Epic's Sweeney eager for shift away from retail

Developer's technology head laments inefficiency of buying boxed games for digitally connected devices

The move to digital distribution may have retailers spooked, but Epic Games is eager to usher in a new era. Speaking with Edge recently, Epic's chief technology officer Tim Sweeney said he would welcome a day when developers didn't need to worry about selling boxed copies of their games.

"I'm looking forward to our digital future," Sweeney said. "Development budgets are going to be the dominant cost in the industry, and [increasing] the efficiency of building games will directly improve profitability. As we move more sales of games out of retail, that creates a lot more flexibility for developers to make games at different scales and price them differently."

Sweeney labeled the current market standard business model as inefficient, with companies running ads on TV to convince customers to go buy a boxed game from a retail location, only to put it into a device which is Internet-enabled and capable of downloading the game directly.

Eliminating inefficiencies will be key for developers in the next generation, as Sweeney expects the cost of development to jump again, much as it does with each console generation. Speaking at the Montreal International Game Summit last year, Sweeney said he expects Epic to be able to build next-gen titles for "only about double the cost" of games from the start of the current generation.

Related stories

How to secure a place in Epic and Wellcome's $500,000 development competition

Epic's Mike Gamble reveals what the judges are looking for, how a scientific basis can build a triple-A IP and the role of comedian Susan Calman

By James Batchelor

$500,000 year-long development competition launches next month

Developing Beyond is a collaboration between Epic Games and Wellcome Trusts, comedian Susan Calman and industry legend John Romero among the judges

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (1)

American McGee CEO, Spicy Horse4 years ago
"Eliminating inefficiencies" is a fancy way of saying "evolution." Glad to see a company that profited hugely from the last cycle on console recognize the shift taking place away from physical containers for digital goods.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.