Now this is really shocking. You’d expect to hear that Gears of War was the most profitable game for Epic Games but it seems that is not the case. According to Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, the most profitable game for Epic, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is Infinity Blade. Yeap, a mobile game is more profitable than the X360’s exclusive Juggernaut. The key thing here though is the ‘in terms of man years invested versus revenue‘ clarification, which means that Sweeney was not referring to total profits for the company. Still though, it’s shocking how Infinity Blade can give triple-A titles a run for their money.
That was revealed during Sweeney’s second keynote at GDC Taipei. Sweeney has also revealed something that was stated previously by Cevat Yerli, and that was the future of gaming. According to Sweeney, the free-to-play model is the way to go and will grow even more in the coming years.
Which brings us to why Infinity Blade is more profitable to Epic Games than Gears of War. Sweeney said that more than 100 artists worked on Gears of War. On the other hand, we expect that the number of artists that had worked on Infinity Blade was lower than half of it. In other words, the development cost for Infinity Blade was significantly lower than Gears of War. This basically means that Infinity Blade was profitable for Epic with lesser copies sold, even though it had a lower price than GoW.
That’s also another reason why the free-to-play model is the way to go for future titles. As time goes by, developers will have to go global in order to maximize their profits, instead of relying on the European and North American markets – as they do today. As Sweeney said:
“All these western developers spending 30 million to develop these games for dedicated consoles – all of these companies are going to be invading the asian markets within the next five years or so and they’ll be free to play, worldwide, global products. The only way to survive [and maximize your profits] is to go global.”