Epic Games raises $2bn from Lego firm and Sony to develop metaverse

The Fortnite creator recently entered a ‘long-term partnership’ with The Lego Group to shape to future of the metaverse to make it safe for children.

Epic Games has raised $2bn to advance its vision to build the metaverse, with the Fortnite creator’s valuation rising to $31.5bn.

The investment came from tech giant Sony and Kirkbi, the family-owned company behind The Lego Group. Both companies contributed $1bn to the funding round.

Epic Games said yesterday (11 April) that all three companies “highly value both creators and players” and wish to create entertainment that explores the connection between physical and digital worlds.

Earlier this month, the game company announced a “long-term partnership” with The Lego Group focused on creating a family-friendly metaverse.

“As we reimagine the future of entertainment and play we need partners who share our vision,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said. “We have found this in our partnership with Sony and Kirkbi.

“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.

Epic Games and The Lego Group shared three principles they agree on in their metaverse partnership, which 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 concept of the metaverse has been growing in popularity since Facebook changed its name to Meta last October and bet its future on developments in AI, AR and VR.

Microsoft first revealed Mesh last year, a virtual platform to help people feel like they are in the same room as each other. Last November, the company shared its plans to integrate this technology into Teams for 2022.

Last January, Microsoft shared plans to snap up Activision Blizzard, the video game giant behind Call of Duty and Candy Crush, in a deal valued at $68.7bn. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said the acquisition will help the world’s largest software maker in the “dynamic and exciting” world of gaming, which will play “a key role in the development of metaverse platforms”.

Accenture recently shared details of its own steps into the metaverse, creating a digital location called the Nth Floor where employees from around the world can meet for presentations, socialise and participate in immersive training.

The metaverse isn’t the only market Epic Games has expanded into recently. Last month it announced the acquisition of online music store Bandcamp, along with plans to expand the store internationally and add new features.

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