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Mark Rein: "Triple-A isn't going away"

Epic to trial micro-transactions/low prices.

Epic Games' vice president Mark Rein has told an audience at GameHorizon in Gateshead that blockbuster games will not be consigned to history by the rise of formats like iPhone, but will thrive on them instead.

"I'm a big proponent of AAA games. Triple-A isn't going away, it's going everywhere," he said, as reported by sister site Gamesindustry.biz. "As the quality of the games go up, the cost of the games go up, you're going to have to monetise them better."

Rein demonstrated Unreal engine prototypes running on iPhone, iPad and Android and described the systems as "the consoles of the future", claiming that with even twice the power of current mobile phones "you can play Gears of War on this".

Part of monetising those games better will involve a rethink of how developers and publishers price and release content, Rein told the audience.

"I'd rather sell 10 million games at $25 and have a chance to sell DLC than 5 million at $50 on a disc that gets traded around," he said.

"I think it'll change, and it'll change for the benefit of the customers. We're definitely going to experiment with micro-transactions and lower-price games."

He also said that "eventually" he expects a Gears of War game will be download-only.

That will have to be one that comes out after Gears of War 3, then, since Epic's latest instalment in the cover-based shooter series is due out for Xbox 360 on 8th April 2011, and will most definitely come on a disc.

While Epic is best known for its banner releases in the Gears of War series, and before that Unreal Tournament, it has also pushed out a lot of premium downloadable content and of course Xbox Live Arcade title Shadow Complex, created by subsidiary Chair Entertainment.