Epic Games has raised $2 billion in a funding round just a week after its release of Unreal Engine 5.
Epic – known for its hit titles, popular game engine, and high-profile spats with Apple – says the funding will support its continued growth and vision to build the metaverse.
Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games, said:
“As we reimagine the future of entertainment and play we need partners who share our vision. We have found this in our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI.
This investment will accelerate our work to build the metaverse and create spaces where players can have fun with friends, brands can build creative and immersive experiences and creators can build a community and thrive.”
Sony Group Corporation and KIRKBI (a family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group) each invested $1 billion.
Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO at Sony Group Corporation, commented:
“As a creative entertainment company, we are thrilled to invest in Epic to deepen our relationship in the metaverse field, a space where creators and users share their time.
We are also confident that Epic’s expertise, including their powerful game engine, combined with Sony’s technologies, will accelerate our various efforts such as the development of new digital fan experiences in sports and our virtual production initiatives.”
Such a large investment from Sony with the intention of deepening its relationship with Epic in the metaverse makes sense for the PlayStation brand overall, but especially for the upcoming launch of PSVR2. I know I’m not the only one hoping for PlayStation Home to make a VR return.
The overall focus on the metaverse is interesting but unsurprising given the industry bullishness around the technology and the appetite from consumers and enterprises post-COVID.
Søren Thorup Sørensen, CEO at KIRKBI, said:
“Epic Games is known for building playful and creative experiences and empowering creators large and small.
A proportion of our investments is focused on trends we believe will impact the future world that we and our children will live in. This investment will accelerate our engagement in the world of digital play, and we are pleased to be investing in Epic Games to support their continued growth journey, with a long-term focus toward the future metaverse.”
Melanie Subin, a director at The Future Today Institute in New York, believes a large proportion of people will be in the metaverse in some way by 2030. Some will use it just for work or social obligations while others will spend “the majority of their waking hours ‘jacked in’”.
Exactly what constitutes a “metaverse” is somewhat being defined. Many believe Epic Games’ hit free-to-play game Fortnite constitutes a metaverse due to its events that tie-in with the real world. For example, Ariana Grande kicked off her ‘Rift’ tour in Fortnite:
Others believe a true metaverse requires interoperability and/or decentralisation to differ from MMO experiences that gamers have enjoyed for decades
Epic Games’ post-money equity valuation is $31.5 billion.
(Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash)
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