Epic's Mark Rein has confirmed that the developer will experiment with micro-transcations and lower-priced titles, holding up platforms such as the iPad and iPhone as a major part of games' future.
Speaking as part of a panel concerning free versus paid games at GameHorizon in Gateshead, Rein was broadly part of the paid camp, but admitted that prices would have to fall.
"I'd rather sell 10 million games at $25 and have a chance to sell DLC than 5 million at $50 on a disc that gets traded around," he said. "I think it'll change, and it'll change for the benefit of the customers. We're definitely going to experiment with micro-transcations and lower-price games."
Rein did not believe that mobile and browser games necessarily meant free games, however. "I'm a big proponent of AAA games. Triple-A isn't going away, it's going everywhere. As the quality of the games go up, the cost of the games go up, you're going to have to monetise them better."
Demonstrating impressive Unreal engine prototypes running on iPhone, iPad and Android, he argued that such devices would soon offer hardware capabilities – and thus games - equivalent to that of an Xbox 360 or PS3, but that this would require increased consumer costs.
"These are the consoles of the future," he said, suggesting that if mobile phone power doubled even "even two more times, you can play Gears of War on this."
He also expressed interest in Apple's forthcoming iAds, and said "eventually" when queried as to when a Gears of War game would be download-only.
Also part of the panel was Jolt's Dylon Collins, who argued that the industry should be headed towards free games, Tenshi Venture's Ian Baverstock, who was convinced that prices must fall and that disc-based games would be left behind, and doublesix's James Brooksby, who felt that demos were giving away too much content for free.