According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, the iOS-exclusive Infinity Blade series is his company’s most profitable game ever. And for the sake of meme completeness, Infinity Blade is more profitable than Epic Games’ Gears of War, a lucrative military sci-fi shooter franchise for the Xbox and Windows platforms. Which is saying a lot considering Gears of War cost $10 million to develop…

Epic Games, the famed Cary, North Carolina-headquartered games developer founded in 1991, is best-known as the proprietor of three successful game engines in the video game industry: the Unreal Engine, Unreal Engine 2 (including its 2.5 and 2.X releases), and Unreal Engine 3.

Sweeney made the comment at the Game Developers Conference in Taipei today, where he talked platform convergence, freemium being the inevitable future and mobile gaming, according to GamaSutra.

The most profitable game we’ve ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue, is actually Infinity Blade. It’s more profitable than Gears of War.

They are now developing the Unreal Engine 4, an ambitious project that Sweeney said will once again push the envelope on what’s possible on PCs and consoles, but also portable devices.

The Unreal Engine 4 will increase the level of visual quality, but also increase the performance and efficiency. … The tools investment is paying off. Artists are able to build content more productively than before.

What’s best, the upcoming engine will be able even more optimized with mobile devices in mind:

And with the Unreal Engine as a whole, we found it’s much easier to scale down from high end to low end devices than in this generation. We expect to be able to build games that can scale from a smartphone to a high end PC. … We expect an unprecedented amount of content portability for the future.

I’m certainly looking forward to it.

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Gaming is my thing (I started out as an editor of a gaming magazine) and literally a day doesn’t go by without killing at least fifteen minutes of my time playing iOS games.

It still boggles my mind how Epic managed to pull off something like Infinity Blade on the iPhone 4.

Though such games don’t quite match the quality achievable on dedicated consoles in terms of polygon count and splashy effects, they are closing the gap – even if the new iPad has issues rendering graphics-intensive games natively in its 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution.

Sweeney said as much, remarking that Epic has been “very very surprised to see how fast smartphone and tablet devices are improving”.

Also, this:

Sweeney says, for instance, that the iPad 3 is approaching the performance of the Xbox 360 and PS3 — and the pace of improvement is faster than moore’s law.

At Apple’s WWDC conference earlier this month in San Francisco, Epic unveiled Infinity Blade: Dungeons, a new adventure set in Infinity Blade universe to be released later this year for iOS devices (it’ll be specifically optimized for the new iPad).

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Give it a generation or two and the iPhone 6 or 7 – or whatever it will be called – will be able to run Gears of War-type games in 1080p via AirPlay on your big screen TV.

What’s your take on the state of the iOS gaming in terms of the latest iPhone and iPad hardware and software offering on the App Store?