gears of War”, will have a different set of goals and focus on expanding beyond the limitations of consoles.
Epic Games expects that Unreal Engine 4 will herald increased portability, allowing for games to scale from high end PC’s to devices in the palm of your hand.
Convergence is the name of the game in the industry these days, made obvious by marked efforts at E3 this year to incorporate handheld devices in any way possible. Sweeney sees merging of consoles, PC’s and even mobile devices looming close to the horizon. Epic Games plans to push themselves into the future with Unreal Engine 4 as characterized by their mantra, “Unreal Everywhere.” While many, if not most, games in their current state have to be virtually rebuilt for a variety of platforms, Epic Games plans to push portability by making games to partner with an engine that can branch over to a variety of platforms.
But where Sweeney sees expansion, others might see substitution.
Many “hardcore gamers” poke fun at the mobile market, associating it only with goofy titles such as “Cut the Rope” and “Angry Birds,” an entirely different league of game when compared to “Gears of War” and “Call of Duty.” Nevertheless, gamers need to pay attention to the implications when a big developer’s most profitable title is not a widely popular console game, but a lesser known iOS title.
Altruistic views of the industry’s love for their loyal fans aside, game publishers (and many developers) have supreme loyalty to one thing: profits.
Facebook likes don’t bring home the bacon. Big players in the industry walk a fine line: between doing as much as they can to cut costs and maximize profits, and still keeping fans just happy enough to buy their product.
In an industry devoted to entertainment, however, consumers hold substantial power. The almost immediate backlash against EA and Bioware by players following the release of Mass Effect 3 preceded the promise of an alternate ending. It came as a surprise to many that an industry giant would bow to such pressure.
For consumers who wield their buying power to demand a certain quality of products, what does it mean when a game on a platform widely looked down upon by that market out-profits a fan favorite? It could very well mean a change of face for the gaming industry.