Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has secured $2bn in new funding from tech giant Sony and Kirkby, the group behind the Lego franchise, as leading global games companies race to build an avatar-filled metaverse.
The investment brings the company’s post-money equity valuation to $31.5 billion. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Epic Games said that all three companies “highly value both creators and players, and aim to create new social entertainment exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds.”
Earlier this month, the gaming company announced a “long-term partnership” with The Lego Group focused on shaping the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families.
“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 Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in his 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,” Sweeney said.
In their metaverse partnership, Epic Games and The Lego Group 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 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.