As large developers get more invested in the mobile gaming market, they’re finding that apps are way more profitable than big-budget console productions. According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney that’s exactly the case with the Infinity Blade series, which has actually proven to be more profitable than the Gears of War franchise.
Don’t be surprised—Sweeney laid down the facts during a keynote presentation the Game Developers Conference in Taipei today. As reported by Gamasutra, the CEO noted that mobile games can be a much better investment than most big-ticket franchises in terms of cost versus renevue:
“We’ve been very happy with the game industry’s growth,” Sweeny said. “For a while we were worried that the divide between the console growth in the west, and the growth of PCs, would increase.” Still, and this is where his opinion begins to converge with Cousins’ keynote yesterday, Sweeney revealed that “The most profitable game we’ve ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actually Infinity Blade. It’s more profitable than Gears of War.”
This is why Sweeney believes that future growth will be fueled by free-to-play. “Nowadays the high end of the game business is in these console game [sic],” he says. “Activision invests almost $100 million per year in Call of Duty.” And who can realistically afford to do that? At the same time, he notes that Epic has been “very very surprised to see how fast smartphone and tablet devices are improving.”
Where Gears of War requires hundreds of artists, developers, producers, press, and marketing teams over several different locations, Infinity Blade has a lot less overhead to worry about. When you also consider that the install base for smartphones and tablets is huge compared to gaming consoles—and downloadable distribution is a big money-saver compared to physical discs—it’s no wonder that Infinity Blade is Epic Games’ biggest money maker.