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SAN FRANCISCO — It’s difficult for a developer to launch a hit in the mature, stagnant mobile gaming sector, and one of the top gaming-technology companies thinks you’ll have more luck if you don’t even try.
Epic Games chief executive officer Tim Sweeney wants to see developers attempting to serve a wider variety of gamers, and he thinks that something like the open-world dinosaur-riding game Ark: Survival Evolved is a great example of what he means. This is a sign that the company responsible for one of the most popular software tools in gaming sees creativity as an answer to a crowded market place, which is something that would benefit gamers.
“I think it’s absolutely insane that there are 250,000 apps being released every year, and they have a 1 percent chance of providing a living wage to developers,” said Sweeney today at GamesBeat 2015. “We need more larger teams building larger experiences.”
Right now, Sweeney sees most developers chasing after the same money in mobile, but Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga have dominated that space since 2012. And because tools like Epic’s Unreal Engine are so readily available, studios have a really small chance of building a success.
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“It’s really, really easy to start making a game,” said Sweeney. “But it’s much harder to ship a game. And it’s an order of magnitude harder than that to ship a game that is commercially successful.”
Sweeney explained that Ark, which developer Studio Wildcard said had sold more than 2 million copies last week, is probably a success because it went after a specific subgenre to find its audience. He thinks that a market composed of dozens of different subgenres, like survival games, could support far more employees than mobile.
And that’s important because the real result of Epic’s “war” with Unity to provide game-making tools is that more people than ever are developers.
“As far as wars go, this is pretty gentlemanly war,” said Sweeney. “Both are really thriving. Since we made Unreal free, more than a million developers have chosen Unreal.”
Sweeney also noted that Unity also has a million monthly active users.
“That’s huge growth compared to when game development was just a few elite nerds,” said Sweeney.
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