Epic Games to build the metaverse with $2bn from Sony and KIRKBI
Epic Games, the US video game and software developer, has raised a $2 billion round of funding from Sony Group Corporation (Sony) and KIRKBI to build the metaverse.
Specifically, both Sony and KIRKBI, the family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group, each invested $1 billion.
“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.” said Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president and CEO, Sony Group Corporation.
“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."
The investment aligns with the ambitions of all three companies and the value they place on creators and players. All three say they 'aim to create new social entertainment by exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds'.
“Epic Games is known for building playful and creative experiences and empowering creators large and small,” said Søren Thorup Sørensen, CEO, KIRKBI.
“A proportion of our investments is focused on trends we believe will impact the future world that we and our children will live in. 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 investment is subject to standard conditions and regulatory approvals, with Epic Games having only a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by majority shareholder, CEO and founder, Tim Sweeney. Epic Game's post-money equity valuation is $31.5 billion.
“As we re-imagine the future of entertainment and play, we need partners who share our vision. We have found this in our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI,” said Sweeney.
“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.”
The news follows of Epic Games and The LEGO Group entering into a long-term partnership to build the metaverse for kids – an " immersive, creatively inspiring and engaging digital experience".
“Kids enjoy playing in digital and physical worlds and move seamlessly between the two. We believe there is huge potential for them to develop life-long skills such as creativity, collaboration and communication through digital experiences," said Niels B Christiansen, CEO of The LEGO Group.
"But we have a responsibility to make them safe, inspiring and beneficial for all. Just as we’ve protected children’s rights to safe physical play for generations, we are committed to doing the same for digital play. We look forward to working with Epic Games to shape this exciting and playful future.”
It will be designed around three principles:
Protect children’s right to play by making safety and wellbeing a priority.
Safeguard children’s privacy by putting their best interests first.
Empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experience.
“The LEGO Group has captivated the imagination of children and adults through creative play for nearly a century, and we are excited to come together to build a space in the metaverse that’s fun, entertaining, and made for kids and families,” said Sweeney.