Infinity Blade Delivered Epic's Best Return on Investment

Wednesday June 27, 2012 11:29 AM PDT by Jordan Golson

At the beginning of this year, Epic Games announced it had made $30 million in revenue from its Infinity Blade series of iOS games. Now, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney says Infinity Blade is its most profitable game, in terms of resources invested versus revenue.

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"The most profitable game we've ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actually Infinity Blade. It's more profitable than Gears of War."

This is why Sweeney believes that future growth will be fueled by free-to-play. "Nowadays the high end of the game business is in these console game," he says. "Activision invests almost $100 million per year in Call of Duty." And who can realistically afford to do that? At the same time, he notes that Epic has been "very very surprised to see how fast smartphone and tablet devices are improving."
Infinity Blade 2 was launched last year at the iPhone 4S introduction. Infinity Blade Dungeons, a prequel to the first two games, was previewed at E3 2012 and is expected to launch later this year.

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Posted: 30 months ago

This proves to me that in just a matter of years, game consoles will be almost obsolete.


They won't be obsolete, but the advantage of the iPad is that the mobile tech is catching up to the desktop tech and has the advantage of being updated every year, where a console/desktop is updated ever 5-7 years.

But he is right, you cannot run a multi-million dollar game investment anymore...the returns just arent there for literally everyone but a select few.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago
If I'm not mistaken, Dungeons was also previewed at the New iPad keynote where the CEO of Epic Games stated that Dungeons was supposed to be released in May.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago

that's the thing as portable game devices get better so does what you can do with a console... i mean i love my ipad/iphone for gaming as time wasters... but for real gaming give me a console or computer... if you think of the power they pack into an iPad... think of the power that is available if you scale up the size to be the size of an Xbox360/PS3.. handheld gaming is growing so quickly right now becasue it was pretty lame in the past and could only get better... it will hit a wall fairly quickly where you can't shrink the insides anymore and cant get more power with out generating too much heat... as in melting plastics or metal cases scorching your skin...


I think that the iphone CPU is much more robust that what launched the Apollo rockets... Apollo tech level was probably closer to an S/E 30

;)


I agree with you. I mean i absolutely love my iOS devices for gaming because they are always with me, and they actually provide a nice gaming experience, especially the iPad. But i wouldn't trade my PS3 for them. I need physical buttons and big budget games with more advanced controlling scheme.

I think they both have a place and can co-exist with each other.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago
Thank you based jobs.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago
Activision can dump $100mil annually into the CoD/MW series because the games generate BILLIONS of dollars in revenue every release. At least the last three or four versions have generated hundreds of millions of dollars on launch day alone. MW2 set a single day entertainment sales record, Black Ops broke that record, MW3 broke Black Ops' record and I wouldn't be surprised if MW3's record gets broken this fall.

Now, can everyone have sales numbers like these? Of course not, but there is obviously still a place for big budget games like CoD/MW just like there is a place for big budget movies even though cat videos on YouTube get millions of views.


Lethal
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago

This proves to me that in just a matter of years, game consoles will be almost obsolete.


I think I know what you meant to say, but you didn't quite say it :)

They won't be obsolete, but the advantage of the iPad is that the mobile tech is catching up to the desktop tech and has the advantage of being updated every year, where a console/desktop is updated ever 5-7 years.


I think iPad together with those casual games created a new game market nitch for those consumers who don't play hardcore multi-million dollar invested games.


that's the thing as portable game devices get better so does what you can do with a console... i mean i love my ipad/iphone for gaming as time wasters... but for real gaming give me a console or computer...


I agree with you. I mean i absolutely love my iOS devices for gaming because they are always with me, and they actually provide a nice gaming experience, especially the iPad. But i wouldn't trade my PS3 for them. I need physical buttons and big budget games with more advanced controlling scheme.

I think they both have a place and can co-exist with each other.


Let me give my take, you guys let me know if this is what you are all trying to say :)

In years long past, if you wanted to play an electronic game, you had to buy a dedicated electronic device. Computers came along, and stole a percentage of those people that wanted to play games, but to play "new" high end games, your hardware still had to be on the absolute cutting edge. Often times games couldn't even be maxed with current hardware. What all of that produced though, is that every last electronic gamer was on only a handful of platforms and tech, because all software required cutting edge hardware.

Whether you were a casual gamer, hardcore gamer, first person shooter, RPG, simple games, complex games, it didn't matter, you either had a console, or a desktop computer. The same device that was the best at playing solitaire, was also the best one for playing Doom.

Now though, the number of platforms available for gaming is large, and becoming more niche. The result of this is that the next console released can't count on a casual gamer buying an expensive console so that they can do casual gaming. Other aspects of a persons life entice people into having smart phones, which means they HAVE casual games. Those gamers are satisfied. Why would a satisfied gamer go buy a console? Or the newest Graphics Card? Or a high end desktop computer?

The big question is not whether a gaming platform will have a smaller percentage of the pie moving forward, they inevitably will. The question is whether they know how to survive with a smaller piece, and if they can cater to their core audience. Consoles won't be obsolete, but they will be more niche than they have in the past. Desktop computers won't be obsolete, but they will be more niche.

I think the electronic gaming industry has survived so far because even though the amount of pie each platform took home was less and less, the influx of new gamers was growing even faster. I would expect the pace of growth in the next 10 years to slow, and for the gaming industry to mature even more. The sign of a mature industry is not a single do-it-all platform, but a specific tool that caters to an intentional customer base.

Of all the ways that people can check their email in todays world, people choose the tools that work for them. You can't stick all gamers under the same electronic roof any easier than you can all those that send email. Gamers will pick up the device that gives them the experience they desire. The console market can no longer count on the casual gamer picking up a console.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago

Well, mobile devices are going to destroy that final profitable business model for console hardware. Because pretty soon just about everybody is gonna own a mobile device capable of playing decent casual games, and they'll be carrying it wherever they go. Mobile is convenient, ubiquitous, and the titles are uniformly cheap. I don't see Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo sinking tens of billions into launching the next generation of consoles, and if they do there's gonna be a bloodbath because they aren't going to draw the kind of casual gamers we know the consoles need to be remotely profitable.


All that cheap casual talk means is that mobile has cornered the budget market with $1-5 pricepoints. It doesn't mean they're destroying the AAA game market with $60 pricepoints.

With business models, in the console industry, software sells hardware. Gamers don't care about hardware as much as they do what type of IP they can play on it. Which is why all console makers have first party IP exclusives they leverage to sell hardware.

And the one thing Epic didn't bother to mention was that Apple did all their marketing for them by demoing their game at WWDC. How many developers have enjoyed that luxury? Epic, Gameloft, a couple other studios, that's it. Most developers see their titles buried in that commoditized mess called the app store with little fanfare. If Apple didn't demo Infinity Blade to help sell the iPad and stick that game in all their commercials, no way would Epic be pulling in $30 million ROI.

And $30 million is puny compared to the ROI of a blockbuster AAA game.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago

Activision can dump $100mil annually into the CoD/MW series because the games generate BILLIONS of dollars in revenue every release. At least the last three or four versions have generated hundreds of millions of dollars on launch day alone. MW2 set a single day entertainment sales record, Black Ops broke that record, MW3 broke Black Ops' record and I wouldn't be surprised if MW3's record gets broken this fall.

Now, can everyone have sales numbers like these? Of course not, but there is obviously still a place for big budget games like CoD/MW just like there is a place for big budget movies even though cat videos on YouTube get millions of views.


Lethal

I don't understand how someone could have downvoted you. This is total sense.


But he is right, you cannot run a multi-million dollar game investment anymore...the returns just arent there for literally everyone but a select few.


Yes you can. I'm dealing with a new console publisher who have been doing great even with the prevalence of mobile games, I don't think I know (personally that is) any console publisher who is not doing okay to great right now.



The matter of the fact is mobile gaming is a huge risk. For every Infinity Blade, Angry Birds, etc you have countless other flops. Some of the original creators of Geometry Wars got together after Activision disbanded them with the idea to dive into this superduper world of mobile gaming. They invested their severance packages into their new mobile company. They flopped.

Experienced, talented and well-funded. But they flopped. Because iOS (to serious developers) is the gold rush now. A couple of people will have these huge success stories, but most won't.

Compared to the console world where you almost always make back your investment and break even. Even the biggest console flops (Duke Nukem Forever and co) turn a profit.

There is much less risk attached to making console games. They're going nowhere.

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Who needs all that when a game can be streamed without any lag or slowdown to your tablet? You won't need a superior GPU. Only a matter of time...


Don't mean to burst your bubble, but there will always be lag with streaming. It's unavoidable.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago

I haven't seen anyone try and argue that developers should all switch their platform of choice, and develop iOS. In fact that would fly in the face of what a few people (myself included) have said, which is that a gaming platform is a tool, it works better for some games than others. To ask every game developer to go make iOS games is retarded, and will surely be the end of studios. But the problem is not a lack of developers that want to make games, the problem is there is a finite amount of money that the general public spends on games (or even entertainment). What Infinity Blade shows is that a significant amount of that entertainment money is switching platforms. It would be stupid for console platforms to ignore that.

What Infinity Blade (1&2) show is that if you have a game engine already paid for via other games (every other UE3 game) you can make a ton of money with effectively minimal work. You can't get visuals like that on a home grown engine cheaply.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 30 months ago

The amount of money required just to get a line of code onto a disc that can be read my a console is HUGE, much larger than the majority of other platforms. They aren't going away, but the amount of money going into that market WILL drop IF they don't adapt.

I don't code, so what makes programing for a game for a console so much more expensive than programing a game for any other platform?

The problem is, it's been the casual gamers who have made the last generation of handhelds and consoles profitable. Without them, the hardware manufacturers and the software studios wouldn't have the base to support the development of ever-more-expensive hardcore titles.

I wonder how many different definitions of "casual gamer" there are 'cause to me a casual gamer is typically a non-gamer that picked up a Wii plus a game or two (which lead to the Wii's massive rise) and then never bought another Wii game (which lead to the Wii's massive fall). Casual gamers are finicky, unreliable (from a platform loyalty perspective) and shouldn't be counted upon as the core demographic for something like a game console, IMO.


Next gen hardware won't save the console business if casual gamers don't bite. And casual gamers are clearly flocking to mobile devices. I don't see how Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft can get the math to work for any next gen devices without casual gamers.

If Sony, MS and Nintendo were only making machines that did nothing but play current gen video games I might agree with you, but that's not the case. MS, Sony, and to a lesser degree Nintendo, are putting next gen home entertainment systems in your living room and have been doing it for over half a decade. I mean, look at everything XboxLive offers and video game content is only a fraction of it (and a shrinking fraction at that). Kinect was never just about casual gaming and with SmartGlass coming... wow.

The 360 and PS3 were built to be connected home theater devices and it's only been in the past couple of years that The Cloud & streaming has caught up with them. Speaking of The Cloud, Sony just bought Gaikai (a video game streaming service) and in the leaked Xbox roadmap from a couple of weeks ago MS basically said streaming gaming is becoming a reality and mentioned OnLive by name (either as a future competitor, future acquisition or both). MS has deals in place w/AT&T and Verzion where if you have U-verse or FiOS you can use a 360 in leu of a cable box for TV content.

If anyone thinks these companies are just coasting and Apple is the only one 'innovating' they aren't paying attention.


Lethal
Rating: 1 Votes

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