Secure those monocles, ladies and gentlemen, as this news is downright amazing. According to Tim Sweeny, CEO of Epic Games, speaking at GDC Taipei, Infinity Blade is making silly amounts of money for the company:

"The most profitable game we've ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actually Infinity Blade. It's more profitable than Gears of War."

Just let that sink in for a minute. Infinity Blade, an iOS exclusive title that has been priced anywhere between $5.99 and 99¢ over the years, is more profitable than a $60 AAA title that enjoyed all the glitz and glamor that comes along side a multi-million dollar game launch marketing blitz. We're talking major network TV commercials, prime shelf space in nationwide retailers like Wal-Mart, and everything else …and Infinity Blade wins.

Also of note from the speech was mentioning just how mobile-centric the next iteration of the Unreal Engine is going to be. Overall efficiency is being improved, which will allow developers to scale the same projects between high-end PC's to comparatively low-powered smartphones.

Swing on by Gamasutra for full details from the keynote speech, meanwhile, I'll be arguing about the death of consoles on GameFAQs.

[Gamasutra via iDownload Blog]

  • ManuD

    It's more profitable from point of view of man, money put vis-a-vis to big games like Gears of wars. To be put in simple words, return on investment wise, its more profitable then any other Epic game for them. Not in downright numbers.
    This point should have been high-lighted in article.

    • Blackchord

       What other number would matter? This is a business like any other, the only numbers people care about are the ones on their paycheck.

      • Mike Ferraro

        So if my youtube video took me 1 hour and made 5 grand, and I declared it "more profitable than the entire Gears Of War franchise", you would think that's a fair assessment?

      • Marcus2012

        Profit means net revenue, MINUS costs of producing it...

      • TooMassive

        Some of you are missing the point that ManuD and Mike Ferraro are making. Gears of War made tons more profit, but they sank a ton more money into it. Pretend that it took them 50 man-years to make $50 million in profit for Gears. That's one million dollars per man-year in profit. Now pretend that it took 5 man-years to make $10 million profit in Infinity Blade. Each million profit there only took 1/2 man-year.

        For a big studio with big budgets, it is certainly interesting news. But you could probably say the same thing about any blockbuster in mobile like Angry Birds. They've made hundreds of millions or more and I doubt it took even a million to make that game. Now the question is whether Epic can scale or pump out more winners like Infinity Blade. That I'm not so certain of.

      • Marcus2012

        That was lost on no one...

      • http://www.facebook.com/gavin.greenwalt Gavin Greenwalt

        It's a valid point but he didn't use very good examples. 

        If I have a game studio and I employ 1 person and that one person spends 1 week working on a game and that game makes $5k then that's great!  Super profitable.  But the question then becomes can you reproduce that in volume?  Can that developer make 20 more games a year that are equally profitable?  

        Gears of War is attractive to developers because they only have to come up with one game idea, manage one team of artists, manage one team of developers and one single marketing campaign--and then make millions of dollars. It's a lot harder to run 400 individual teams if the profit is tiny but high margin. 

        As a creative I would rather come up with one really good big idea, develop it with a big team and execute it over a year or two than to constantly churn out tiny throw-away ideas.  And I know because I have worked on tiny short-timeline projects and I've worked on long multi-month+ projects ant he multi-month ones are a lot more rewarding since I feel like I can do them justice. 

      • karmarogue

        Blackchord, you lack understanding

        Consider two examples:
        1) I spend $90 to make $100
        2) I spend $1 to make $50
        Make more sense?

    • karmarogue

      Poor writing.  I'm guessing author lacks understanding of business fundamentals

  • Tower Defender

    Good for them. It's a fun game.

  • Jensen_G

    Great news for iOS gamers, especially since IB is such a well-made game (will hopefully  connect the dots for developers that you don't have to be freemium to make a highly profitable iOS game)

  • Adams Immersive

    Maybe Unreal Tournament III will come “Back to the Mac”...? Nah.

  • SimpleDoom

    Yes, profitable, but were the gamers entertained? The only person happy here is the one who received a 200% increase in his/her paycheck. 

    • dancj

      Yes they were.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

    "Most profitable game ever", but still not enough motivation for make it crash free on 256 rammed devices and for a latest update for the first IB, whats add iCloud and fix the bugged achievement what can't be achieved (collect all treasure in one run)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_27NJMAEYPKCO2JPHB2DNAZDYWA Frank

      If they spent money on trying to improve stability on underpowered  devices, it wouldn't be as profitable anymore, would it?
      Also, Apple really deserves all the blame for the pathetic memory management on iOS. (also for not giving their devices enough ram)

  • Marley Listmann

    I'm pretty sure Gears of War didn't have In-App Purchases either.... Most profitable makes sense due to high priced IAP and it's not to hard to purchase either, just type in your password and you just spent $50 for some virtual gold. Not to be pesemistic about this but I'm sure if Infinity Blade didn't have IAP it wouldn't be nearly as profitable as Gears of War

  • Minecraft

    To be fair, more people have IOS devices than an Xbox... By a large margin.

  • Vinvy

    TA takes the spin, and gives the top of marketing another twist for good measure.

    What are the real numbers? What about a relevant comparison? Did you guys even attempt to look at what was said from any other angle? This is a very enlightening and interesting IOS relevant statement, yet the article buries it under 'RA RA IOS"

  • NPeart

    Its super shallow 15-20min game that loops again and again. So its small investments are easily multiplied. I felt, that I paid too much for it when I first played it through, even when I bought it from a sale for a 0,99.

  • epikninja

    Did anyone else beat IB1 in less than 30 minutes? I only went through about 6 fights until the final boss. Did I take a shortcut or something?

  • TooMassive

    By the way, Hodapp doesn't seem to get this point either since he seems to be implying that Infinity Blade made more money than Gears of War. It didn't. He is forgetting the "man years" part in the quote.

  • http://twitter.com/RubiconDevelop Rubicon Development

    "Profit" can mean many things and is a surprisingly wooly word, often needing an adjective like "net" or "gross". But somewhere in any definition is an absolute number.

    "Profitable" is more about "is it worth doing X or Y to make more money overall" and is about ratios.

    These are not the same thing. GoW made more profit than IB. As reported, IB was more profitable than GoW. This means that if they spent the next couple of years making many IB's instead of one more GoW, then the IB's would make a bigger profit.