Epic: $1 apps are "killing us"

Games industry is "scary" right now.

Gears of War publisher Epic has singled out the rise of the $1 smartphone app as one of the biggest threats it's currently facing.

President Mike Capps told IndustryGamers that it was getting increasingly difficult to convince customers to shell out $60 for a game.

"If there's anything that's killing us it's dollar apps. How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it... They're used to 99 cents."

Epic isn't the first outfit to have a pop at the App Store business model. Earlier this year, Nintendo's US boss Reggie Fils-Aime accused cheap smartphone titles of unrealistically raising gamers' expectations of what software should cost.

Elsewhere in the interview, Capps insisted that the games industry had never been in a more turbulent state than it is now, with so many platforms and new technologies vying for consumers' attention.

"We have not been this uncertain about what's coming next in the games industry since Epic's been around for 20 years," he claimed.

"We're at such an inflection point. Will there be physical distribution in 10 years or even five? Will anyone care about the next console generation? What's going on in PC? Can you make money on PC if it's not a connected game? What's going on in mobile?

"It used to be, 'Well, of course PlayStation 3 will be successful because PS2 was amazingly successful.' But can you say for sure that you know everyone's going to jump to the next generation? I sure hope so – I'm going to try to make some great tech that will make everyone want to. But it's scary."

Next up for Epic following the release of Bulletstorm earlier this year is Gears of War 3, which is due on Xbox 360 in September.

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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