Both companies announced the move on July 9, and said that the investment will bring them closer together in their shared mission to “advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially connected online services.”
In May, Epic debuted its Unreal Engine 5 graphics on a PlayStation 5, so the companies have been working together for a while. The move makes sense for Sony, which is preparing to release its next-generation console and wants to be at the forefront of entertainment and technology, something that Fortnite has been able to do remarkably well.
Sony’s newest console is in direct competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, so every deal it makes is important. However, it’s not clear if there are any specific advantages in terms of exclusivity with the agreement, and Epic will still be able to publish to other platforms.
“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations,” chairman, president, and CEO of Sony Corporation Kenichiro Yoshida said in a statement.
Yoshida also mentioned the “revolutionary entertainment experience” provided by Fortnite. The deal means that Sony is going to dig deep on collaborating with Epic and bring “value to consumers” not only in games but in the entertainment sphere as well.
Fortnite offers concerts, movies, and other entertainment options within the game, and companies are noticing the popularity of these events. A recent virtual Travis Scott concert attracted more than 27 million people. Sony also recently announced that it was going to build a team dedicated to using Fortnite to create immersive media.
“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music,” Epic CEO and founder Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike.”
Epic Games is a privately held company and doesn’t disclose financials, but VentureBeat reported that in 2019 the company saw $4.2 billion in revenue and $730 million in earnings before taxes and other expenses.