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Epic: 59p Apps Are "Killing Us"

Jonathan Lester
Apps, Casual Games, Epic Games, Games news, Mobile games

Epic: 59p Apps Are "Killing Us"

We all know that casual games and apps are on an unstoppable march to glory, and Epic Games believe that they pose a massive threat to the triple-A industry. These are uncertain times indeed for traditional games, and whilst Gears Of War 3 is likely make a killing, Epic's Mike Capps suggests that it's becoming increasingly difficult for titles to warrant a £40-£60 price tag.

Speaking to Industry Gamers, Epic President Mike Capps pointed the finger at 59p apps as the main obstacle facing the traditional triple-A games market. After all, if we can buy a game for a pound or two, shelling out over £40 suddenly seems much less appealing.

If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps. How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it ... They're used to 99 cents. 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.

We have not been this uncertain about what's coming next in the games 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?

It's worth noting, however, that Epic have released the Unreal Development Kit for iOS - and have published Infinity Blade (one of the most popular and highest grossing apps on the iPhone). You can read my full review over at Mobot.

To be honest, we're still not sure where we stand on this one. Whilst there's no denying that £0.59 - £2.99 is an attractive price for an app, we're not necessarily convinced that gamers are choosing between buying Angry Birds or Gears Of War etc. All we know is that Capps is correct about traditional needing to fully justify their price tag in this day and age, and that value has never been more important to us gamers.

It's time to have your say. Are 59p apps killing the triple-A industry? Or are they just a scapegoat to take our attention away from the fact that the big publishers simply need to add more value to their games? Drop us a line in the comments!

Add a comment3 comments
StauntonLick  Apr. 20, 2011 at 13:48

Value is a massive issue in the games industry these days. It's not just the 59p app market - think about how quickly games drop in price from release day. The whole system is completely self-destructive - why would anyone pay £39.99 for a game that will be half that price or less in a few weeks time?

Publishers (note that I don't say "developers"!) seem to think that the answer to this is to focus more on the multiplayer aspects of triple-A titles. However, this comes at the expense of the single-player experience, further reducing the perceived value of a game. Games used to represent the best value of any entertainment form in terms of hours-per-pound; now it is far less so. Most modern games clock in easily under 10 hours, with some as few as 3 or 4. When £40 used to get you weeks of experience, and now barely fills an afternoon, it's little wonder that people turn to the much cheaper, "more bang for your buck" offerings of the app store.

Ben  Apr. 20, 2011 at 14:02

AAA developers need to stop wasting time and money making their games look identical on each platform!

Then games would cost nowhere near as much to develop and would not take so long either - so they would not need to be priced as expensively as they are now in order to make a profit.

And gamers would get better games that are focused/dedicated to their chosen platform.

StauntonLick  Apr. 20, 2011 at 15:01

Surely it's the other way round - developers save a lot of time and money by making one game and publishing it to three systems (Xbox/PC/PS3). If they were to make each copy unique to each architecture they would have to make essentially three different games, tripling production time and costs.

I seriously doubt that any developer starts off by creating three different games, then actively tries to homogenize them across all formats.

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