Epic's Capps: $0.99 apps are killing the industry

Epic's Capps: $0.99 apps are killing the industry

By Rob Crossley

April 20th 2011 at 10:45AM

Itâ??s never been a more uncertain time in the industry, says studio exec

The dollar mobile app is damaging the industry, a leading executive at Epic Games has said.

Epic company president Mike Capps says the prevalence of the rock-bottom app price point is deforming the value of games in the consumer conscience.

“If there's anything that's killing [the retail games business] it's dollar apps," he told IndustryGamers.

"How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it? People are used to paying 99 cents,” he added.

Capps’ claim echoes Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who at GDC in March made an extraordinary call to action against flooding mobile markets with cheap, and sometimes valueless, games.

Apple and Google have both created billion-dollar mobile game ecosystems. The iPhone manufacturer announced this year that developers have, between them, made $2 billion in app games.

Though an impressive figure, rudimentary arithmetic shows there are only so many developers who could make a living from these returns.

In January, Apple revealed that the ten billionth app had been downloaded from the App Store.

Epic Games has brought comparatively high-end graphics to the app store with its Unreal Engine tech. Its debut App Store title, Infinity Blade, sells for around $5 and had topped the charts.

Elsewhere in his interview, Capps commented on the intense transition occurring within the games business.

“It's an uncertain time in the industry,” he said.

“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?

“But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins."