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Epic Games acquires Cloudgine

Unreal Engine maker picks up cloud compute specialists who worked on Crackdown 3, Oculus Toy Box

Epic Games is investing in the cloud. The company today announced the acquisition of Cloudgine, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based developer of They Came From Space, turning it into a wholly owned subsidiary of Epic.

"Since its inception, Cloudgine's research and development has been based on Epic's Unreal Engine 4," Epic's Dana Cowley said in announcing the deal. "Cloudgine's cloud computing and online technologies will enhance the UE4 feature set to help developers push the creative and technical limits of games, film, animation and visualization through advances in physics simulation and networking."

While gaming is a part of Epic's interest in Cloudgine, the company also noted the implications of cloud technology on virtual reality experiences and enterprise applications as well.

As its name suggests, Cloudgine has been focused on cloud tech since its founding in 2012. It lent its expertise to Microsoft for Crackdown 3, and created the free Toy Box demo experience for Oculus Rift.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz several months ago, Cloudgine co-founder Dave Jones said the "cloud gaming" moniker received a bit of a black eye several years ago with an abundance of companies using the term to promise the world but deliver little. However, he believed Cloudgine's application of the idea, which he now calls "cloud compute," will inevitably reshape the industry.

"It's always hard to talk about these things without going out and building them yourself to demonstrate what you mean," Jones said. "So we've been on a mission with that to put together examples of, 'Once we've got compute, what are the things we can do from a creative and technical standpoint to start to showcase and highlight some of the opportunities available with it?' I think it needed a couple of catalysts, and there are a few companies starting to work in that area. We're one of them."

They Came From Space is one such demonstration of cloud compute, a team-based multiplayer action game where players can either don a VR headset to play as a titanic, city-destroying alien invader, or skip the VR to control one of the alien's drone fighters in an effort to claim the planet over a rival alien squad.