Sony and the Lego Family invest $2 billion in Fortnite creator Epic Games
The Epic Games logo displayed on a smartphone.
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Fortnite creator Epic Games has raised $2 billion in funding from Sony and the Lego Family, in a massive deal underlining big business’ enthusiasm for the so-called “metaverse”.
Sony will inject $1 billion into the company, Epic announced on Monday, while KIRKBI, the family investment firm behind Lego, will invest an equal amount. The deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, would value Epic at $31.5 billion.
The news comes on the heels of a partnership Epic and Lego announced last week to co-develop a “family-friendly” metaverse for kids. Lego already has a line of successful video games based on lucrative franchises, including Disney’s Star Wars and Warner Bros.’ Batman.
“Part of our investments focus on trends that we believe will impact the future world that we and our children will live in,” KIRKBI CEO Soren Thorup Sorensen said in a statement on Monday.
“This investment will accelerate our commitment to the world of digital gaming, and we are excited to invest in Epic Games to support their continued growth, with a long-term focus on the future metaverse.”
The hype surrounding the Metaverse, a proposed network of vast virtual worlds, has recently taken the corporate world by storm. Facebook started the trend by renaming itself Meta, and several major brands including JPMorgan, Samsung and Nike began experimenting with the technology.
However, companies like Epic and Roblox have been talking about creating a metaverse for a long time.
Epic’s battle royale game Fortnite lets up to 100 players battle it out to be the last one standing. But it has branched out into other forms of entertainment, hosting music concerts from artists like Travis Scott and Marshmello, for example.
Roblox, meanwhile, wants to build a metaverse where millions of people can congregate to play games or even work in a virtual economy powered by Robux, its own in-app currency.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said the new funds will help the company “accelerate our work to build the metaverse.”
“As we reimagine the future of entertainment and gaming, we need partners who share our vision. We have found it in our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI,” Sweeney said in a statement.
Although best known as the company behind Fortnite, Epic Games is a video game powerhouse. The company has developed Unreal Engine, one of the largest platforms used to create games, and operates its own online game store which competes with Microsoft and Valve.
The company has been at the center of a heated dispute between app developers and Apple over the latter’s App Store fees. Last year, a judge ruled that Apple could no longer prevent developers from removing users from Apple’s payment system. The tech giant typically takes a 15% to 30% discount on all in-app purchases.