Epic Games: Changing gaming on the go...

by: Jeremy -
A question for the "recent" ages: can the iPhone / iPod pose a real threat to Nintendo's dominance on the handheld gaming market?  If Epic Games' latest announcement is any sort of indication... it just may.  Epic Games recently unveiled demo footage of their Unreal Engine 3 running on both the iPhone and the iPod to the tech blog AnandTech.  It should be noted that the engine only works on the 3rd generation iPod and the iPhone 3GS; the engine will not work on the 2G, 3G or older iPod models.  What does this mean for the future of mobile gaming? Let's ponder the possibilities...

The level that Epic is showing off the Unreal Engine 3 technology with is a modified Unreal Tournament level.  While the demo was classic Unreal Tournament, please note that this is the same game engine that powered such titles as Gears of War series and Midway's Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe.  Whether or not you actually liked playing these titles, you have to admit that they were graphically gorgeous.  The Unreal Engine 3 was designed for the 360 and the PlayStation 3 as well as DirectX 9/10 PC's.  The thought that this same development engine is even remotely capable of running on a current mobile platform is mind blowing to me. 


We, as gamers, have come accustomed to the mobile gaming platforms being equivalent to a minimum of one - two console generations in the past; when we were playing the Dreamcast and Playstation 2, the portable realms had just hit the 16-bit era in a sense with the Gameboy Advance.  Even now days, portable games on platforms such as the PSP are just now coming to close to matching the experiences offered on the early PlayStation 2 platform.  What Epic has managed to do, possibly, is to bridge that gap using existing portable hardware.  Even though they have only showed the tech on Apple's platform, they have announced that they will be showing that the Unreal Engine 3 has been run on other mobile platforms at the upcoming CES.

We shouldn't get our hopes up yet though about seeing a mobile Gears of War as Epic has clearly stated that this is simply about bringing the Unreal Engine 3 to the portable environment (which is enough to get me excited).  This should not be taken as an announcement of any Apple or mobile projects that they may be personally undertaking.   Either way, the future of mobile gaming looks brighter than ever...
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