Epic Games is one of the largest video game developers and publishers in the industry, with development studios of the same name in Seattle, England, Berlin, Yokohama and Seoul. They also own companies like Chair Entertainment, Psyonix and Mediatonic, as well as Cloudgine.
Although better known these days for Fortnite, most of Epic Games’ success has come from the Unreal franchise and, more importantly, the Unreal Engine, a game engine toolkit that people can license. to make their own software development process easier and more efficient.
But who is Epic Games and how did they get there? If you want to find out, then you’ll want to read our abridged history of Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite.
From Potomac to Epic 3.0
Originally founded by Tim Sweeney as Potomac Computer Systems in 1991, the sole proprietorship realized that no one took their name seriously enough. It renamed Epic MegaGames, Inc in 1992 in an attempt to resemble popular companies like Apogee Entertainment and id Software.
Seeing some success in the games industry and seeing his business grow, Sweeney eventually moved his business to Cary, North Carolina in 1999 and brought his 30 employees together under one roof. That’s when they stopped pretending to be fat and simplified their name to Epic Games. Around this time, they released the first massively successful iteration of the online multiplayer shooter Unreal Tournament.
In 2006, Epic believed that software piracy on Windows computers would pose such a threat to their business that they became a studio first on console and then developed the Gears of War and Shadow Complex franchise for Microsoft Xbox systems. . At that time, they also experimented with mobile development, working on the Infinity Blade series.
Following the completion of the previous game Gears of War Judgment directed by Damon Baird, a deal was made with Microsoft where the owner of the Seattle-based console platform purchased the rights to Gears of War IP, giving it to their The Coalition studio. This event marked the end of an era for the company, as it began work on a multiplayer game where you defended locations against zombies, called Fortnite: Save the World.
Epic Games (as a service)
Chinese firm Tencent took ownership of around 40% of the company for $ 330 million in 2012. The company simultaneously announced a broader move towards prioritizing the Games as a Service (GaaS) business model. This share buyback raised concerns that Epic Games was selling user data to the Chinese Communist Party government, but Epic said those claims were not true, and USGamer conducted an investigation that showed the toxic claims. . are rather probably based on anti-Chinese American xenophobia.
Fortnite Battle Royale launched on September 26, 2017. It was largely a PUBG clone with the unique twist of including weapons and building mechanics, from Fortnite: Save The World. The game was a huge success and became the focus of the Fortnite project, mainly due to its success with online content creators, the eSports scene, and young gamers. Meanwhile, Fortnite: Save the World has been largely forgotten and abandoned, much to the chagrin of the game’s original fans.
The Battle Royale mode brings in an incredible amount of money and is the biggest revenue in Epic Games history as a business, thanks in large part to brand crossovers, live in-game music events as well as ‘to merchandise like comics, figure lines, clothing, and even a tethered soccer ball.
During this period, Tim Sweeney’s company not only enjoyed success with Fortnite, but also replicated its business model with Rocket League, growing its player base and revitalizing the game in general. After the recent purchase from developer Fall Guys Mediatonic, many expect the royal multiplayer obstacle course game to become both free-to-play and follow a similar business model for too long.
This new incarnation of Epic Games has taken several controversial steps in an effort to provide more choices for consumers in the industry, with projects like the Epic Games Store and the Epic Online Services SDK that are designed to give gamers more flexibility. options as to where and how they play video games.
What is the Epic Games Store?
Tired of having to make a cut to another development studio to release their games on PC, Epic announced their own digital store at the Game Awards in 2018. The Epic Games Store offers several incentives for developers to release their games there. instead, including a lower revenue split (12%, compared to rival store Steam’s 30%) and no longer having to pay the 5% fee for using the Unreal engine.
Epic is handing out free games weekly to draw gamers to the platform, as well as for several pro-developer timed exclusivity deals, the latter of which has drawn criticism online from consumers who prefer stores like Steam, Humble and GOG. , despite the fact that the games are eventually released on these other PC digital release platforms.
What is the Epic Online Services SDK?
Epic Online Services is a free software development kit that allows developers to use Fortnite code to more easily add cross play and cross progression to their games. It includes tools for matchmaking, friend lists, and voice chat, along with other features like cheat protection. It can be used on development projects for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, Nintendo Switch, and even Android phones.
Epic Games vs. Apple: #FreeFortnite
In 2021, Epic Games broke its contractual agreement with Apple and added an external payment option to Fortnite for its V-Bucks currency, stating that the platform had a digital monopoly and was anti-competitive. This led to an Epic lawsuit and counter-suit against Apple and a blanket app store ban for the Epic Games company and its developers.
Ultimately, the justice system and the judge Yvonne gonzalez rogers sided with Apple on nine of the ten points in the case, forcing Epic Games to pay $ 6,000,000 in damages to the Cupertino, California-based computer hardware company.
While he didn’t achieve most of his goals in court, Tim Sweeney has now said Epic Games would like to bring Fortnite back to iOS and MacOS. Apple gave the example of the North Carolina-based company and denied them that request, saying they had to wait for the end of legal actions, which could take up to 5 years.
The future of Epic Games: the company behind Fortnite
Fortnite remains one of the biggest names in video games and continues to grow, with its barrage of cross-promotion collaborations and continued merchandising. Likewise, small brands owned by Epic like Rocket League and Fall Guys continue to be popular.
Game-as-a-service titles like these have provided a constant boon to Epic, which recently purchased the 980,000-square-foot, 87-acre Cary Towne Center in North Carolina to transform it into a ‘new campus’. “Of” office buildings and recreational spaces “. The new Epic Games world headquarters building is expected to be completed and operational by 2024.
The North Carolina-based company behind Fortnite, Unreal Tournament, Gears of War, and Jazz Jackrabbit is also branching out into the TV and film industry. As their game engine became more and more advanced, it became able to render graphics realistic enough to be used for special effects.
It has even been used to create entire digital worlds that can be used as virtual sets for real actors using LED Video Wall technology. It was notably used in Disney’s Star Wars TV series spin-off The Mandalorian, but is expected to be used more in the future, as technology is one of the main goals of the next generation Unreal Engine 5.
It can be assumed that Unreal Engine 5 will continue to dominate the market in the same way as Unreal Engine 3 and Unreal Engine 4. As it happens, Epic Games is likely to continue to grow as their goals stretch further and further. larger than just being a video game development powerhouse.
What other games has Epic Games made?
In alphabetical order, here are the video games that Epic Games has worked on:
- Age of Wonders
- 7th Legion
- Epic pinball machine
- Fortnite save the world
- Fortnite Battle Royale
- Weaponry of war
- Gears of War 2
- Gears of War 3
- Gears of War: Judgment
- infinity blade
- infinity blade
- Infinity Blade II
- Infinity Blade III
- Jazz Jackrabbit
- Jazz Jackrabbit 2
- Jill of the jungle
- Robot recall
- Shade complex
- Silver ball
- Unreal Tournament 1999
- 2003 unreal tournament
- Unreal championship
- Unreal Tournament 2004
- Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict
- Unreal Tournament 3
- Xargon Extreme
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to read more about our coverage of Epic Games and Fortnite. Why not check out our article on all the changes in Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 8?