Epic Founder: Smartphone Gaming Historically Important to Game Industry

5M developers now use Unreal Engine

The indie smartphone game revolution was one of the most important things to happen in the history of the video game industry, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney said during a Game Developers Conference press conference today.

He told a gathering of developers and press that while smartphones and smartphone gaming had been stagnating for awhile, it’s suddenly surging in popularity again, thanks in part to the growing power of the devices and the ability for full-blown games to go mobile.

While that trend seemed to have started in South Korea a year ago with the release of Lineage II on smartphone, it hasn’t been until recently that it has taken hold in North America and Europe, he said.

Sweeney pointed to games like Ark: Survival Evolved, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Epic’s own Fortnite as examples of popular, original PC-games that have made or are making full versions for the smartphone.

PUBG Mobile just came out and it’s the full PUBG,’ he said. “It’s an amazing game experience that preserves the core values of the game.”

Fortnite and PUBG Mobile are currently listed as the top two free games on iOS, according to Apple, something Sweeney noted in his presentation.

“The top two games on iOS right now are both high-end games,” he said.

All of the games he mentioned, of course, run on Epic’s Unreal Engine. He said that use of the company’s engine continues to explode. Last year there were three million developers using the engine, this year 5 million are using it.

“That’s a threefold increase in the rate of adoption,” he said, “and I think it’s due to all of these trends.”