Despite the success of Gears of War on consoles, it is in fact Infinity Blade for iPad which holds the title for Epic Games’s most profitable game of all time. The popular sword fighter, which has been showcased at a number of Apple keynotes over the years, has earned a whopping $30 million since its debut just 18 months ago.
“The most profitable game we’ve ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actually Infinity Blade,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said at GDC Taipei. “It’s more profitable than Gears of War.”
Following its launch in December 2011, the second installment in the Infinity Blade series, Infinity Blade II, amassed net earnings in excess of $5 million during only its first month on sale. As of January 5, 2012, the title had grossed over $23 million.
Sweeney believes that the growth of free-to-play or “fremium” games — rather than expensive console titles — are fueling the future growth of the video games industry. “Nowadays the high end of the game business is in these console game,” he said. “Activision invests almost $100 million per year in Call of Duty. And who can realistically afford to do that?”
Sweeney has been “very, very surprised” by how fast smartphone and tablet devices are improving, and believes that the third-generation iPad is quickly approaching the same level of performance delivered by the PlayStation 3, or the Xbox 360.
“These platforms are rapidly converging, with a set of common capabilities,” he said. “The lowest end device [the iPad 2] is still a DirectX 9 device!”
We’re still waiting for Epic Games’s next iPad title, Infinity Blade: Dungeons, which was shown off during Apple’s new iPad unveiling earlier this year. However, you can bet that when it does arrive, it becomes just as successful as its predecessors.