Epic President Mike Capps has argued in the past one of the biggest threats to the gaming industry is the presence and popularity of dollar apps. He’s sticking by that opinion, noting that he’s more worried about cheap mobile games working against Gears of War 3 this year.
If you think about what many people are doing . . . What game did I play today What game did I play yesterday If I have 30 minutes to game, what am I going to play That [time] more and more gets taken up with mobile games, said Capps. And I think that can be said for movies. I think the biggest competition for [XBLA title] Shadow Complex was Netflix not Castle Crashers (great game) or Limbo, but if you fired up your dashboard right there if you already bought Netflix you have tons and tons of awesome content that’s bite sized in 1.5 to 2 hour chunks. So that was our competition, getting mindshare in the dashboard, more than it was against the other games in the space. So rapidly available, free entertainment hurts us just the same way as if everyone pirates Crysis – that doesn’t help Bulletstorm at all since they’ve all gotten a free, really awesome game from the Crytek guys then. So why would they pay for our game ”
“I’m more worried that you can get a really good 99 cent game that occupies you for hours and hours on end and how that impacts $60 SKUs [like Gears], he added. I’m not as worried about how it impacts Infinity Blade I think there will always be room for a premium SKU on a mobile platform. And I think as more buyers [enter the mobile market], there will be more people who are willing to spend a bit more for quality. But I do worry about what it means for the next generation of console games. Are people really going to want to spend $60 on a game I mean, we’re spending tens of millions of dollars making those games that they want to play . . . it’s not a sustainable business model. I’m not sure how it all ends up.
“The arguments we had internally were about pricing and what we should set it at, because nobody really knows, he added. It makes sense that we’re still confused about how to price appropriately in that market. We see a much higher micro-transaction rate on Infinity Blade than most phone games do. But we charge $6 to get in, and that per-qualifies players as probably the kind of consumer that would be willing to spend a bit more money if they want to accelerate their game experience.