Epic Games

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Epic Games, Inc.
Formerly called
  • Potomac Computer Systems (1991–1992)
  • Epic MegaGames, Inc. (1992–1999)
Private
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1991; 25 years ago (1991) in Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
Founders
Headquarters Cary, North Carolina, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Tim Sweeney (CEO)
  • Mark Rein (VP)
Products
Owner
  • Tim Sweeney, Mark Rein (51.6%)
  • Tencent (48.4%)
Number of employees
250[1] (2016)
Subsidiaries
  • Chair Entertainment
  • Epic Games Seattle
  • Epic Games UK
  • Epic Games Berlin
  • Epic Games Japan
  • Epic Games Korea
Website epicgames.com

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. It has 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.

History[edit]

Potomac Computer Systems (1991–1992)[edit]

Epic Games was founded as Potomac Computer Systems in 1991 by Tim Sweeney in Rockville, Maryland, releasing its flagship product, ZZT, the same year.

Epic MegaGames (1992–1999)[edit]

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)[edit]

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.

Epic worked on an iOS game, Infinity Blade,[2] which was released on December 9, 2010.[3] They also released Gears of War 3, the third game in the Gears of War series on September 20, 2011.[4]

In 2011, Epic's subsidiary Titan Studios was dissolved.[5]

At the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, Epic Games announced their new game Fortnite.

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.[6] Epic Baltimore was renamed to Impossible Studios in August 2012.[7] However, the studio ended up closing its doors in February 2013.[8]

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.[9][10] A number of high-profile staff left the company months after the deal was announced.[11]

In October 2012, Cliff Bleszinski announced he was leaving Epic Games after 20 years with the company. His official reason was "It's time for a much needed break".[12]

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.[13] He subsequently announced his departure of his advisory role as well as his affiliation with the company in March 2013.[14]

In February 2013, Impossible Studios was closed, less than a year after its opening.[15]

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.[16]

On May 8, 2014, Epic Games announced a new Unreal Tournament title. The game will be free, open to modding, and essentially developed alongside fans.[17][18]

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.[19]

Technology[edit]

Main article: Unreal Engine

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.

Litigation[edit]

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.[20]

On August 9, 2007, Epic Games counter-sued Silicon Knights, claiming that they were using its engine without paying royalties.[21] 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.[22] 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."[23]

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).[24]

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.[25]

Subsidiaries[edit]

  • On May 20, 2008, Epic Games acquired Chair Entertainment.[26]
  • Epic Games Korea, established in 2009, operates in Seoul, South Korea.[27]
  • 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, 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.[28]
  • 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[edit]

Year Title Platform Developer(s) Publisher(s)
1991 ZZT MS-DOS Potomac Computer Systems Potomac Computer Systems
1991 Brix MS-DOS Epic MegaGames Microleague Interactive Software
1992 Overkill MS-DOS Tech-Noir Productions Epic MegaGames
1992 Kiloblaster Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames, Moon Doggie
1992 Jill of the Jungle MS-DOS Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames
1993 Ken's Labyrinth Microsoft Windows Ken Silverman Epic MegaGames
1993 Epic Pinball MS-DOS Digital Extremes Epic MegaGames
1993 Zone 66 MS-DOS Renaissance Games Epic MegaGames
1993 Solar Winds MS-DOS Stone Interactive Epic MegaGames
1993 Dare to Dream Microsoft Windows Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames
1993 Electro Man MS-DOS xLand Games Epic MegaGames, xLand Games
1993 Ancients 1: Death Watch MS-DOS Farr-Ware Epic MegaGames, Farr-Ware
1993 Robbo MS-DOS xLand Games Epic MegaGames, xLand Games
1994 Heartlight MS-DOS xLand Games Epic MegaGames
1994 Jazz Jackrabbit MS-DOS Eclipse Software Epic MegaGames
1994 Highway Hunter MS-DOS Omega Integral Systems Safari Software, Epic MegaGames
1994 Traffic Department 2192 MS-DOS P-Squared Productions Safari Software, Epic MegaGames
1995 Tyrian MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows Epic MegaGames Epic MegaGames
1995 Radix: Beyond the Void MS-DOS Neutral Storm Entertainment Epic MegaGames
1996 Seek & Destroy MS-DOS, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Nintendo 64 Vision Software, Silicon Dreams Konami of America, Epic MegaGames, Safari Software, Mindscape, THQ, Bawler & Collins Multimedia
1998 Unreal Microsoft Windows, Mac OS Epic MegaGames, Digital Extremes, Legend Entertainment GT Interactive
1998 Castle of the Winds Microsoft Windows SaadaSoft Epic MegaGames
1998 Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS Orange Games, Epic MegaGames Gathering of Developers
1999 Age of Wonders Microsoft Windows Triumph Studios, Epic MegaGames Gathering of Developers
1999 Unreal Tournament Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Playstation 2, Dreamcast Epic Games, Digital Extremes GT Interactive, Infogrames
2002 Unreal Championship Xbox Epic Games, Digital Extremes Atari
2002 Unreal Tournament 2003 Microsoft Windows, OS X Epic Games, Digital Extremes Atari
2004 Unreal Tournament 2004 Microsoft Windows, OS X Epic Games, Digital Extremes, Psyonix, Streamline Studios Atari
2005 Unreal Championship 2 Xbox Epic Games Midway Games
2006 Gears of War Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Epic Games Microsoft Game Studios
2007 Unreal Tournament 3 Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, OnLive Epic Games Midway Games
2008 Gears of War 2 Xbox 360 Epic Games Microsoft Game Studios
2009 Shadow Complex Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Microsoft Game Studios
2010 Infinity Blade iOS Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Epic Games
2011 Bulletstorm Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 People Can Fly, Epic Games Electronic Arts
2011 Gears of War 3 Xbox 360 Epic Games Microsoft Studios
2011 Infinity Blade 2 iOS Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Epic Games
2013 Gears of War: Judgement Xbox 360 Epic Games, People Can Fly Microsoft Studios
2013 Infinity Blade 3 iOS Chair Entertainment, Epic Games Epic Games
2016 Paragon Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4 Epic Games Epic Games
2017 Fortnite Microsoft Windows, OS X Epic Games, People Can Fly Epic Games
TBA Unreal Tournament (Upcoming Game) Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux Epic Games Epic Games

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Crecente, Brian (May 1, 2016). "Lights, camera, graphics: How Epic helps Hollywood". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ Buchanan, Levi (November 2, 2010). "Project Sword Becomes Infinity Blade". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  3. ^ McWhertor, Michael (January 9, 2010). "Play With The Unreal Engine On Your iPhone With Epic Citadel". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  4. ^ Reilly, Jim (October 1, 2010). "Gears of War 3 Delayed to Fall 2011". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  5. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (May 7, 2011). "Carbon Games formed by Fat Princess devs". Engadget. AOL Tech. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  6. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (March 6, 2012). "Big Huge Games members picked up for Epic Baltimore". Engadget. AOL Tech. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (September 8, 2012). "Epic Baltimore now Impossible Studios, working on Infinity Blade: Dungeons". Engadget. AOL Tech. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  8. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (February 8, 2013). "Epic Games is closing Impossible Studios, Infinity Blade Dungeons on hold". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  9. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (June 19, 2012). "Epic Games sells minority interest to Tencent". Engadget. AOL Tech. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ Crecente, Brian (March 21, 2013). "Tencent's $330M Epic Games investment absorbed 40 percent of developer [Updated]". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  11. ^ Makuch, Eddie (March 21, 2013). "Chinese Internet company owns 40 percent of Epic Games". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  12. ^ McWhertor, Michael (October 3, 2012). "'Gears of War' design director Cliff Bleszinski leaves Epic Games". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  13. ^ Makuch, Eddie (December 4, 2012). "Epic Games president retiring". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  14. ^ Gaston, Martin (March 8, 2013). "Former Epic Games president Mike Capps parts ways with studio". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  15. ^ Moriarty, Colin (February 8, 2013). "Epic Games Closes Its Newest Studio, Impossible Games". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  16. ^ Orland, Kyle (January 27, 2014). "Microsoft buys Gears of War franchise from Epic Games". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  17. ^ Dyer, Mitch (May 8, 2014). "Epic Games Reveals Free, Crowdsourced Unreal Tournament". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  18. ^ Makuch, Eddie (July 25, 2014). "New Unreal Tournament in development, and it'll be absolutely free". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  19. ^ Moscaritolo, Angela (November 4, 2015). "Epic Games Teases New PC Shooter 'Paragon'". PCMag UK. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  20. ^ Carless, Simon (July 19, 2007). "Breaking: Silicon Knights Files Lawsuit Against Epic". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  21. ^ Chalk, Andy (August 9, 2007). "Epic Launches Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights". The Escapist. Defy Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  22. ^ Totilo, Stephen (May 30, 2012). "Epic Says Epic Has Won Lawsuit Battle With Silicon Knights [UPDATE: Epic Awarded $4.45 Million]". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  23. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (November 9, 2012). "Epic judgment doubled, Silicon Knights ordered to pay over $9 million". VG247. Videogaming247. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  24. ^ Sawyer, D. (July 11, 2012). "Silicon Knights, Inc. v. Epic Games, Inc.". Justia. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  25. ^ Wong, Brenda (May 16, 2014). "Silicon Knights Inc.". Collins Barrow. Collins Barrow National Cooperative. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  26. ^ Boyer, Brandon (May 20, 2008). "Epic Games Acquires Undertow Developer Chair". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  27. ^ IGN Staff (June 29, 2009). "Epic Games, Inc. Opens New Subsidiary in Korea". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  28. ^ Karmali, Luke (August 5, 2014). "Epic Announces Opening of New UK Studio Epic Games UK". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 

External links[edit]