Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Epic Games launched “Infinity Blade II” to rave reviews on Thursday but within hours on Friday the Cary-based company knew from users it had a problem.

They had a “bug” – a big one.

That’s something no videogame company wants to hear, especially when the title has been as hyped as Infinity Blade II with one early review at popular website IGN giving it a perfect 10. Apple even touted the game in the launch of its latest iPhone 4S. The first one generated more than $20 million in sales.

Then came the user feedback for the sequel – the most important reviews of all.

“Keeps crashing” and “Can’t even start it” showed up in early user reviews at Apple’s iTunes store where the game can be downloaded for $6.99.

Then came Epic’s response – with an exclamation point and a concession.

“Infinity Blade II issues on iPad and iPod Touch devices – working to fix!”

So wrote Epic Vice President Mark Rein in an online forum at Epic, alerting buyers that they might encounter problems.

Users told Epic that they were encountering memory problems after downloading the game, which is a sequel to the multi-million copy “Infinity Blade.” The Infinity Blade games, developed by Epic’s subsidiary Chair Entertainment which is located in Utah, are Epic’s first games developed for the Apple iOS operating system.

One website noted that players were encountering “unbearably choppy frame rates and outright crashing.”

Rein acknowledged the problems.

“For some users Infinity Blade II seems to be running out of memory on their heavily laden iPad1 and iPod Touch devices,” Rein wrote.

He then conceded that Epic had not tested such a scenario before launch.

“For example if you have a large number of apps installed iOS must cache all those icons to give you smooth performance when you hit the home button,” Rein wrote.

“Unfortunately the machines we tested on didn’t have massive numbers of apps installed on them so we think this how we think we missed this particular condition.”

Warning, Warning …

At iTunes, user reviewers warned prospective buyers:

“This game currently doesn’t work if you have an iPad 1 running iOS 5.0.1. It crashes on start up or shortly after,” one customer wrote.

“I’m giving it a 4 out of good faith that Chair will fix it, and I really hope they do soon. I’m dying to play it. In the meantime, rate this review as helpful, so that people will see it and not trash the game because of a simple bug that will probably be fixed within a week.”

Under a post titled “Keeps crashing,” another customer noted: “Can never make it past the opening credits.”

Added another: “Can’t even start it!

“I waited for this game, only to watch it crash 5 times in a row upon startup. I’m really feeling like I just threw money away. I’m running a 1st gen iPad and have the same issue with the first IB. I was really hoping that this would be addressed in the new release.”

“Quick Fix”

Rein wrote that Epic was “working on a quick fix and will submit an update to the store as soon as possible.”

At iTunes, Epic and Chair posted a note at the top of information about the game:

“We are investigating a known technical issue with iPod touch (4th gen) running OS 4.3/5.0/5.0.1 as well as the original iPad with OS 4.2/4.3/5.0/5.0.1. We apologize for any inconvenience you may experience, and are currently working on a fix that will be deployed as quickly as possible.”

Rein posted suggestions at the Epic forum about what users encountering problems could do:

“One more thing. When apps run of memory at loading time that is something that is often fixed by restarting your device. So I recommend that people try restarting their device to see if that solves it for them. I say this because the game runs fine on my iPad1 which I restarted before playing the game.

“Here’s how Apple recommends you properly restart an iOS devices: First turn the device off by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until a red slider appears. Slide your finger across the slider and the device will turn off after a few moments. Next, turn it on by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears then wait for it to continue booting up.

“For those experiencing the issue we thank you for your patience!”

Will Apple game fans be patient and, more importantly, forgiving? The bottom line will be sales.

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