Epic Games' headquarters in Cary, North Carolina
|Potomac Computer Systems
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Headquarters||Cary, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Products||Unreal Engine, Unreal Tournament, Fortnite, Shadow Complex, Paragon|
|Owner||Tim Sweeney, Mark Rein (51%+)
Number of employees
|Slogan||When you succeed, we succeed.|
Epic Games, Inc. (formerly Epic MegaGames) is an American video game development company based in Cary, North Carolina, and partially owned by Tencent Holdings, which is one of the largest internet and video gaming companies in China. They are well 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. It has also owns game studios in Berlin, Shanghai, Seattle, Seoul, Tokyo, and the United Kingdom. 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.
Epic MegaGames (1991–1999)
Epic Games was initially founded under the name of 'Potomac Computer Systems' in 1991 by Tim Sweeney in Rockville, Maryland, releasing its flagship product, ZZT, the same year. During the latter portion of ZZT's life span, the company became known as 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 Robbo, Heartlight, and Electro Man; and Renaissance's Zone 66.
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 MOBA game called Paragon. The game is slated for release in early 2016, for PC 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, Epic's latest release.
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.
- In 2007, Epic Games acquired a majority shareholding in Polish developer People Can Fly, which was later rebranded itself as Epic Games Poland on November 1, 2013. However, on June 24, 2015 it was announced they had become once again independent, no longer making them a subsidiary of Epic Games.
- On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Chair Entertainment.
- In 2008, a Chinese division, Epic Games China, was opened in Shanghai. It is through this division that Epic owns Titan Studios. Titan Studios was dissolved in July 2011 and Epic Games China has since been renamed Yingpei Games.
- Another studio, Epic Games Korea, established in 2009, operates in Seoul, South Korea.
- Epic Games Seattle was 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, which is based in Tokyo, is 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.
Current and past franchises
- Jazz Jackrabbit 1994-2002 (games three and four were licensed out to other studios.)
- Unreal 1998-present (past publishers include Atari, Inc. and Midway Games but currently self published.)
- Gears of War 2006-2014 (franchise sold to Microsoft Studios)
- Infinity Blade 2010-2013 (franchise created by Epic Games' subsidiary Chair Entertainment and published by Epic Games.)
Games developed or published
Awards and recognition
|This section requires expansion. (June 2016)|
Due to the success of Gears of War, the studio was awarded:
- IGN's "Best Developer for Xbox 360"
- Official Xbox Magazine's "Best Developer of the Year!"
- Spike TV's
- "Best Studio of the Year"
- "Best Shooter"
- "Best Graphic"
- "Best Multiplayer Game"
- Crecente, Brian (2016). "Their future is Epic: The evolution of a gaming giant". Polygon. Vox Media.
- Plante, Chris (April 2, 2012). "Better With Age: A History of Epic Games". Polygon. Vox Media.
- Totilo, Stephen (December 7, 2011). "The Quiet Tinkerer Who Makes Games Beautiful Finally Gets His Due". Kotaku.
- Edwards, Benj (May 25, 2009). "From The Past To The Future: Tim Sweeney Talks". Gamasutra. UBM plc.
- "Epic Luminaries On Why They Left". Polygon. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ANNUAL RESULTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2012" (PDF). Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Gilbert, Ben. "Epic Games China isn't quite part of Epic Games [update: even more info!]". Joystiq.
- "Fire Fight for Windows (1996)". MobyGames. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- Levi Buchanan (November 2, 2010). "Project Sword now called Infinity Blade". Uk.wireless.ign.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "Play With The Unreal Engine On Your iPhone With Epic Citadel". Kotaku. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- Jim Reilly (October 1, 2010). "Gears of War 3 Delayed to Fall 2011 - Xbox 360 News at IGN". Xbox360.ign.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "Carbon Games formed by Fat Princess devs". Joystiq. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
- Sliwinski, Alexander. "Big Huge Games members picked up for Epic Baltimore". Joystiq.
- Sliwinksi, Alexander. "Epic Baltimore now Impossible Studios, working on Infinity Blade: Dungeons". Joystiq.
- Alexa Ray Corriea (February 8, 2013). "Epic Games is closing Impossible Studios, Infinity Blade Dungeons on hold". Polygon. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- Sliwinksi, Alexander. "Epic Games sells minority interest to Tencent". Joystiq.
- Tencent's $330M Epic Games investment absorbed 40 percent of developer [Updated. Polygon (March 21, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
- "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- "Cliff Bleszinski Departs Epic". Epicgames.com. October 3, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- "Epic Games president retiring". Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- "Former Epic Games president Mike Capps parts ways with studio". Retrieved March 21, 2013.
- "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". Gamespot. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Moriarty, Colin. "Epic Games Closes Its Newest Studio, Impossible Games". IGN.
- Orland, Kyle (January 27, 2014). "Microsoft buys Gears of War franchise from Epic Games". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- Dyer, Mitch (May 8, 2014). "Epic Games reveals free, crowdsourced Unreal Tournament". IGN. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Makuch, Eddie (May 8, 2014). "New Unreal Tournament in development, and it'll be absolutely free". GameSpot. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Breaking: Silicon Knights Files Lawsuit Against Epic".
- Andy Chalk. "The Escapist : News : Epic Launches Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Stephen Totilo. "Epic Says Epic Has Won Lawsuit Battle With Silicon Knights [UPDATE: Epic Awarded $4.45 Million]". Kotaku.
- "Epic judgment doubled, Silicon Knights ordered to pay over $9 million. Silicon Knights were ordered to pay $4.45 Million in damages to Epic Games.".
- "Silicon Knights, Inc. v. Epic Games, Inc. Filing: 862".
- Collins Barrow Trustee In Bankruptcy Of Silicon Knights Inc.
- Rea, Jared (August 20, 2007). "Epic Games buys People can fly studios". Joystiq.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Sarkar, Samit (November 1, 2013). "People Can Fly now known as Epic Games Poland". Polygon. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
- Hussain, Tamoor (June 24, 2015). "People Can Fly Turns Independent, Buys Bulletstorm IP". GameSpot. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
- Brandon Boyer (May 20, 2008). "Epic Games Acquires Undertow Developer Chair". GamaSutra. Retrieved May 20, 2008.
- "Epic Games China Company". epicgameschina.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Titan Studios". titanstudios.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Epic Games, Inc. Opens New Subsidiary in Korea". epicgames.com. July 29, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
- "Epic Games, Inc. Opens New Subsidiary in Korea". IGN. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Karmali, Luke (August 5, 2014). "Epic announces Opening of new UK studio Epic Games UK". IGN. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
- "VGA — Spike TV 2006 Video Game Awards Winners". Digital Tech News. December 9, 2006. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
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