Japanese giant Sony and Lego’s Danish parent firm announced Monday a $2 billion investment in US gaming powerhouse Epic Games for its work toward joining the metaverse vision for the internet’s future.
Scores of tech firms have been rushing to invest in building the metaverse, a loose term covering the growing eco-system of interactive online worlds, games and 3D meeting places that are already attracting millions of users.
In the form of video games like Epic’s hit Fortnite, the precursors of the metaverse already exist in a minimalist way, with people coming together not only to play, but also to interact and participate in events.
The $2 billion (1.84 billion euros) in funding is aimed at advancing Epic’s “vision to build the metaverse and support its continued growth,” the three firms said in a joint statement.
Sony, already a shareholder in Epic Games, and Kirkbi, Lego’s parent firm, are each investing $1 billion, the firms said.
“All three companies highly value both creators and players, and aim to create new social entertainment exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds,” they added.
The investment brings Epic Games’ valuation to $31.5 billion, the US game studio said.
With 350 million users worldwide, its Fortnite game is free to download, but generates billions in revenue with the purchase by players of additional items for their characters, including clothing.
The game has quickly become a global phenomenon, to the point that some games are now followed live by millions of viewers.