Update: A representative from Epic Games contacted Gaming Street and explained, “Epic Games Cologne will continue to further work on existing streaming technologies, such as those on display during the Fortnite World Cup and voice communications as part of Epic Online Services.”
Epic Games, creator of the fantastically popular competitive game Fortnite, announced on Thursday that it is opening a new development studio based in Cologne, Germany where Gamescom is held. Its focus will be on developing streaming technologies and voice communications as part of Epic Online Services.
The studio is being led by the founders of Factor 5, who created games such as Star Wars: Rogue Squadron before closing in 2009. Although the statement doesn’t specify exactly what the new studio will be working on, its projects will explore “emerging forms of interactive media and streaming technologies.”
Factor 5 co-founder Julian Eggebrecht will serve as the director of online technology. He was most recently a VP at Hulu, helping to bring the service to the Nintendo Switch. Achim Moller, former the CEO of Factor 5, is the studio director. Both joined Epic earlier this year. According to the press release, the two have experience working with Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu in addition to serving as technology partners with Nintendo and Sony.
“Germany is a nation at the forefront of technology and we look forward to extending our local presence as we fill newly created roles and hire exceptional talent,” said Eggebrecht in a statement.
With the emphasis being on streaming and media technologies, it’s unlikely that Epic Games Cologne will develop games. Instead, we may see additions to the Epic Games Store, which is currently trying to take on Steam. Or perhaps Epic plans to launch its own livestreaming platform to challenge Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer. There’s also the remote possibility that the Cologne studio could contribute technologies to Epic’s popular Unreal Engine, which is for video game development across multiple platforms.
Nothing is certain at this point, with Epic leaving much to speculation. We may learn more about the new studio and its upcoming projects during Gamescom 2019, which begins on August 20. Epic Games is partially owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.