OPINION: iPhone devs handed an Epic wake-up call

OPINION: iPhone devs handed an Epic wake-up call

By Rob Crossley

December 13th 2010 at 2:09PM

What does it mean for the humble indie when Epic Games delivers the fastest-grossing App Store game in its first real attempt?

Epic Games’ first fully-fledged iOS game has become the fastest grossing App Store title of all time, according to independent data.

Infinity Blade, which runs on a modified Unreal Engine for smartphones, is said has generated $1,625,000 in just 4 days.

News site Appmodo suggests the sales spree makes Infinity Blade the fastest-grossing game ever released on the App Store.

“The previous record was set by Cut the Rope with over $1 million in 10 days,” the site claims.

Whether or not Infinity Blade is the App Store’s standout fastest seller, its success is another indication of the iPhone platform’s viability for triple-A blockbusters – something which the platform is relatively new to.

The App Store offers users a vast digital catalogue of relatively cheap and reputably cheerful titles, from Orbital to Game Dev Story to Drop7 to Flick Kick Football.

These games have fostered a subculture of indie developers, who may not pop eyes with their high revenue shares, but you can be certain EA yearns for the kind of profit margins that a game like Angry Birds has brought in.

Yet some in the industry, such as Peter Molyneux, believe the smartphone market is ready for an invasion of the Old Guard; publishers with money to throw, projects with budgets of millions, PR campaigns and hype.

Infinity Blade may be looked back on as a watershed moment in that regard.
 
The game, developed by Epic subsidiary Chair Entertainment, is the first of the company’s new venture into the smartphone market.

Epic Games’ vice president Mark Rein recently explored the potential of smartphone gaming in an interview with Develop.

“I love Angry Birds, Flight Control and Doodle Jump but there are lots of successes on the iTunes App Store beyond those types of games,” he said.

Like all platforms, the App Store will be a broad church of different entertainment experiences, from Nordic curios to copyright-dodging board games to thumbsy attempts at FPSes. Long may that continue.

The success stories for Apple’s glossy mobile tended to be about the humble dev breaking onto the scene. Yet the Old Guard, now it seems, is beginning to steal thunder.