Epic Games, the company known for its hit battle royale title Fortnite and the Unreal Engine game engine, has managed to attract a stunning $1 billion in its quest to establish a metaverse of linked games and services.

The new funding round, which was announced early last week, includes an additional $200 million strategic investment from Sony Group Corporation. This comes nearly a year after Sony initially invested $250 million in Epic in a pursuit to establish “real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music,” Epic Game’s CEO & founder Tim Sweeney said in July.

The investment is said to “accelerate our work around building connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys, while empowering game developers and creators with Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services and the Epic Games Store,” Sweeney says.

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Other investment partners include Appaloosa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, GIC, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Park West, KKR, AllianceBernstein, Altimeter, Franklin Templeton and Luxor Capital.

Epic’s massively popular title, Fortnite, has essentially transitioned from game to ‘social experience’ throughout the years with the addition of non-gaming content such as virtual concerts and film debuts. Linking those top Unreal Engine-driven games together into an overarching metaverse could spell even greater success for both companies, as they drive greater engagement—and inevitably also greater microtransaction sales.

The bulk of Epic’s success has undoubtedly been in flatscreen gaming, so it’s unlikely we’ll see a VR-specific metaverse from the company in the near term. Still, Unreal Engine is the second most popular game engine for building VR content, and has powered PSVR games such as FarpointMoss, Firewall: Zero Hour, and many more. Creating an early metaverse of flatscreen games, and more importantly building out the underlying architecture within Unreal Engine itself, could be a big step in creating a large-scale, VR metaverse as the companies inevitably push the confines of it to include immersive headsets.

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  • dk

    whaaaat

    • kontis

      Metaverse is one of the favorite topics of Tim Sweeny for a very long time (if not decades)

      It’s the main reason they sued Apple. Walled gardens ToS restrictions make metaverse technically impossible, because only web browser is open enough to do that but it can’t render 3D graphics efficiently and in a convenient way with low friction experience.

      We are lucky WWW got so popular in the 90s or iOS would never had an unrestricted web browser. We would only have “websites” curated by Apple if it was invented in the last decade.

      But kids don’t get it and they think Epic just wanted more money from Fortnite. Fortnite is child’s play compared to metaverse. 1000x bigger profits.

      • dk

        yeah I didn’t know they were that interested in it ….also at first I though it is ar/vr related I can’t help it when I hear metaverse …but apparently not for now …..”
        The bulk of Epic’s success has undoubtedly been in flatscreen gaming, so
        it’s unlikely we’ll see a VR-specific metaverse from the company in the
        near term”

      • Adrian Meredith

        no the main reason for suing apple is tim wants more money. Apparently squeezing billions of dollars out of children isn’t enough, he wants all of the money without giving the people who make the devices any of it

        • xyzs

          Thanksfully not everyone has your IQ.

  • Lhorkan

    Impressive! Too bad Epic has really been dropping the ball on VR lately. All of its newest big features in Unreal (the new particle system Niagara, the hair used for the MetaHumans, the water system, the volumetric clouds) are either only working without instanced stereo, and most not at all in VR. There’s basically not been any love for VR from Epic after the release of Robo Recall.

  • Ad

    You should really mention Core, their attempt at making a YouTube for games, which seems pretty essential to the metaverse play.

  • Jesusaves

    Epic gives free big deal real AAA games away bimonthly.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    So, I just wasted a few minutes reading this, which has absolutely nothing to do with VR at the present time.

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  • I presume Unity is the most popular game engine for building VR content then?

  • Adrian Meredith

    Everything they are talking about here makes no sense out of VR. e.g. trying out a new car, being immersed in new worlds etc. Its not a metaverse if its pancake just an mmo

  • david vincent

    A metaverse made with UE, I dunno, UE has not been very good for VR du to aliasing issues. Or maybe it has been fixed since then ?

    • Lhorkan

      That depends on the developer, not on Unreal. Epic specifically made a forward renderer to get MSAA in VR for Robo Recall. Their main rendering path is deferred with TAA, so as a developer, you have the choice. If there’s a game you find blurry because of TAA, that was the developer’s decision to go against the recommendation of using forward and MSAA in VR, rather than being an issue with Unreal.

      • JB1968

        It’s interesting that majority of VR games I played have chosen the ugly aliased deferred renderer. I wonder why? Maybe the other one was not yet available?

        • Lhorkan

          Not likely, it has been available since 2017. It’s probably because with deferred you get more graphics features, such as the ability to have tons of dynamic light sources, and more post processing effects.

          • JB1968

            Ah, yes, that may be the reason. I just remembered some of the Unreal VR devs actually told me about the lighting advantages and also that it was not easy to just switch to the forward rendereing pipeline later when they realized the image is not looking so smooth.

      • david vincent

        Thanks for the clarification.

  • Cdaked

    Epic connecting social experiences with Fall Guys? Strange, it’s a Unity 3D game.

  • xXx

    HOW IT IS RELATED TO VR?!!!!
    Lost of my time….