Epic: 99¢ Apps Are Killing Us
Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, believes that the rise of mobile, social, and digital distribution means that the industry is “scary” – especially for a firm who, with its Unreal Engine, is in the business of pushing new technology – and that the range of smartphone software available for as little as 99¢ is “killing us”.
Speaking to Industry Gamers, Capps said: “We have not been this uncertain about what’s coming next in the game industry since Epic’s been around, for 20 years. We’re at such an inflection point. Will there be physical distribution in 10 years, or even five? Will anyone care about the next console generation? What’s going on in PC? Can you make money on PC if it’s not a connected game? What’s going on in mobile?
“Tons of really scary things…It used to be: ‘Well, of course PlayStation 3 will be successful, because PlayStation 2 was amazingly successful.’ But can you say for sure that everyone’s going to jump to the next generation? I sure hope so – I’m going to try to make some great tech that will make everyone want to. But it’s scary.”
Epic has been a big supporter of mobile gaming, and iOS in particular. Chair Entertainment’s Infinity Blade, published by Epic, became the fastest-grossing iOS app of all time, and the firm added iOS support to its Unreal SDK late last year. But still, he sees the increasing popularity of 99¢ apps as posing a great threat to firms whose business models require that they sell their games for 60 times as much.
“If there’s anything that’s killing us it’s dollar apps,” he said. “How do you sell someone a $60 game that’s really worth it? They’re used to 99¢. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry. But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins."
Capps’ comments are further evidence of the growing angst among ‘traditional’ games businesses as they witness a dramatically changing market faced with greater choice than ever before. Nintendo has been an outspoken critic of low-cost smartphone apps in recent months, with Reggie Fils-Aime saying they devalue traditional game experiences, and Satoru Iwata saying: “What we produce has value, and we should protect that value.”
Source: Industry Gamers