July 3, 2012 Update: Unreal Engine 4 looked fine last month. It'll likely be a big deal next-gen, keeping Epic very relevant. An investment in Epic by Chinese gaming giant Tencent is useful, too, but Rein goes down a notch to make room for the surging chief of Ubisoft, which had an incredible E3.
May 30, 2012 Update: A first tease at Unreal Engine 4 shows impressive imagery from Epic's new engine, promising a reveal in the works that could impact developers and their future games. The company also dodged fines in a court case against Silicon Knights.
Feb 20, 2012 Update: He drops primarily because others have leapt over him. Epic is holding steady.
Why He's Powerful
The vice president and co-founder of Epic Games doesn't make the company's Gears of War blockbusters nor their surprise iPad hit Infinity Blade. He doesn't design Epic's ubiquitous Unreal Engine. But the man is everywhere, pockets bulging with devices he is eager to show you will also run some great new version of Unreal's graphics tech.
If Rein and Epic have their way, the Unreal Engine will power every hit made by every major video game company working on iOS, Android, gaming handhelds and the next generation of console games. Good luck getting Nintendo or Rockstar or Bethesda to make their games in Unreal (hint: they won't), but Rein and co. still have most of the gaming industry ready or able to work with Epic. And with a new generation of consoles now in the works, Epic just might have significant say about how much technical muscle Sony and Microsoft put in their next boxes.
Just remember: Epic wasn't the first video game company to have a popular graphics engine. That perch is by no means permanent and if they fall, they have far to go.