Epic Games' headquarters in Cary, North Carolina
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||1991Rockville, Maryland, U.S.in|
|Headquarters||Cary, North Carolina, U.S.|
Number of employees
Epic Games, Inc. (formerly Potomac Computer Systems and later Epic MegaGames, Inc.) is an American video game development company based in Cary, North Carolina, partially owned by Tencent. Founded in 1991, they are best known for their Unreal Engine technology, which has powered their popular in-house Unreal series of first-person shooters, and the Gears of War series for the Xbox 360.
It is the parent company of game developer Chair Entertainment, and also owns game studios in Seattle, Gildford, Berlin, Tokyo, and Seoul. Key developers at Epic Games include chairman, CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney, and lead programmer Steve Polge. Jerry O'Flaherty was the studio art director from 2003 to 2007. Chris Perna has been the art director since O'Flaherty's departure from the company. Cliff Bleszinski, Epic's design director, announced his departure on October 3, 2012.
Potomac Computer Systems (1991–1992)
Epic MegaGames (1992–1999)
During the latter portion of ZZT's life span, Potomac Computer Systems became Epic MegaGames and subsequently released numerous popular shareware games, including Overkill, Tyrian, Epic Pinball, Brix, Dare to Dream, Jill of the Jungle, Kiloblaster, Xargon, Solar Winds, Ken's Labyrinth, Jazz Jackrabbit, Radix: Beyond the Void, and One Must Fall: 2097. During this time, Epic also published and sold games developed by other developers such as those by Safari Software and also XLand's Adventures of Robbo, Heartlight, and Electro Man; and Renaissance's Zone 66.
In 1996, Epic MegaGames produced a shareware isometric shooter called Fire Fight, developed by Polish Chaos Works. It was later released commercially by Electronic Arts.
In 1997, Safari Software was acquired in whole by Epic MegaGames and some of their titles as well as other pre-1998 games were sold under the Epic Classics brand until late 2012.
In 1998, Epic MegaGames released Unreal, a 3D first-person shooter co-developed with Digital Extremes, which expanded into a series of Unreal games. The company also began to license the core technology, the Unreal Engine, to other game developers.
Epic Games (1999–present)
In 1999, the company changed its name to Epic Games and moved its offices, including its Rockville headquarters, to Cary, North Carolina. In 2006, Epic released the Xbox 360 and PC bestseller Gears of War and completed work on Unreal Tournament 3 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Utah based Chair Entertainment.
In summer 2009, Epic released the Chair developed Shadow Complex on Xbox Live Arcade. On November 7, 2008, Epic Games released Gears of War 2, the sequel to their bestselling game Gears of War, which continues the story of humanity's struggle against the Locust Horde.
In June 2012, Epic announced that they were opening up a new studio, Epic Baltimore, made up of members of 38 Studios' Big Huge Games. Epic Baltimore was renamed to Impossible Studios in August 2012. However, the studio ended up closing its doors in February 2013.
In July 2012, Chinese company Tencent Holdings acquired approximately 48.4% of Epic then issued share capital, equating to 40 percent of total Epic — inclusive of both stock and employee stock options, for $330 million. Tencent Holdings has the right to nominate directors to the board of Epic Games and thus counts as an associate of the Group. A number of high-profile staff left the company months after the deal was announced.
In December 2012, Epic Games president Mike Capps announced his retirement and cite the reasons as the arrival of a baby boy he is having with his wife and his plans to be a stay-at-home-dad. He subsequently announced his departure of his advisory role as well as his affiliation with the company in March 2013.
In February 2013, Impossible Studios was closed, less than a year after its opening.
On January 27, 2014, Microsoft acquired the Gears of War IP from Epic Games. The first game since the acquisition, Gears of War 4, will be released by The Coalition, taking over the development duties from Epic.
On November 4, 2015, Epic Games announced a new third person multiplayer online battle arena game called Paragon. The game is slated for release in 2016, for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4, with playable characters expected to be unveiled gradually throughout November.
Epic is the proprietor of four successful game engines in the video game industry. Each Unreal Engine has a complete feature set of graphical rendering, sound processing, and physics that can be widely adapted to fit the specific needs of a game developer that does not want to code its own engine from scratch. The four engines Epic has created are the Unreal Engine 1, Unreal Engine 2 (including its 2.5 and 2.X releases), Unreal Engine 3, and Unreal Engine 4.
In 2007, Canadian game studio Silicon Knights sued Epic Games for failure to "provide a working game engine", causing the Ontario-based game developer to "experience considerable losses." Silicon Knights' suit alleged that Epic Games was "sabotaging" Unreal Engine 3 licensees. Epic's licensing document stated that a working version of the engine would be available within six months of the Xbox 360 developer kits being released. Silicon Knights claimed that Epic not only missed this deadline, but that when a working version of the engine was eventually released, the documentation was insufficient. They also claimed Epic had withheld vital improvements to the game engine, claiming they were "game specific", while also using licensing fees to fund development of their own titles rather than the engine itself.
On August 9, 2007, Epic Games counter-sued Silicon Knights, claiming that they were using its engine without paying royalties. On May 30, 2012, Epic Games defeated Silicon Knights' lawsuit, and won its counter-suit for $4.45 million on grounds of copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract. Consistent with Epic's counterclaims, the presiding judge stated that Silicon Knights had "deliberately and repeatedly copied thousands of lines of Epic Games' copyrighted code, and then attempted to conceal its wrongdoing by removing Epic Games' copyright notices and by disguising Epic Games' copyrighted code as Silicon Knights' own."
As a result, on November 7, 2012, Silicon Knights was directed by the court to destroy all game code derived from Unreal Engine 3, all information from licensee-restricted areas of Epic's Unreal Engine documentation website, and to permit Epic Games access to the company's servers and other devices to ensure these items have been removed. In addition, they were instructed to recall and destroy all unsold retail copies of games built with Unreal Engine 3 code, including Too Human, X-Men Destiny, The Sandman, The Box/Ritualyst, and Siren in the Maelstrom (the latter three titles were projects never released, or even officially announced).
On May 16, 2014, following the loss of the court case, Silicon Knights was sued until it filed for bankruptcy and a Certificate of Appointment was issued by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, with Collins Barrow Toronto Limited being appointed as Trustee in Bankruptcy.
- On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Chair Entertainment.
- Epic Games Korea, established in 2009, operates in Seoul, South Korea.
- Epic Games Seattle, established in 2012. Epic Games Seattle is focused on virtual and mixed reality, building online architecture for large-scale games and supports Unreal Engine developers.
- Epic Games Japan, established in 2010 and based in Tokyo. Used for game engine licensing and support.
- Epic Games UK, formed in August 2014 from an expansion of partner studio Pitbull Studio. Epic Games UK has offices in Guildford, Newcastle, and Royal Leamington Spa areas.
- Epic Games Berlin, was established as a publishing office in 2016. Epic Games Berlin further expands the company's global reach, with a focus on Europe and Russia.
Games developed and/or published
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