Epic’s plans to build a metaverse just got a huge cash injection: today the Fortnite developer announced a $2 billion round of funding, which it says will be used “to advance the company’s vision to build the metaverse and support its continued growth.”
The funds come from Sony, which has previously invested in Epic, and KIRKBI, an investment group operated by the Kirk Kristiansen family, which founded the Lego Group. Just last week, Epic and Lego announced a partnership to build a family-friendly take on the metaverse, though with little in the way of concrete detail. According to a press release, both Sony and KIRKBI invested $1 billion as part of the most recent funding round.
The nebulous metaverse concept has become a popular buzzword, and Epic has been one of the biggest proponents of the idea of a connected virtual world through platforms like Fortnite and its Unreal Engine game-making toolset. (The metaverse concept even made a cameo at last year’s Epic v. Apple trial.) Sony, meanwhile, previously made a big push into large virtual worlds when it acquired Destiny developer Bungie earlier this year.
“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,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement.
Right now, the metaverse mostly remains an idea in the mind of tech CEOs, though Fortnite remains arguably the closest thing we currently have to that vision through virtual events like concerts and a grab bag of pop culture tie-ins including everything from Marvel characters and professional athletes to, most recently, the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.