Infinity Blade Is More Profitable than Gears of War

Score one for cheap iOS gaming, a profitable one that is! Epic Games, the powerhouse developer behind Gears of War and the Unreal Tournament franchise as well as the popularly-used Unreal Engine, has found the best return-on-investment on a game that is not available for consoles or PC… a series exclusive to iOS.

With graphics showcase Infinity Blade, Epic Games has their most profitable venture according to CEO Tim Sweeney. Although, it is important to note that this statement is also based on investments and man-hours poured into the bigger console releases. Gears of War as well as the engine powering it, Unreal Engine 3, took four years and a hundred artists to complete. The entire development team at Chair Entertainment, a subsidiary of Epic Games, that crafted Infinity Blade consisted of only twelve people.

Comparably, the Infinity Blade series has generated over $30 million in revenue as of the beginning of this year while Gears of War is in the hundreds of millions (also keep in mind the former launched at $5.99 while the latter launched at $59.99). So, Epic Games still would not quite be able to rely on iOS releases despite the tremendous return-on-investment. Instead, they have been optimizing their fourth iteration of Unreal Engine from the ground up to support mobile platforms as well as consoles, the web, and PCs.

A goal for Unreal Engine 4 is for it be easy for developers to create games that are scalable for all supported platforms, a strategy they call “Unreal Everywhere.” Sweeney realizes the tablets’s potential in pure gaming prowess as well, as he discusses how the third-generation iPad is approaching the horsepower Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3′s horsepower. As physical copies go extinct, the development company also sees the free-to-play model as being the future of gaming.

Will we even need consoles in the next 5-10 years? As long as the rapid pace that mobile hardware is becoming more powerful continues at its current rate, that question may answer itself.

“The most profitable game we’ve ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actuallyInfinity Blade. It’s more profitable than Gears of War. Nowadays the high end of the game business is in these console game, Activision invests almost $100 million per year in Call of Duty. Epic has been very very surprised to see how fast smartphone and tablet devices are improving.”

– Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games

[via Gamasutra]