Last December Epic released its own digital games store, and now over three months later it boasts some 85 million players. Fortnite has helped, of course, as has its offering of a free game every two weeks, but most controversially it’s been through its acquisition of exclusives – such as 4A Games’ Metro Exodus – that it’s gained most notoriety. In the wake of the announcement of Google Stadia, and at Epic’s own keynote at GDC where it announced a $100,000,000 fund for developers, we caught up with Epic founder Tim Sweeney to talk though the current state of play.
Obviously the big talking point this week has been Google’s Stadia – you’ve obviously been briefed and are very involved in it! What’s your take on it?
Tim Sweeney: I’m very excited. Unreal Engine fully supports it, we’ve been working with them on a technical capacity on this for a very long time. It’s exciting to put 10 teraflops of computing power in front of every device of every size in the world. It’s going to present interesting new options for games – and it’s going to create some new opportunities and challenges for engineers and game designers. We were having this conversation earlier – the Battle Royale genre couldn’t have existed 15 years ago because computers weren’t fast enough, you couldn’t have had that big an environment, you couldn’t have had 100 players on one simulation, but now it’s possible. You have to realise what increasing hardware performance, new arrangements of computers and networks, new genres will be possible that aren’t possible today, and we’re going to have to invent them.