Fortnite maker Epic Games announced its biggest-ever round of funding on Monday with a $2 billion infusion from existing investor Sony and The Lego Group parent company Kirkbi. Including the new funding, Epic now has a valuation of $31.5 billion.
This is Sony's third investment in Epic, after it pumped $450 million into the game developer over two separate investments in 2020 and 2021. It's the first for Kirkbi, right on the heels of a statement last week from Epic and The Lego Group in which the two companies said they were "entering a long-term partnership to shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families."
Neither company, however, comes close to owning as much of Epic as Tencent does,. The Chinese gaming and entertainment giant acquired 40% of the company back in 2012 for $330 million, long before Fortnite was released, and Epic's primary business was its Unreal Engine platform.
It's unclear why Epic is still seeking funding rounds, given how lucrative Fortnite has been and how much it stands to make with its recently released Unreal Engine 5, which is already become the game engine of choice for major projects under development such as the new Mass Effect from BioWare and CD Projekt Red's upcoming Witcher game. But it's clear Epic has grand ambitions around the metaverse and the opportunity game platforms have to shape what it looks like going forward. Partnering with the creator of PlayStation and the company behind Lego will certainly better enable Epic to compete with its major tech competitors, which now include Meta and Microsoft in addition to Apple and Google.
“As we reimagine the future of entertainment and play we need partners who share our vision. We have found this in our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “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.”