A speculative editorial in US magazine GamePro has set the blog rumour mill in motion by claiming that Epic will be bought by Microsoft for $1bn by the summer.
In the latest issue, the magazine’s assistant editor points out that Epic’s knowledge of the 360 platform, work on key first-party IP Gears of War – and of course its booming business creating and licensing Unreal Engine – makes them a ripe partner for the format-holder
Epic hasn’t commented on the actual veracity of the claim (as any privately-owned, profitable company ripe for a big money buyout in a growth market probably wouldn’t) but when contacted by Develop, VP Mark Rein wasn’t shy of making light of the latest speculation – firing back an email saying the firm he co-founded was worth at least double the amount claimed by GamePro.
"I have not seen the actual GamePro article but if they’re going to make predictions about us selling Epic we would prefer if they started at $2 billion," he said. "Because we don’t want anyone thinking that we’re cheap. :)"
Epic has often been a target of acquisition speculation, especially given the firm’s increasing popularity in the middleware circuit – there are hundreds of licensees for its Unreal Engine 3 and a raft of complimentary technology partners in its Integrated Partners Program.
Indeed in previous interviews, including those with Develop, Rein has refused to rule out the possibility of an acquisition – however his latest comments suggest that if someone were to make an offer for the studio, ownership of Epic would come at a high price.