Epic Games, best known at the moment for its blockbuster Fortnite battle royale shooter franchise, received a pair of $1 billion investments from Sony Group and KIRKBI, the parent company of The Lego Group.
The initial $1 billion investment by Lego's parent company was originally announced a few days ago. That infusion was designed to help Epic "shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families." The pair also planned to collaboratively "build an immersive, creatively inspiring and engaging digital experience for kids of all ages to enjoy together." Lego is no stranger to video games, having published numerous titles over the years, including the just-released Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
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Now, another gaming juggernaut, Sony, is joining together with the pair, adding another $1 billion to the till to help Epic expand its metaverse ambitions to include older gamers and adults, as well as the younger audiences KIRKBI hoped to entertain. Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation said he is "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."
Unlike most early metaverse participants, Sony also holds a stake in the hardware side of things, both with its existing PSVR headset and its forthcoming PlayStation VR2 headset, which will feature greatly enhanced graphics and VR experiences, when compared to its predecessor.
Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games noted that the massive 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."
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It's clear from the various executive statements that the trio plans to leverage their metaverse developments to power not only their own published titles, but those from third-party creators and developers as well.
Obviously, it's very early days for this deal, and for the metaverse as a whole. However, companies are increasingly throwing large amounts of money at attempts to stake their claims in this nascent space, despite few participants having anything even resembling fleshed-out plans just yet.
Despite how nebulous the metaverse remains, the tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars being thrown at it pretty much guarantee it will manifest itself in some form or another within the next few years. What form it eventually takes depends largely on the creativity and prognostication of companies like Sony, Epic, KIRKBI, and the many others opening their checkbooks to get in on the ground floor.
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