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Epic: No Infinity Blade on Android for now

UPDATE: Google needs to exert more control before platform is consistent enough

Epic co-founders Tim Sweeney and Mark Rein have said not to expect a version of the iOS title Infinity Blade on Android systems yet, as the platform doesn't offer enough consistency to guarantee performance.

Speaking in an interview with Gizmodo, Rein and Sweeney spoke about the need for the infamously hands-off Google to exert more control over their platform to make sure that consistency becomes reality. Currently, Google allows mobile networks and handset distributors almost free-reign with the open source Android platform, leading to some performance disparity.

"When a consumer gets the phone and they wanna play a game that uses our technology, it's got to be a consistent experience, and we can't guarantee that [on Android]. That's what held us off of Android," said Rein.

"If you took the underlying NGP hardware and shipped Android on it, you'd find far far less performance on Android. Let's say you took an NGP phone and made four versions of it. Each one would give you a different amount of memory and performance based on the crap [networks] put on their phone.

"Google needs to be a little more evil. They need to be far more controlling."

Google's most recent iteration of Android, known as Honeycomb, has been held back from release to mobile companies in an attempt to maintain quality standards, remaining tablet only for the time being.

UE3 development for Android is very much a reality, however, as Rein made clear in a quote to GamesIndusty.biz.

"With respect to the engine we have been licensing Unreal Engine 3 on Android for several months now," Rein clarified.

"In fact Dungeon Defenders, from Trendy Entertainment, was the first game certified by Google on 'Honeycomb' and comes pre-installed on the Motorola Xoom tablet. It's been available on the Android market place for several months and it's a great game. Monster Madness, from Southpeak, is also available on the Android market place for mobile phone and tablet. "

Dungeon Defenders is also a prime example of another problem affecting the Android marketplace: a 50mb limit on app size. Any excess on that limit has to be downloaded separately, on the developers bandwidth, with a 'stub' program sitting on the marketplace itself.

As Rein points out, developers who are already paying fees to appear on the marketplace are not keen on funding bandwidth costs to see those programs downloaded, especially when app size greatly exceeds that limit. Infinity Blade, for example, currently weighs in as a download of around 850mb.

Getting round that extra cost is possible - and Trendy Entertainment has done just that by shipping Dungeon Defenders as a pre-installed app - but it's hardly practical for the majority. Google is doubtless working on this, Rein points out, but it's a definite indication of the platform's relative immaturity.

Last year, Epic subsidiary Chair Entertainment brought Unreal Engine to iOS users in the shape of visually stunning action RPG Infinity Blade. Not only has the title been a commercial success on that platform, it's also operated as something of a shop window for the technology on iOS devices.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz in March, Chair's CEO and CTO, Donald and Geremy Mustard, discussed how Apple was becoming more switched on to gaming as a major part of its business model, a relatively recent change in policy..

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Dan Pearson