Sweeney: global and freemium is core’s absolute future

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:25 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Epic’s Tim Sweeney has told GDC Taipei that blockbuster, “$30 million” games are to invade Asian markets “within the next five years or so” as free-to-play, global products. Freemium, he said, is the only way of the future for all gaming.

Speaking in a keynote centred on tech changes and the future of Unreal Engine, Sweeney predicted that regional differences in the core games market will need to be broached in the next decade.

“All these western developers spending $30 million to develop these games for dedicated consoles – all of these companies are going to be invading the Asian markets within the next five years or so, and they’ll be free to play, worldwide, global products,” he said, as reported by Gamasutra.

“The only way to survive is to go global.”

He said of freemium: “This is going to be the way that almost all games will be distributed worldwide.”

His comments came after Ngmoco’s Ben Cousins, also speaking at the event, predicted the death of consoles for the second time this year.

Sweeney pulled short of the same assessment of gaming’s future, but said the traditional model of buying discs for consoles will vanish quickly.

“North American and European developers are far, far behind the state of the art Asian business models,” he said. “We’ve been building these games like Gears of War where you go into the store and you buy a piece of plastic. You just buy this DVD. That is going to change rapidly.”

Sweeney said during his talk that the most profitable franchise Epic had released was Infinity Blade, in terms of man hours invested versus revenue – but not in terms of total profit.