Epic Games raises $2bn from Lego and Sony to develop metaverse vision

12 Apr 2022

Image: © nikkimeel/Stock.adobe.com

The Fortnite creator recently entered a long-term partnership with The Lego Group to shape the future of a family-friendly metaverse.

Epic Games has raised $2bn to advance its vision of the metaverse, with the Fortnite creator’s valuation rising to $31.5bn.

The investment came from tech giant Sony and Kirkbi, the family-owned company behind The Lego Group. Both companies contributed $1bn in funding.

Epic Games said yesterday (11 April) that all three companies “highly value both creators and players” and wish to create entertainment that explores the connection between physical and digital worlds.

Earlier this month, the gaming company announced a “long-term partnership” with The Lego Group focused on creating a “family-friendly” metaverse.

“As we reimagine the future of entertainment and play, we need partners who share our vision,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said. “We have found this in our partnership with Sony and Kirkbi.

“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,” Sweeney said.

In their metaverse partnership, Epic Games and The Lego Group said they would focus on the safety and privacy of children in digital spaces and giving users the tools to control their digital experience.

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

“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.”

The concept of the metaverse has been growing in popularity, with Facebook changing its name to Meta last October and betting its future on developments in AI, AR and VR.

Microsoft revealed Mesh last year, a virtual platform to help people feel like they are in the same room as each other, and said it would integrate this metaverse technology into Teams for 2022.

In January, Microsoft shared plans to snap up Activision Blizzard, the video game giant behind Call of Duty and Candy Crush, in a deal valued at $68.7bn. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said the acquisition would help the world’s largest software maker in the “dynamic and exciting” world of gaming, which will play “a key role in the development of metaverse platforms”.

The metaverse isn’t the only market Epic Games has its eye on. Last month, it announced the acquisition of online music store Bandcamp, along with plans to expand the store internationally and add new features.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic