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December 15, 2010

Epic Games to Provide Gears of War & Arkham Asylum Technology to Apple’s iPad and iPhone Game Developers

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The development technology that created award winning video games like Gears of War (1, 2 & 3) and the Batman Arkham Asylum Series is soon going to be made available to iPhone and iPad game developers. This is a massive indication that the mobile gaming industry is booming, especially on Apple’s platforms.

Epic Games, the developer responsible for Gears of War and Arkham Asylum, plans to release an updated version of their game development technology. The tool, known as the Unreal Development Kit, will be made available to the public this coming Thursday. The kit is free to download and will include updated tools that will provide developers with the technology required to create high-quality graphics and animations on iOS.

This will essentially simplify and speed up the typically lengthy development processes for i platform games. Epic Games doesn’t charge license fees to mess around with the kit or to make free games. However there is a catch. If a developers is successful in creating a game and wants to put it on the market, they have to pay EPIC a $99.00 licensing fee PLUS 25% royalties after the first $5,000 in sales.

Epic’s co – founder Mark Rein was quoted saying: “Apple’s App Store is the most vibrant market for mobile gaming, if you’re going to make a game for a mobile device, and you want to make the most money, you’re nuts not to make it for iOS.”

Rein definitely has a point. The app store is full of games, and their graphics and game play features have grown since the days of the original iPhone. Over the past few years, Apple has improved the technologies of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to support higher quality graphics in games. Apple has also begun marketing games heavily in both advertising campaigns and in its stores.

If you think that iDevices are not gaming platforms, think again. Apple has sold more than 125 million devices using its iOS operating system. This poses strong competition for the Nintendo DS, which has shipped roughly 135 million units, and the PlayStation Portable, which has sold more than 62 million units. The top selling iOS application? A game called Angry Birds!

Then you have to take into account Google’s Android operating system. Android is taking a large segment of the cell phone market, but there are issues with it. The wide variety and specs of android phones poses a challenge for mobile game developers. Some Android phones may have an abundance of power to run graphically intensive games, while others may not have enough. Another issue (which could easily be solved) is the fact that Google’s Android Marketplace doesn’t allow for applications above a certain file size. Google would need to expand that ability in order to accommodate games like Epic’s Infinity Blade which is a large download in the 500 megabyte range.

I look forward to seeing what new games can be created using Epic’s fantastic engine and graphical capabilities! Check out the trailer for Infinity Blade from IGN.

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