CARY, N.C.—Epic Games announced a $2 billion round of funding, with existing investor Sony Group Corporation as well as KIRKBI, the family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group, each investing $1 billion.
The new funding will help Epic Games expand its work on building the metaverse and position the company for further growth by creating new social entertainment exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds, the companies said.
Epic continues to have only a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by its CEO and founder, Tim Sweeney.
“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,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder, Epic Games in announcing the funding. “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.”
“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.
Yoshida also highlighted Epic Games' work in virtual production: “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.”
Last week Epic Games’ Unreal Engine announced that its Unreal Engine 5 was now available to download. “With this release, we aim to empower both large and small teams to really push the boundaries of what’s possible, visually and interactively,” the company said. “UE5 will enable you to realize next-generation real-time 3D content and experiences with greater freedom, fidelity, and flexibility than ever before.”
Some in the production industry had called Unreal Engine 5 a game changer prior to its release.
In an interview last fall with TV Tech, Greig Fraser (opens in new tab), who won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for his work on the Disney+ original and recently won an Oscar for his work on “Dune.” said: “When we did ‘The Mandalorian,’ we used off-the-shelf technologies like the Unreal game engine that were created for games, not TV production. Now you have technologies that are purpose-built for virtual production with many more capabilities. We’re still in the early days but the [upcoming] release of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 will be a game changer.”
Epic's post-money equity valuation is $31.5 billion. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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