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Gaming on iOS devices is about to get a whole lot better, thanks to the work being done by Epic Games, which has just previewed its newest game engine, the Unreal Engine 5 described as a “quantum leap” in gaming performance and quality.
Epic Games has been pushing the envelope of what’s possible in gaming engines for years, and it hasn’t limited its efforts to consoles, but has enthusiastically embraced Apple’s iPhone and iPad as viable gaming platforms. The company famously released Infinity Blade back in 2011, which was easily one of the most impressively developed iOS games of the era that redefined what was possible on an iPhone — at a time when the iPhone 4 was the bleeding edge of technology.
The company followed that up with several sequels, each of which continued to push the needle forward, and when Apple released its new Metal graphics technology in 2015, Epic Games was there on stage a demo of Fortnight to show off what it was capable of.
Unreal Engine 5
Now Epic Games has just taken the wraps off of its Unreal Engine 5 (UE5), expected to launch next year, with a mind-blowing demo that shows what the next generation of gaming is going to look like. While the demo in question was shown running on the upcoming PlayStation 5, the new Unreal Engine will be available to developers for games on every platform, including iOS.
Speaking to The Verge, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said the goal is not only to bring more features to developers, but to also make their lives “easier and more productive” so that they can produce these kinds of stunning games. Epic’s CTO, Kim Libreri, said that UE5 will offer “another leap on top of” the performance that next-gen gaming is already going to be capable of.
New features in the engine will include dynamic global illumination, which Epic is calling “Lumen” and fully virtualized geometry, dubbed “Nanite.” This will allow artists to create significantly more realistic and dynamic scenes by allowing “as much geometric detail as the eye can see” and the ability for lighting to adapt in a whole new variety of ways.
What This Means For You
Perhaps most importantly, however, Sweeney told The Verge that the goal of UE5 is to create fantastic cross-platform games, much like the company has already done with Fortnite.
You can build a high-end console game and it can look fantastic and you can also make it work on smartphones.Tim Sweeney, CEO, Epic Games
While this obviously stands to power some pretty incredible iOS gaming experiences in general, especially considering the potential of Apple’s modern A-series chips, we think the real win here will be for Apple Arcade users.
After all, with most of the mobile gaming landscape having become littered with so-called “free-to-play” titles, Apple Arcade has become a breath of fresh air by offering some pretty impressive games for a single monthly subscription fee, all devoid of ads and in-game currencies.
In fact, Apple has already been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into indie game development for Apple Arcade, and we’ve seen the results of that investment, so with developers gaining access to tools like the Unreal Engine 5, which are both more powerful and easier to implement, the future of Apple Arcade is looking even brighter.