Surprise! Infinity Blade has made a lot of money. The other afternoon, Epic Games announced that, overall, the franchise has earned $30 million since the debut of the original Infinity Blade [$5.99] in December 2010. An astounding $5 million of that comes from the earnings of Infinity Blade 2 [$6.99], which released November 30th, 2011. A month or so ago.

Here's some boilerplate for your eyeholes:

“The success of the Infinity Blade franchise is testament to our talented team who is devoted to making games we want to play, all while using Unreal Engine technology to redefine what is expected from games on iOS devices,” Epic Games President Dr. Michael Capps says in a statement. “We have so much more in store for players, and will continue to make great content for Apple’s evolving platforms.”

The thing to take away from this isn't exactly "wow, that's a lot of money." Nah, it's that big-budget, AAA-quality releases on the App Store can make money. Not everything needs to be $.99 and require a razor-thin development budget to see ridiculous returns. Also, there's a significant audience out there who wants to play great, deep games with superb visuals -- and for us, that's the most heartening news.

  • Steven Reid

    What would interest me greatly is to see what proportion of that is purchases of the game or IAPs. I'm frankly sick of potentially great games being hamstrung in order to extort ridiculous sums of money to make them playable. If we can see that this business model isn't working and that if a game is offered 'as is' but can still make money, perhaps we'll see that model disappear sooner rather than later. The danger being of course that the opposite is true.

    • Anonymous

      Come off it, IB2 is no where near as bad as you try to make it out in terms of IAP. They are entirely optional, meaning that with a reasonable amount of playing you can unlock pretty much anything (on my 2nd playthrough I unlocked the Infinity Blade itself and completed 1st time with top dual swords). And on top of that, there are several items in each category that can only be onlocked by actually playing the game, meaning no amount of IAP will unlock them.

      • Steven Reid

        I didn't say anything about Infinity Blade one or two in reference to IAPs, I merely pondered what percentage of those sales were IAPs. Infinite blade is very well balanced for a game with IAPs primarily because it has a fair asking price, this makes it an even more valuable measure as to whether people are willing to pay more money to make a not-very-difficult game even easier.

  • Anonymous

    I'm not particularly sanguine about Epic reaching this milestone, since they seem to have developed their game to the point that it's not playable by their early adopters. My iPad 1, 16gb (lots of room left), iOS 5, used to run Infinity Blade 1 perfectly. But later updates introduced constant crashing. Clearing the memory, rebooting the iPad, deleting and reinstalling the app doesn't help.

    So yes, it's great that they've made a lot of money, but some of that money is from people who can no longer play the game they purchased.

  • BulkSlash

    Congratulations Chair. Now make Shadow Complex 2, please!!!

  • Anonymous

    no to stir up the "$0.99 devotees," but I think prices could go even higher if the quality of the game demanded it. IB2 is great, but even it is just barely a full-featured/full-length game when compared to what's on consoles. If we could get true parity with some epic high-end console quality releases (talking more about length of game and depth of play here than true console-level graphics, since we're still talking about a mobile chip with extreme space and heat requirements), then it wouldn't be the end of the world to see those excellent titles costing more than what IB2 is going for.

  • Cat Astrophy

    Premium priced apps are fine for original OS development programs. Not a big fan of high prices for ports unless they are virtually flawless (the GTA ports, Sonic CD).

  • Anonymous

    It's great that Epic and Chair are so successful, but I wonder if they are in a unique position. We talk about big development budgets, but Infinity Blade is subsidized by being the commercial showcase for Unreal Engine 3. Any problems and solutions that Chair develops can be rolled back into Unreal Engine 3 saving Epic time and any problems and solutions Epic develops can be quickly applied to Infinity Blade to save Chair time. Epic and Chair can presumably take greater risks with Infinity Blade because they always have UE3 licensing as a revenue backstop and Infinity Blade can serve as a marketing tool for UE3. Being at the technical forefront on iOS also gets them a lot of extra publicity and support from Apple, the media, and users.

    This situation doesn't seem like something even big established developers can easily emulate. For example, EA would have the technical expertise to develop their own cutting edge mobile optimized engine, but that would take time and money. It would be difficult to justify if it's only used in a handful of games. If it's intended for use in all their mobile games going forward, that would presumably require even more effort, and put them even further behind Chair who already has cutting edge tech. If EA licenses UE3, licensing already takes a chunk out of the development budget so EA would either have to spend more to get the same effective budget that Chair has or simply have a smaller effective budget after licensing costs. Either way gives Epic and Chair an advantage.

    • Anonymous

      i.e. Epic/Chair invested big time money iOS by crafting a high-quality engine for it and are now reaping the rewards. No free lunch here!

  • Anonymous

    Is this really an example of a "deep" game? Maybe I don't know what that word means, but certainly the word "deep" doesn't pop into my mind when I think of Infinity Blade. Repetitive and dull - those do.

  • Sebastian

    Boy I don't want to know what a shallow game looks like if you call Infinity Blade "deep".

  • Anonymous

    Deep? This is a Punch Out clone.

    Perhaps with all that money they could afford to make the next sequel deep enough to make players at least able to move them selves. A bit of adventure besides all the punch outing.

    • Frédéric Lormois

      Punch out is a great game. And so IB2.
      This is a fighting game...and a console quality fighting game.
      And so Real Racing 2, GTA China Wars, Scriblenauts, Helsing's Fire, Sword and Sworcery, etc, etc...

      "If we could get true parity with some epic high-end console quality releases"

      With these games we GET true parity with some high end console games...for 0,99 to 5 dollars...

      • Anonymous

        They are all nice games, but not a single of them is a deep gaming experience. And they all combined is not a deep gaming experience either, but fun waste of time for a couple quarters of an hour per 0,99$. Most of them don't leave a single lasting memory, let alone consist of dozens of memorable moments, which not only makes them waste of time, but also a waste of money.

      • Anonymous

        If you want that, go buy a PS Vita, that should suit your needs perfectly.

      • Anonymous

        Actually I'm an inch away from buying a 3ds. Suits me even better.

  • B

    Yeah, I agree with the proceeding two comments.  Infinity Blade is pretty... but deep?  I haven't played IB2, but IB1 basically consisted of doing literally the same thing over and over again for several hours, at which point you beat the God-King and either proceeded to do yet MORE of the same thing over and over again, or declared victory and deleted the game.  (I declared victory and deleted the game.)

    Which is why I haven't played IB2. 🙂  IB1 was pretty and the mechanics of attacking was interesting, but I'd hardly call it "deep."

  • Laszlo Tuss

    Okay, they don't have a deep gameplay, but they're still nice games!
    The problem is, both crash on startup and ChAIR doesn't give a sh!t about it!

    U can play em, by deleting the intros with iFunBox or if u jailbrooken, u could use iFile, then restart your device, start the game, and dont touch until it loads the gamecenter, then you can play!
    If still crash (mostly IB2) open the muktitasking bar for a 10 seconds at loading, and repeat it till the game starts properly!

  • Anonymous

    i found IB1 much too repetitive for me to continue playing it after completing it the first time. i was hoping IB2 would be more involving but i actually found it even more boring. it's way too controlled (i actualy prefer the initial Epic Citadel demo cos you could explore freely). I played IB2 for about an hour and then deleted it as i didnt want to waste any more time on it. I'm looking forward to someone using that engine to create something really deep and immersive.