By Anna Gross
Translation: Stefanie Konrad
Epic Games now also wants to create a game metaverse. fortniteThe developer was able to get two billion dollars from Sony and the group behind Lego. Global game developers are currently in a race to create a metaverse populated by avatars. Can you stand up to Microsoft?
The North Carolina-based games giant announced on Monday that it had secured $1 billion each from Japanese console and game developer Sony and Kirkbi, the investment firm behind the Lego Group.
The deal values Epic at $31.5 billion. Upon closing of the agreement, Kirkbi will hold a 3% stake in the company and Sony will hold a 4.9% stake.
Lego and Epic announced last week that they had entered into a “long-term partnership”. They want to create a metaverse specifically for children. They had barely commented on the details of the financing of the project.
“This investment will allow us to accelerate our Metaverse plans. And we can create places where gamers can have fun with friends, brands can create creative and immersive experiences, and developers can create community and thrive,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games.
Epic made the move after Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Activision Blizzard for $75 billion. CEO Satya Nadella said the deal gives Microsoft a foothold in the Metaverse — a much-hyped but still vague term. Either way, tech and gaming visionaries say it will transform the way people socialize, work – and spend money – for decades to come.
The announcement really shook up the industry. Microsoft is in an uphill battle with Sony for console gaming dominance, and there’s been a wave of consolidation among game companies.
The PlayStation developer had already given Epic Games $250 million in July 2020 and another $200 million in April 2021. That brings the total to $1.45 billion.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said, “We also believe that Epic’s know-how, including the powerful game engine, as well as Sony’s technologies, will advance our various projects, such as the development of new digital experiences for fans in sports and our virtual production initiatives.”
Epic Games has its most popular game, fortnite, has already created a successful virtual world. The underlying “Unreal Engine” software is a prototype of the technology that can be used to create a virtual world in which thousands of people can move around as 3D avatars in different digital spaces. However, there is still a long way to go before these virtual worlds have low enough latency to be attractive enough to replace real-world interaction.
Sweeney is a software developer himself and still does a lot of programming himself. He was previously convinced that the Metaverse represented a “multi-trillion dollar” opportunity, with the next few years for companies such as Microsoft, Epic, Meta and US competitor Roblox. will be crucial in securing the first billion users.
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