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Business of Esports TV: Epic Monopoly

(Livestream 138)

In this segment, we discuss Epic offering free anti-cheat software to developers.

The Business Of Esports brings you news, debates, and all the information you need to know about the gaming sector, the world’s fastest-growing market. With Paul “The Profit” Dawalibi leading the charge, and a variety of special guests, BoE TV is the only place to find insider information on the esports industry!

Check out the full livestream here:

Paul Dawalibi 51:13
Let me let me try something different here. Let’s try epic, epic in the news this week. Epic Games releases free anti cheat and voice chat services. For developers. All of this is going to be part of what they’re calling epic online services. It’s available to us, by the way with any game engine. So not just unreal. That’s what I just want to be specific about that. And all of this technology, they are already using it in fortnight. So they say it’s it’s battle tested, can handle millions of players. When I first saw this story, guys, my thinking immediately was our game engines going the way of like operating systems and browsers, maybe 10 years ago, right, where there was a concern that Microsoft bundling their browser with Windows was going to corner the market for Windows and browsers. And and I was sort of really upset at the headline when I read this because I thought this is sort of a monopoly kind of situation where everyone’s going to get stuck having to use unreal because epic has now all these great free tools with unreal. And then I read the piece about it’s available for any game engine. Yeah, and I’m curious if you guys think a in general, are you excited about this? But be Do you think that was a smart move? Or should they have made this specific to unreal? Why not corner more of the market here?

Jimmy Baratta 52:50
Yeah, like, how is epic making money? Right? Like, that’s our question all yours like, how are they making money? I don’t know.

Jeff Cohen 52:56
Did you see the documents, they’re making a lot of money,

Paul Dawalibi 52:59
well, fortnight, but

William Collis 53:02
just like, a billion dollars. They opened a bank account and people dumped cash.

Jeff Cohen 53:10
They bought a shopping mall, remember? Yeah, that’s where the money’s at.

Paul Dawalibi 53:18
Yeah, that’s when we get you know, they’re turning it into a real life cosmetic store for fortnight, where you’ll be able to go buy backpacks and outfits at the mall.

Jeff Cohen 53:27
So I do think I can’t remember. But Matthew ball did a big like four or five part series on epic breaking it down. And, and it was really good. He talked about their online services. I shouldn’t have even brought it up because I forget the punchline, but I think what they’re doing is they’re offering these things for free. And they’re getting data basically, in order. Like you have to these developers have to give them the data, like some sort of data basically, that they then add player accounts or information or something like that. So I you know, they’re not doing this out of the goodness of their heart, clearly. And I do think also like, this is I’m sure, even though, you know, it’s like any other software, even though something is available that you can use, I chat on Android, but maybe I don’t know if that’s actually true. But like, it’s always better to have it in the ecosystem. I’m just saying a lot of ridiculous things that I

William Collis 54:18
probably know,

Paul Dawalibi 54:19
this, but I think that actually might be true. There are other ways.

William Collis 54:22
You can work with everything. But it can be better integrated in the thing. Exactly. So

Jeff Cohen 54:27
I imagine that most people that most developers that are saying this, oh, wow, amazing, free anti cheat, they’re not gonna be like, Well, let me use that software and like, interconnected into Unity, like it’s just very likely that you’re going to take the whole suite. So I do think this is a good on ramp driver. And

William Collis 54:45
the real question here is, is this a war of escalating features in engines, right, because we seem to be getting to a stage where there’s just a few engines, right? I think it might be safe to say this idea of The in house publisher proprietary engine is sort of going away, right? Only a few boutique publishers can really easily be like every game and costume built engine was the only way we could do this game, nothing else would work for it. Now it’s like, you know, we’re pretty much standardizing and these companies, it’s a, it’s a market that, you know, in many ways should probably be a winner take all market, or at least have very few vectors. And the companies that are big right now have a ton of money. Are we in for a world where like, everything’s baked into the engine? Because feature creep is the only way to differentiate yourself here. Yeah, that’s, like, pretty interesting. If that’s the world we’re heading towards, like, you know, when I don’t know if that’s good for games or bad, but it could be a direction because how does unity respond to this now? Right? Like, how do they respond to it? They could say all this stuff is Yeah, that’s right. That stuff works with our games, right? Or they could say, actually, we also have everyone can use it, integrate it, like, and that’s probably how they have to respond, right? Because to Jeff’s point, otherwise is better on the iPhone,

Jeff Cohen 56:01
you know, are they they’re probably gonna go acquire some if they don’t have it already some sort of anti cheat software. So it’s a good time to own one of those companies, I’m sure.

Paul Dawalibi 56:11
Yeah, I mean, in the press release itself, epic says the goal here is to encourage wider adoption of all of epics offerings, and they’re giving this away for free. But like, again, you run into like, already, there’s really only two game engines that matter, right already. It’s it’s not a highly fragmented market with tons of options for developers and tons of competition, you want to make a new game, basically, you have two choices for an engine. And then and then beyond that, if you want all these other tools and save yourself a lot of hassle. Now, you know, assuming they lock these things up, or they’re much easier to integrate within their own, your paths kind of set right like you’re not going to go spend 200 extra 200 or 100,000 extra man hours building your own voice chat, right just because you want to develop on unity, or

Jeff Cohen 57:05
tiger. My question is, you seem to be saying that as if this is the negative like, who gets hurt here?

William Collis 57:12
Well, you can like you’re talking about discord is discord scared by this? Because now you have like, what’s a company that’s bigger than discord? Right? Like, Epic Games and right I would argue the Unreal Engine is bigger than discord and more prevalent in the gaming space. Now you have voice chat in this, like, should they be scared? Should they be like, Oh, the way we lose here is a deeper level of integration than we have. Right? Like I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if I necessarily believe that. I’m just asking questions like who should be scared by this like, shouldn’t probably just be unity and I think discord might be one of the ones that like now discord, you’re sort of asking the question. Oh, discord, should you be like if you if publishers are going to make services that are competitive with yours? Do you need to either cozy up to some publishers more than you have? Or do you need to start thinking about like a different moat you can build around your software because it turns out the penetration if somebody goes a layer deeper in the ecosystem might not be you know, the panacea that you think it is?

Jeff Cohen 58:20
should call Microsoft say, hey, Satya, what was that? What are we talking about a couple months ago is like 10,000,000,015 we’ll do that. We’ll do that one. What do you think? Let’s

Paul Dawalibi 58:30
face discord

William Collis 58:32
I feel better now.

Paul Dawalibi 58:35
Right? Because discord will always sit outside of the games. And I think that that makes them somewhat like in game voice chat has never been a replacement for discord not up until now at least and I don’t see that really going forward. Right discord still if I want to play with my friends, that discord they I if I want to play in game with randoms I can’t use discord right as you can today. Yeah, that’s the the one time where you need the in game chat

William Collis 59:02
should be epics tagline, the voice chat for in game random.

Paul Dawalibi 59:06
But like, I think what worries me about this is again, losing innovation on the game engine front. But I also think it’s a brilliant move on epics part, right, like more tools, more less work that the developers have to do and more that they can focus on making their game fun and original, I think is good for the industry. I think I would just feel a lot better about it if there were four big engines and not too real.

William Collis 59:35
I mean, I guess I don’t know. I mean, I guess the world is better with more like because there’s an interesting question we asked which is, to some extent we say the games are homogenizing right? games are homogenizing right? Like, oh, all shooters play roughly the same way right now like oh, like is part of that because the engines have homogenized I don’t know I mean, I I didn’t like I don’t think that’s the case actually. But I like I think engines more like lighting. Ray tracing and but I like I’m genuinely curious is if everything if every blanket is built with the same cloth, right? There’s only so much different the blankets can walk has the consolidation of engines, to some extent, forced to homogenous because again, remember the whole reason my publisher had their own proprietary engine was oh, we needed an engine that could do this really well, because we wanted a game that did this. And no other engines did it. So we had to make our own engine, you know?

Paul Dawalibi 1:00:28
Yeah. Look, it’ll be interesting to see. I think epic is I like I like this move from them. I think in general, it’s really, really smart. And I’d like to see this more than just more news about them losing to Apple. Mike’s a slap in the face to Activision here. No. Mike, I’m curious why you think it’s a slap in the face to Activision?

William Collis 1:00:49
Yeah, I don’t get that.

Paul Dawalibi 1:00:51
Hello, Mike camp says the juice is buzzing. And Christopher says would be awesome to see Matthew ball as a guest, especially after his meta ETF announcement today. Christopher that’s unlikely. Without can’t say much more than that, that’s unlikely. Don’t put money there. Anyways,

William Collis 1:01:23
put money in business and eSports socks, because if I haven’t made it clear enough to you guys, I wear those socks all the time. And they’re awesome. Like, go get them.

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