In a funding round led by existing investor Sony Group Corporation as well as KIRKBI, the family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group, Epic games has just secured $2B. The investors each contributed half of the total funding in a bid to help Epic Games further build out its metaverse and support its continued growth.
This new investment now values Epic Games at $31.5B, up 10% from a year ago. This investment carries the common aim of the three companies to create a new form of social entertainment exploring the connection between the digital and physical worlds. This investment doesn’t affect the equity structure, with Epic continuing to have a single class of common stock outstanding and remaining controlled by its CEO and founder, Tim Sweeney.
“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, KIRKBI was quoted.
The metaverse hype
The metaverse is increasingly defined as the future involving a more immersive internet in which users interact in 3D spaces using avatars. For developers in the crypto space, the metaverse signals an array of interoperable, overlapping environments built on blockchain networks. These blockchain metaverses use NFTs to represent user-owned items like avatars, virtual land, apparel, and more.
The result has been an increasing hope that people will use the metaverse to socialize, play games, shop and even work.
Epic Games has steadily built and acquired much of the tech needed to bring its metaverse vision to life. The firm’s Unreal Engine is vastly used across the video game industry, as well as for film, TV, architecture, and more. Epic Games also owns studios focused on lifelike human avatars, 3D item and environment scanning, online communication, and more.
Epic’s battle royale game Fortnite, for instance, taps into Epic Games’ metaverse capabilities, letting up to 100 players fight out to be the last one standing. In recent years, it’s been branching out into other forms of entertainment, hosting music concerts from top artists like Ariana Grande and Marshmello.
Developing a family-friendly metaverse
The equity offering follows the announcement by Epic Games and Lego to co-develop a family-friendly metaverse for kids. While they haven’t gone into details about this plan, the two have committed to working together to make children’s safety and well-being a priority. The duo outlined plans to safeguard children’s privacy and to equip children and adults with tools that help them gain control over their digital experiences.
Moreover, Epic Games hopes to empower children to become creators as well, ensuring that the next iteration of the internet is designed with the well-being of kids in mind. TFN mentioned Epic Games’ 2020 acquisition of SuperAwesome, an online child safety startup.
“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,” remarked Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation.
Founded by Mark Rein and Tim Sweeney in 1991 and based in Cary, Noth Carolina, Epic Games has remained a video game and software company that creates games and offers its game engine technology to other developers.
Epic Games operates a game store that empowers others to make top-notch games and 3D content, thereby availing game developers with the ability to build high-fidelity, interactive experiences for PC, console, mobile, and VR devices.
The company has been at the centre of a dispute between app developers and Apple over Apple Store’s fees.