Epic Games, developer of Fortnite, announced a $2 billion round of funding to support the company’s growth and intention to build the metaverse. This funding round including a $1 billion investment from existing investor Sony Group Corporation and a $1 billion investment from KIRKBI, a family-owned holding and investment company behind the LEGO Group.
In the company’s announcement, Epic Games said all three companies value creators and players and want to create “new social entertainment exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds.” The company is now valued at $31.5 billion. For comparison, Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in all-cash deal, making Microsoft the third-largest gaming company, by revenue. Epic Games is less than half that size, in terms of valuation, but it is gaining ground with these investments.
“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,” said Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO and founder. “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.”
Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president and CEO of Sony Group Corporation, commented on his company’s investment.
“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,” said Yoshida. “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.”
“Epic Games is known for building playful and creative experiences and empowering creators large and small,” said Søren Thorup Sørensen, CEO of KIRKBI. “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.”
Long-term partnership with The LEGO Group
This news comes just days after The LEGO Group and Epic Games announced their long-term partnership to shape the future of the metaverse so that it is both safe and fun for children and families. The companies will work together “to build an immersive, creatively inspiring and engaging digital experience for kids of all ages to enjoy together.”
“As the metaverse evolves, it is reshaping how people meet, play, work, learn and interact in a virtual, 3D world. The LEGO Group and Epic Games will combine their extensive experience to ensure that this next iteration of the internet is designed from the outset with the well-being of kids in mind,” said Sweeney.
Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of The LEGO Group, explained why they chose to partner with Epic Games.
“Kids enjoy playing in digital and physical worlds and move seamlessly between the two. We believe there is huge potential for them to develop life-long skills such as creativity, collaboration and communication through digital experiences. But we have a responsibility to make them safe, inspiring and beneficial for all. Just as we’ve protected children’s rights to safe physical play for generations, we are committed to doing the same for digital play. We look forward to working with Epic Games to shape this exciting and playful future,” Christiansen said.
The companies agreed to three principles to ensure safe digital spaces:
- Protect children’s right to play by making safety and well-being a priority
- Safeguard children’s privacy by putting their interests first
- Empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experiences
There is no question that Epic Games is a player, and the company continues to get bigger. In addition to these significant investments, Epic Games is making a few of its own. Last month, the game developer said they will buy Bandcamp, an online music store and artist-fan community. Though details of the deal were not disclosed, Epic Games said the two companies share a mission of building artist-friendly platforms that allow creators to keep most of the revenue generated by their work. They also believe in a fair and open internet for all.