Epic Games, the sole proprietor of the Unreal Engine and makers of Fortnite, have just received a massive $2 billion USD investment to fund its metaverse. Fresh off the heels of releasing Unreal Engine 5, this counts as two big wins for Epic in a single week. The investment comes from two different companies, both of whom see Epic’s ambition in developing a metaverse as one that is viable and inevitable.
Epic managed to successfully raise $2 billion dollars from Sony and KIRKBI, parent-company of The LEGO Group, in this round of funding. Both companies invested equal amounts, which means $1 billion each, in hopes of helping Epic materialize the metaverse it keeps talking about. Not only that, but this money will also be spend on more general development of Epic’s properties to increase its value in the market.
Today Epic Games announced a $2 billion round of funding to advance the company’s vision to build the metaverse and support its continued growth.
If we go back in time, Sony has actually already invested a total of $450 million USD into Epic Games over the past two years, and now that they’ve returned with a $1 billion fund this time, they must be seeing something in Epic. Sony invested $250 million in a July 2020 evaluation and then another $200 million last year in April. This funding will help strengthen the companies’ ties as they look forward towards an imminent metaverse.
“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.” – Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO of Sony Group Corporation.
KIRKBI is a more interesting investor as the company has never really worked with Epic before. Just a few days ago, LEGO and Epic Games announced their partnership in which the companies will build a child-friendly version of the metaverse. So, this investment makes sense considering LEGO and Epic Games will now be working closely on this project. Like Sony, KIRKBI also invested $1 billion in this round, as mentioned before.
“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.” Søren Thorup Sørensen, CEO of KIRKBI.
Building the metaverse
To be fair, we still don’t know what a metaverse really is or how it will look like. Right now, it’s nothing more than a buzzword used by Big Tech and crypto advocates to romanticize on a future version of the internet that feels much more intimately connected across the globe. Even though, we don’t have a supposed metaverse at the moment, the closest thing to its concept, is arguably Fortnite.
With its massively-spanning storyline that now incorporates pretty much every major franchise from all corners of entertainment, Fortnite has become the center point for all media, it seems. From DC to Marvel, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones, from the NFL to the NBA, from Ariana Grande to Bruno Mars, everyone is in Fortnite and they’re all somehow connected to Fortnite’s over-arching story.
What started out as a last-hope spinoff to save the base game, Fortnite Battle Royale has now become one of the most popular and successful games to ever exist, breaking records previously unfathomed. Fortnite also acted as a lifeline for Epic Games when nothing apart from Unreal Engine was working out for the company. Now, after this $2 billion funding, the company’s post-money equity is valued at a whopping $31.5 billion USD.
Epic Games will still keep a single class of common stock outstanding and will continue to be controlled by current-CEO and founder, Tim Sweeney. Here’s what he had to say about the funding:
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.