Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite creator Epic Games, has made a name for himself by shaking up the gaming scene. His contentious feud with Google made headlines last year, and Epic Games turned heads again with the implementation of its own innovative online storefront. Sweeney is again getting attention after making the bold proclamation that smartphones will be the future of gaming.
In an interview with Business Insider, Sweeney said that the eventual industry shift toward mobile gaming was inevitable. In the interview, Sweeney asserted that most game companies unjustly view mobile ports of their games as “dumbed-down” versions of the original titles.
Epic Games has been making moves to support handheld gaming for some time now. The studio has long worked to implement effective cross-play mechanics that allow gamers playing Fortnite on mobile to play with console players. This move has been met with varying degrees of success; players have cited a distinct gap in skill level between smartphone users and players on other consoles. This gap seems to be due, at least in part, to the inherent limitations smartphone users must contend with. Namely, the lack of a distinct controller or dedicated hardware means smartphone users will usually be at a disadvantage when matched with console gamers.
Epic Games has also announced the release of the Epic Online Service. This software developer kit would allow creators to implement cross-play functionality in their games, a move designed to encourage more inclusion for smartphone gamers.
Sweeney’s words aren’t entirely without merit. A new generation of gaming smartphones is hitting the market, such as the newly released Black Shark 2. Google has also turned its attention to smartphone gaming with the announcement of its new Stadia gaming platform. In addition to PCs and TVs, players will be able to use Stadia to stream triple-A games directly to their smartphone’s browser window. Only time will tell if Sweeney is correct in his predictions.