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Epic Games founder looks to lead change in the games industry

Cross platform future FTW

tim sweeney, founder of epic games
Image: Polygon

In an interview with MCVUK Magazine, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney (not Tim Epic) is ready to step up and change how we consume games. Through business model changes and the momentum of the Epic Games Store, he’s hoping developers embrace the change as much as gamers. Says Sweeney:

I think the game business will change more in the next five years than the past ten. The last remnants of the old retail model of gaming are falling apart, and the biggest successes are fast-moving indies and fast-moving big competitors – exemplified by Fortnite and Apex Legends. All of the old decisions need to be revisited.

The biggest decision of the new paradigm of gaming is the Epic Game Store itself. Originally thought of as a competitive model created to knock up against Apple and Steam’s stores, it was built from the ground up to take advantage of the large Fortnite audience and offer developers something more. “It [Fortnite] accelerated everything by bringing in the large audience of engaged gamers required for a successful storefront launch, and the e-commerce economies of scale for an 88-12 percent revenue-sharing model,” says Sweeney.

That is one hell of a split. Google and Apple offer around a 30 percent take, and compared to 88 percent, that seems like crumbs. That’s probably why Metro Exodus and The Division 2 landed on the Epic Games Store instead of Steam. Besides the split, Epic Games is actively engaged with developers around the industry to bring the most interesting and unique games to the Epic Games Store.

The Epic Games Store team has been working with developers around the industry to identify prospective titles. In this early phase, we are starting with a small number of carefully selected games based on consistent quality across a wide variety of scopes. Throughout 2019, the store will open up more widely.

A future in which cross-platform is no longer a proprietary political nightmare

Sweeney hopes that through choosing the right games, offering more to developers to publish their games through the Epic Games Store, and engaging creators and influencers in the discovery process, it will help to differentiate the Epic Games Store from Steam and other platforms.

He’d just like to see a future in which cross-platform is no longer a proprietary political nightmare, an open platform world in which we can all play together.

We believe that all general computing platforms should be open platforms. Windows, Mac, Linux and Android are all open platforms. We’d love to see iOS open up as a platform, as it’s the lone remaining holdout, and this creates some uncomfortable implications around editorial decisions, national government censorship demands and a lack of economic competition in digital goods.

There is this whole bit about the Unreal Engine and how much that rules, and how it may bridge the gap between available programming languages. The gist is that the Epic Games Store is going to be focused on the player, but also its partners as its keys to success. Cross-platform logins, profiles, voice comms, parties and matchmaking, cloud saves and achievements will all be integrated across the Epic Games Store, Unreal Engine and Fortnite, lending to a more comprehensive and engaging experience for gamers and an enticing draw for future partners.

Epic succeeds when our partners succeed. Our whole business model is built on supporting this thesis.

You can read the entire interview in the latest issue of MCVUK Magazine.

What do you think about what Tim Sweeney has to say? Do you agree with his points? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Writing about consumer technology, social media and the deep layers of psychological torture endured by all of it. The world is changing, but that doesn't mean we can't be cynical about it. It's not all sunshine and roses in Silicon Valley. It's self loathing, pretentiousness and machines that squeeze juice for you. Also, a strong affinity for toasters.Follow on Twitter @cebsilver for them jokes. Chaotic neutral. Pitches to cebsilver@gmail.com

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