Sony and the company that controls Lego have both invested $1 billion in Epic Games, the Fortnite maker announced on Monday. The news comes four days after Epic and Lego said they were teaming up to build a family-friendly metaverse.
Kirkbi, which is the holding company that owns The Lego Group, is putting the money into Epic, so this is not a direct funding of that metaverse project. Sony’s investment triples its stake in Epic Games, on top of the $250 million it put into Epic in 2020 and the $200 million it added a year later.
“We are also confident that Epic’s expertise, including their powerful game engine, combined with Sony’s technologies, will accelerate our various efforts,” Kenichiro Yoshido, Sony’s chief executive, said in a statement provided by Epic. Epic Games launched Unreal Engine 5 one week ago.
For their part, Kirkbi’s chief executive Søren Thorup Sørensen noted “a proportion of our investments is focused on trends we believe will impact the future world that we and our children will live in.” The $1 billion stake aligns with that mission, Sørensen said.
The investment and the executives’ statements all align with Epic’s broader strategy of defining and administering the “metaverse,” a concept that Facebook, Microsoft, and others have latched onto over the past four years. Epic’s “metaverse” has largely taken place within Fortnite, where third-party marketers have regularly collaborated on themed skins and other virtual items, or staged virtual events like trailer premieres or concerts.
Epic chief executive and founder Tim Sweeney said in the same statement that “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.”
Monday’s statement said Epic Games is now valued at $31.5 billion, up another $3 billion from last year’s buy-ins. The company noted that Epic, whose stock is privately held, remains controlled by Sweeney.