Epic GamesInfinity Blade and Gears of War developer Epic Games has revealed where Android fits into its future development plans in a recent interview.

Gaming site Slowdown.vg sat down with Jay Wilbur, Epic's Vice President, for an interview focused on the developer's mobile and middleware efforts. As well as reflecting on Epic's success with Infinity Blade on iOS, Wilbur is quizzed on the studio's future plans for the Android platform.

Interviewer: The iPhone is great, but I’m an Android kind of guy. [Waves around the Nexus One phone being used to record the interview] Will we ever get to play UE3 games?

Wilbur: [Takes out a Galaxy S, shows Epic Citadel running on it] We’ve done some development on Android. That’s Epic Citadel running on Android – now, this is not for public release. It’s on iOS first, and then once the iOS version is released then we’ll start considering Android.

Wilbur also comments on the challenges Epic faced in getting their Unreal Engine running on Android, including the dreaded f-word: fragmentation.

Wilbur: One of the problems with the Android marketplace is hardware fragmentation, that’s a really big issue. The other thing is marketplace fragmentation, there are so many different appstores out there. The Android marketplace is a little more difficult [to develop for] because there is less control. I think the Android marketplace is robust … I find it very easy to buy things on it, it’s just that Apple has very tight control. So anything in the Apple world is perfect. It’s just perfect. We like that, we like that a lot. We know that it’s just gonna work. Sometimes that’s not always the case in the Android marketplace.

It's great to see a big-name developer like Epic Games taking an active interest in Android, though based on Wilbur's comments, it looks like there are still a few issues to be ironed out. [Slowdown.vg]

There are 23 comments

MowDownJoe says:

You think Epic would be used to hardware fragmentation, being a PC developer... I mean, minimum system specs exist. Not every gaming computer could run Crysis when it first came out.

goblueboy says:

well of course its not going to work for certain devices. but that doesn't mean you shouldn't release it. make it compatible for certain devices / Operating systems. phone consumers know what they are buying and when they want to pay for cheaper phones they are going to get what they paid for.

DerekMorr says:

I wish he'd talked more about the hardware fragmentation problems. What, specifically, were the issues?

Asterisk says:

How many times does Google need to hear it?? OPTIMIZE THE FVCKIN' MARKET!!

iPwn says:

Epic should just add graphics settings like PC games have. That way if you have a super powerful phone you can have all the settings on max, and if you don't you can scale back the graphical quality.

Dhamp2g says:

Its a no brainer the easy way is IOS and the hard way is Android thats it. But they could develop for the galaxy series, droid line , and EVO and you have most of the android market.

whsingleton says:

To play games, why not just get an iPod touch? Why do people want to drain the battery on their phone just to play games? I never understood this.

User Choice, let them. Some users do not want to carry multiple devices, so why not use what you carry around with you all the time?

That's like saying I don't want to have an xbox and a tv I just want it all together.

dchawk81 says:

Spare batteries are easier to tote around than spare devices are.

Good luck changing an iPhone battery on the go.

There is also the issue of internal storage. When you have most phones only having 200-400 MB of storage versus 16-32 on the iPhones, there's a disadvantage. This is reason Google wanted to start going with the Large-capacity internal storage with the Nexus S. Tech-illiterate users do not want to be fumbling with moving apps back and forth across their SD cards to "get enough space".

AeonZeroX says:

The developer has the option of installing by default to the sd card, or having a passover method directly upon installation of the game so devs can't use that excuse. What devs need to do is stop making excuse about why its fragmentation is an issue, and tell us consumers what devices do work and how they can make it work. Some of us don't like iPhones or apples wall gardened approach. Personally I'm a webOS guy but use an EVO, but using the same tired ohh fragmentation is bad and the market store isn't good enough is getting tired plenty of other devs have done it and make money why are the game devs dragging there feet time and time again?

hmmm says:

These large companies, in my opinion, are why the Android market return policy was changed form 24 hours down to 15 minutes. You cannot even download and install a game in 15 minutes to know whether or not you want to return it or whether it even works properly. It doesn't surprise me that large companies are suddenly showing interest.

schoon says:

Most of us with Androids love them, I know I love mine. That being said, I would never give one to my to wife, she would go nuts trying to figure it out. The iPhone is just easy to use for most people and that's why they have such a large market share. People just want their phones to work and if all the fun stuff just works too even better. Phones have become an extension of ourselves, we communicate, play, work and learn on them. Games on the iPhone and iPod touch are really, really good these days, I'm jealous of a lot of them and for that reason still carry my iPod touch on long trips. I don't think that's going to change in the near future. I agree with the commenter who said game makers should start putting graphical settings in the games in order to support more devices. I notice even on my HTC Incredible slow down in a lot of the more graphically heavy games. My first Generation iPod touch still plays MOST of the latest games and plays them smooth and cleanly. I'm not going to convert when iPhone comes to Verizon but I will be jealous.

daveloft says:

Theres nothing to figure out with Android it's easy. Just log in with your Gmail and go. My wife uses it just fine. Stop with the generalizations.

JagoX says:

Yea same here, my wife has the DInc, her sister the Droid 2 & my sister and BIL both have the Eris and they all use it just fine as do a number of other people I know that are no where near being tech savvy. They don't usually go dipping deep into the settings but that isn't really a bad thing if the phone works just fine for them.

The *ONE* thing I've noticed across the board though is that they have no clue how to setup widgets nor how to harness the Power Control widget.

schoon says:

Which part of my post was generalizing?

blastcow says:

Don't they make games for PC? And aren't there millions of individual PC configurations. And there crazy millions of Android users. If they don't make us games we can buy - then I guess we'll just buy other peoples games.

Who cares if each Android Device is completely different from another. We are a huge user base who likes to spend money. Sounds like a bad business decision to leave us out in the cold.

Wilbur: "hardware fragmentation"

Inigo Montoya: "..."

Wilbur: "marketplace fragmentation"

Inigo Montoya: " ... "

Wilbur: "fragmentation!"

Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Tical says:

I can't help but notice a pattern here... Looking at the ratings and the tone of the replies, it looks like anybody who dares acknowledge that that Android is anything "less" in any aspect is either downrated or negatively commented on... Before going forward, keep in mind I LOVE my Evo, and won't even consider another phone until I see it's successor... That said:
--This is not the first company to claim "fragmentation" (real or perceived) is an issue...
--This is not the first company to claim that the market has much to be desired from a vendor standpoint...
--This is DEFINITELY not the first company to put iOS development at the top of the list and then say they'll get to Android
(For a good example of hitting all 3, see Angry Birds)

Taking a step back (and emotion out of the equation), I'd have a hard time taking a company seriously that DIDN'T at least pause at developing for android, especially if it cannibalizes iOS development. I haven't programed anything since I made a tic-tac-toe game in basic 15+ yrs ago, but I have to believe it's easier (and cheaper) to make it for what's effectively one device, with an ironfist controlling distribution rather than the delightful medley of choices out there for android. And I don't blame a company for vocalizing that. I DO blame them when they are short sighted enough not to evaluate it, but I don't take it to the extreme of "they do xyz, they can do this", "they should just add abc, and it'll work fine". I'm pretty sure they have plenty of die-hard android fans in their ranks just as anxious as we are to have great games on the platform. But desire and business sense don't always go hand in hand... Just some thoughts for you all who have a knee jerk reaction to when someone doesn't toe the party line... well, guess I should put my flame retardant suit on and check back in a day or so....

schoon says:

I appreciate this response. Well thought out and written. One of the things I'd like to add is how many times in the Market do you see comments like "1 Star, didn't work on my device" or "1 Star, too slow". The answer, a LOT! Now , compare this with the apple store where most of the ratings and reviews are relevant to the actual content of the application and it makes a huge difference in being able to make an informed decision about a purchase. Almost like we need a separate rating system for when it just doesn't work. An individual or even a team of developers can't afford to have 100 devices laying around to test their software on each one, sure it should "just work" but we all know that's not going to happen when you throw in all the hardware variations (fragmentation, lol).

Anyway, this is an android site and just because I wasn't completely pro android I got a little flame on me but oh well, I thought what I said and what you have said were spot on. I love my Android phone too but the simple fact is that the iPhone just works, all the time. It might be locked down tighter than a drum but that sure hasn't stopped them from selling a crapload of phones. I hope that Epic jumps on the bandwagon and if they make a good game I'll most likely purchase it, as long as it runs on my phone and I can figure that out in 15 minutes.

Raptor007 says:

Is it really fragmentation or are they just plain lazy? He said it all, "So anything in the Apple world is perfect. It’s just perfect. We like that, we like that a lot." Ok, so a lot of companies are seeing opportunities to create their own marketplaces, who cares. You don't have to put it on every marketplace, just put it on Googles Android Market. It ships with every Android Phone, people can use it just fine and get your apps.

What I see in the article is the fact that EPIC Games likes how Apple/Jobs controls every little detail, like billing, they get a monthly or quarterly check, updates, only one market to go to. Ok so maybe Google needs to get off their butts and make the Google checkout a better experience and process the credit card information, and while they are at it get the Music/Video store they have been spouting off about done as well. Then Google would have games, music, movies, processing center and lots of credit cards ready to go with their NFC push. Of course if iP5 and iP2 get NFC everyone will say Apple made it happen, Google did it before apple.

I see no issues, again I see lazy corporations who have resources and abilities, to get things done. Clearly they can specify models of phones that have to meet a minimum spec in order to run it. Check out this game http://www.appbrain.com/app/dungeon-defenders:-first-wave/com.trendy.ddapp they are pretty clear about devices and what the performance would be. So it can be done IF they want to put some effort into it.

Clearly EPIC Games doesn't want to put the effort in.