Epic Games, the makers of hit battle royale title Fortnite, received a $2bn investment boost from Sony Group Corp and the owners of the Lego Group, Kirkbi this week. The two companies have each put $1bn into Epic in deals designed to strengthen their digital presence, with the game publisher valued at $31.5bn following the deal that saw the two giants buy in to their company.
The $31.5bn valuation is up from the $28.7bn valuation of Epic in 2021, and is an impressive level of growth given the turbulent twelve months the firm has had. This succes has come despite the fact that their highly publicised lawsuit with Apple is far from resolved, making it currently impossible for users to install or update the game from Apple devices.
The suit relates to Apple taking a larger cut of transactions between Epic and their customers than the company would like, and has massive implications for Apple should they eventually be forced to change their store policies. Epic’s ability to maintain and even grow despite being locked out of such a huge market is testament to the global popularity of the game, as well as the company’s ability to maintain relevance with celebrity tie-ins and other events.
The popularity of the game has also been challenged from within the gaming industry, with other battle royale titles like Apex Legends and Call of Duty Warzone making headlines, leading to Fortnite making changes to gameplay for the start of the new season. Gamers are now given the choice of ditching Fortnite’s signature building in favour of a new, simpler experience, which seems to have drawn a number of content creators back into the fold.
Another Metaverse investment
This move is another that sees a tech giant attempt to move towards a ‘metaverse’-level gaming experience, with many large publishers and even giants like Facebook looking to move in that direction. According to the statement on Epic’s site, “All three companies highly value both creators and players, and aim to create new social entertainment exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds.”
Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO of the Sony Group Corporation, is quoted as saying that “[Sony] 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.”
KIRKBI CEO Søren Thorup Sørensen said the move will further enable Lego to connect with their young audience through virtual means. “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.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeny echoed these sentiments, saying “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.”