Infinity Blade Delivered Epic's Best Return on Investment

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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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109 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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 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
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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