Epic Games, the popular video game publisher fortnite and creator of Hollywood-popular Unreal Engine graphics software, raised $2 billion in a new round from Sony Group Corp. and KIRKBI, owner of the Lego toy and entertainment brand.
Epic says it will use the cash injection to work with its investors and “create new social entertainment that explores the connection between the digital and physical worlds.” Yes, this is the metaverse.
Sony and KIRKBI will each contribute $1 billion in the round, which values Epic at $31.5 billion. Epic last raised funds in May last year at a valuation of $28.7 billion. Sony was also part of this cycle. Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney remains the company’s majority shareholder.
“This investment will accelerate our work to build the metaverse and create spaces where gamers can have fun with friends, brands can create creative and immersive experiences, and creators can build community and thrive,” Sweeney said in announcing the agreement.
Epic has seen record growth in recent years, driven by fortnite and the continued expansion of Unreal. The company has also been looking for acquisitions, most recently music and artist community platform Bandcamp last month.
But it has also come under public scrutiny, prompted by its antitrust lawsuit against Apple. The game company argued that Apple’s 30% cut in purchases was monopolistic. At trial, a judge ruled that Apple was fine with charging a commission, but found that the tech giant’s anti-steering rule (which stated that companies like Epic couldn’t direct users to their website to pay for a subscription or content) was inappropriate.
“As a creative entertainment company, we’re excited to invest in Epic to deepen our relationship in the realm of the Metaverse, a space where creators and users share their time.” Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman and CEO of Sony Group Corp., said in a statement. “We are also confident that Epic’s expertise, including its powerful game engine, combined with Sony’s technologies, will accelerate our various efforts such as the development of new digital experiences for fans in sports and our production initiatives. Virtual.”
The deal with KIRKBI was announced last week, when Lego and Epic announced plans to create an “immersive, creative and engaging digital experience” for kids and families.
“Part of our investments focus on trends that we believe will impact the future world we and our children will live in,” said KIRKBI CEO Søren Thorup Sørensen. “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.”