What if... Apple bought Epic?
20th Apr 2011 | 16:08
If truth is stranger than fiction, then guesswork is a swirling, multi-headed, fire-breathing beast of intrigue.
In the first of a new series of 'What if...?' features, CVG ponders what could happen to the video games business over the next few years in the face of market-trading manoeuvres, via a series of fictional future news stories.
Expect the far-fetched, of course - but also the occasional "OMG, that could actually happen!" moment. (All within the confines, our legal eagles would like us to remind you, of this being entirely fictional and not being grounded in reality whatsoever).
To kick off, we mull over the eye-widening (and, remember, f-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-l) prospect of megabucks Apple making a swoop for their old mucker, Epic Games...
Apple snaps up Epic Games
Tuesday 15-Nov-2011 22:29 GMT Jobs "delighted" by swoop; Rein says iPad can become "best games console in the world"
Apple's intentions in the video games space have exploded into the stratosphere, with a wholesale buyout of Gears Of War maker Epic Games.
The pair have grown increasingly close in recent years, with Epic's Infinity Blade becoming a flagship product for iOS's gaming capabilities and a centrepiece of Apple's global iPad and iPad 2 advertising.
No figure was given by either party for the deal, but analysts believe the acquisition could have cost Apple over $500m, and includes Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly and Infinity Blade creator cHair. Apple is thought to have over $50 billion available to spend on acquisition targets.
Steve Jobs is said to be "delighted" with the swoop, which he personally sees as the first major blow to competitors Microsoft and Sony in the so-called 'hardcore' video games space.
Epic VP Mark Rein said in a statement: "We've long been fans and supporters of Apple's technology and are delighted to make our relationship official in this way. We truly believe in iPad as a gaming platform and are hugely excited for what the future will bring."
Apple has made its intentions in the games market very clear in the last few years, publicly challenging Nintendo and Sony for market share. Meanwhile, Epic VP Rein last year declared iPad the "console of the future". At Game Developers Conference in March this year, Epic showed off its "next-generation" Unreal Engine DX11 in the same week that iPad 2 was unveiled.
When asked at the time about getting the engine on future home consoles, Rein said: "If the next game consoles can't do this, well, Apple increased [the graphics processing power of] their iPad by nine times today."
Apple unveils iPad 3, as Epic reveals Infinity Blade 2
Thursday 1-Mar-2012 20:29 GMT"Plenty more to come", teases platform holder
Just like in 2011, Apple pitched its spring San Francisco summit across from the Game Developers Conference today. And just like in 2011, it unveiled a brand new iPad.
But this year in California, there was a twist. Epic Games, long-term darlings of the GDC circuit, elected to unveil its newest game at Apple's showcase - Infinity Blade 2.
As has been recently rumoured, iPad 3 will feature a 2048-x-1536 resolution, 3G as standard and a built-in SD reader - as well as longer battery life and a bigger screen. The tablets GPU runs twice as fast as iPad 2's, claims Apple.
An Apple spokesperson told CVG at the show that "further inputs will be coming soon" for the device, but would not comment on murmurings surrounding an Apple games controller - merely adding that there was "plenty more to come" from the firm this year.
Infinity Blade 2 was greeted by rowdy applause when unveiled by Epic president Mike Capps and VP Mark Rein. The pair promised that the game would offer a "deeper RPG progression" than its predecessor, and said that the title "looks as good as anything we've ever done" on PS3, 360 or PC.
New Unreal Engine 'prioritised for Apple formats'
Tuesday 12-June-2012 22:07 GMT Extraordinary engine hitting iPad first
The first games to use Epic's thrilling new Unreal Engine Xion will be available first on iPad 3, the studio revealed at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today.
Stood alongside Apple COO Tim Cook in San Francisco, Epic boss Mike Capps said that the tablet was already running some "amazing early demos" using the technology, and questioned whether these would be possible on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
However, when asked if Apple-owned Epic would consider licensing its engine to third-parties for use on Microsoft's newly-announced Xbox Wave console - first revealed at L.A's E3 last week - Capps simply stated that "things are still being worked out".
Epic showed more of its second Infinity Blade game at WWDC and E3 to great early acclaim from the critics, announcing an August release date.
After winning a host of surprise E3 Game Of The Show awards in the RPG category, the studio would not comment on what the game's price will be, despite rumours suggesting it will cost a hefty $29.99 at launch (around £18).
Apple TV becomes games console
Wednesday 5-Sep-2012 21:49 GMT Company relaunches plug-in concept to challenge Xbox 360, PS3
Apple has today launched 'Apple iFun' - a new set-top box that effectively re-launches its Apple TV service.
At the centre of iFun is an Xbox Live-esque online entertainment service dubbed 'iFun Now', that allows access to the App Store and the iFun community via a customisable profile - at no extra cost.
At its anticipated media event in San Francisco tonight, Steve Jobs' firm also showed off a new remote game controller - complete with dual thumbsticks, a gyroscope and the traditional 'four-button rhomboid' favoured by gamers. The 'iGame' is, of course, completely white, and will join iFun on store shelves next month - just in time for Christmas.
Apple promises that iPad game downloads purchased via the App Store will be transferable to iFun and playable in full HD at home, whilst "the vast majority" of titles purchased via iFun can also be played portably on the handheld.
COO Tim Cook promised that this combination will blow current competitors - including Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox Wave - "out of the water".
"Today is a historic moment in video gaming history," he told attendees. "Gamers have never seen anything like this before. Our vision is to provide high-end, incredible gaming wherever you are in the world - and a purchase system with which hundreds of millions of consumers are already instantly comfortable. We've spoken to all of the leading content creators in the games space, and believe me, they can't wait to get started with us."
Apple grabs huge games for home console
Tuesday 18-Sep-2012 19:29 GMT CoD: Black Ops 2, FIFA 13 and GTA V coming to iFun
A slew of huge multi-platform console games will be available before Christmas for Apple's iFun, the electronics giant announced today.
Activision's Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 and EA's FIFA 13 will join the likes of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, Dead Space 3 and Half-Life 3 on the system over the next three months - whilst major hits such as GTA V will be available for day one.
All of the announced titles will be transferable to play on iPad, Apple has confirmed, and will be downloadable via the App Store. They will be available alongside Gears of War: Redemption - Epic's first multi-platform Gears title, which is due for release on Xbox Wave, PC and PS3 in November.
Gears Of War 4 announced as Apple exclusive
Tuesday 15-Jan-2013 22:49 GMT Cross-platform play on iPad 3 and Apple iFun confirmed
Epic Games has announced that Gears of War 4 is on the way and will be released this 'holiday'. And, wait for it: the game will be released exclusively on Apple platforms. Bang.
The North Carolina firm enjoyed huge success with series stopgap GoW: Redemption last year, topping retail sales charts on PS3 and Xbox Wave, and even enjoying a UKIE/GfK-ChartTrack Christmas No.1. However, it was the iOs version of the title that really shone - taking 69 per cent of its record-breaking 28 million sales. Redemption also flew on iFun Now, shooting to the top of the service's weekly 'most-played' leaderboard.
Now, Epic has pledged the future of the Gears series to Apple, which fully purchased the studio and its tools back in November 2011.
"The mind-blowing success of Redemption has only strengthened our belief that people still want Gears - otherwise we'd have never signed up to a fourth full game," said Epic design chief Cliff Bleszisnki. "We know the Gears fans and we know what they want. Everything this time - from the story to the visuals to the incredible, crazy plans we have for multiplayer - is being created with the fans front and centre in our minds."
Epic VP Mark Rein added: "With Gears 4, we believe we can absolutely take the series to a level never seen before. With the hardware we have at our disposal and the amazing technology we can build on, it's hard to keep a lid on our excitement. Gears fans won't believe what's about to hit them."
Speaking to CVG, an Epic spokesperson confirmed that the deal was not related to the studio's licensing of its Unreal Engine. When we asked if UE would still be available on non-Apple platforms, a rep told us:
"We will continue to operate with our unreal Engine partners in the way they have become accustomed. We know ho much that relationship is valued by our peers, and we have no plans to drastically change that model any time soon."
Apple iFun Now surpasses 100m online sign-ups
Monday 28-Jan-2013 23:29 GMT Xbox Live and PSN left in the dust
BREAKING: Apple is celebrating 100 million active subscribers to its iFun Now online entertainment service - nudging ahead of rival online entertainment platforms.
The US giant's service allows access to its App store, as well as a cost-free online friends system and community.
At last count, Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live boasted around 80 million active worldwide users each.
What do you think to our future history? Would Epic really ever sell to Apple? Where would that leave our Unreal Engine-fuelled favourite titles - and how could Apple leverage the purchase to claim a bigger chunk of the market? Let us know your wildest predications in the comments below...