Fortnite maker Epic Games announced on Monday it had raised $2 billion in fresh funding from Sony Group Corp and Lego Group, the maker of the popular Lego-brand toys. The new round values the “Fortnite” creator at $31.5 billion.
The announcement comes exactly a year after Epic Games raised $1 billion to support its long-term vision for the metaverse. The company’s valuation jumped by just about $3 billion from $28.7 billion to $$31.5 billion. Sony, an existing investor, and the Kirkbi investment company each invested $1 billion.
Epic will use the latest cash infusion to advance a metaverse partnership the company had entered into with the Lego Group earlier this month. “Fortnite” is already considered to be part of the metaverse, and the investment in Epic will give Sony a chance to delve deeper and capitalize on that business.
The term metaverse, short for “meta-universe,” was originally coined by Neal Stephenson in the dystopian novel “Snow Crash” three decades ago. In the book, Stephenson describes the metaverse as a three-dimensional virtual reality generated by goggles worn by the novel’s hero, Hiro.
Founded in 1991 by Mark Rein and Tim Sweeney, Epic operates Fortnite, one of the world’s largest games with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is also adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and simulation. Through Unreal Engine, Epic Games Store, and Epic Online Services, Epic provides an end-to-end digital ecosystem for developers and creators to build, distribute, and operate games and other content.
In 2017, Epic launched the free-to-play battle-royal videogame “Fortnite.” Since then it has amassed a huge following among young gamers. Epic currently has more than 160 million users on its PC store, according to its website. Last year, Epic received a $250 million investment from Sony, and it raised $1.25 billion in funding in 2018 from investors including KKR.