Epic Games, arguably one of the biggest brands in gaming, has completed a monumental investment round worth a staggering $2 billion. This news came just one year after the organization celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, marking three decades as a powerhouse of the gaming industry. In a statement, the company explained that this ‘financial injection‘ would bolster the company’s efforts in building a thriving Epic Games metaverse ecosystem, and in expanding the company.
This massively valuable round of financing included the likes of Sony and KIRKBI, the parent organisation behind Lego. Since July 0f 2020, Sony has been fostering a relationship between itself and Epic Games, and to date, it has invested a total of $1.45 billion in the organisation.
There are firm beliefs within the industry that Epic Games, the creator of the Unreal Engine and Fortnite, will be a market leader where the metaverse is concerned. What could the arrival of the Epic Games metaverse mean for the industry?
Expanding the Ecosystem
For years, Epic Games has leveraged its popular battle royale platform, Fortnite, to push experiments into the metaverse. It has used this global phenomenon of a title to host in-game, digital events such as full-fledged concerts featuring real-world musical artists. These events have been dramatically successful, with gamers around the world logging in to enjoy exclusive events fully located within the realms of Fortnite.
Following this $2 billion investment round, Epic Games seeks to further the horizons of its metaverse. With the backing of the likes of Sony, Epic Games is now valued at around $31.5 billion and stands as an industry leader in terms of advancements in gaming technology. In a statement, Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony Group, said:
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.
Further to this statement, it was recently revealed that The Lego Group and Epic Games would partner to bring a safe and stable environment for families entering the metaverse. In a joint statement, it was explained that the two firms were “entering a long-term relationship to shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families.”
In February of 2022, Sony unveiled an all-new VR headset, a key component to exploring a metaverse in as much depth as possible. With Sony’s hardware abilities and the software-driven, industry-leading engine capabilities of Epic Games, truly remarkable, groundbreaking worlds could be created for adventurers of the metaverse to explore.
Is The Epic Games Metaverse Truly The Future of Gaming?
For decades, as gaming has become more popular, gamers have been seeking deeper levels of immersion. At the moment, taking into consideration technological constraints, there’s no immersion more complete than that of a living, breathing, and persistent metaverse. While we can’t say for sure what Epic Games will be creating behind closed doors, we can assume that it’s a sizeable project, given the financial backing the firm has received.
In Fortnite, Epic Games has a staggeringly popular platform, driven forward by millions of gamers. It is a tried and tested ecosystem that has proven time and again that virtual events can be just as popular as – if not more than – real-world, in-person events. With the current rise of play-to-earn titles, NFT gaming concepts, and progressive gaming technology, it’s only a matter of time before a fully virtualised, massively immersive experience emerges from a top-tier developer like Epic Games.
As it stands, a partnership between Sony and Epic Games, which would consist of all the elements needed to create this metaverse, is definitely something to watch. Personally, this writer believes that such a concept is equal parts intriguing and valuable, and if done right, it could change the course of the gaming industry.