Sony, Lego invest $2bn into Epic Games

Left: Sony, Right: Epic Games, tags: lego metaverse - CC

Sony and the Lego family granted the video game company behind Fortnite, Epic Games, $2 billion in funding. This highlights the excitement from big corporates about the so-called metaverse. The metaverse is generally defined as a network of expansive 3D virtual spaces where users can socialise, play, and work. Some would imagine it as a successor to the mobile internet.

There’s a lot of buzz around the metaverse lately and the hype has set the corporate world ablaze. The trend started when Facebook renamed itself Meta. Then a number of major brands, including JPMorgan, Samsung, and Nike, started experimenting with the technology. Yet, the idea of building a metaverse has long been discussed by game companies like Epic and Roblox.

Sony actually had a minority stake in Epic already. They previously invested $450 million into the Fortnite and Unreal Engine maker since July 2020. As part of the recent funding round, The Lego Group’s holding and investment company, KIRKBI, granted Epic $1 billion. The funding is aimed to accelerate the companies’ ambitions in the metaverse world. Epic will be valued at $31.5 billion after the deal.

“We’re teaming up with @LEGO_Group to build a fun place for kids to play in the metaverse!” Epic announced on Twitter.

Shaping the future

According to KIRKBI CEO Soren Thorup Sorensen, this investment will advance their “engagement in the world of digital play”. They said they were delighted to be investing in Epic to support their continuous growth journey with a long-term focus on the future 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,” Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida added. “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”.

Epic and the Lego Group previously said last week that they had joined a long-term collaboration “to shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families”.

“A proportion of our investments is focused on trends we believe will impact the future world that we and our children will live in,” said Sorensen.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney added, “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”.

Epic Games is a leading video game company, most notably for its FPS title, Fortnite. In addition to creating Unreal Engine, one of the most popular platforms for game developers, it also operates its own online store and is a direct competitor to Microsoft and Valve.

Epic has shown that they would continue looking for opportunities to grow despite having dominated the video game industry since Fortnite’s release in the summer of 2017. The funding the developer received is a perfect milestone for them to expand their reach.