Sony And LEGO Inject US$2 Billion Into Epic Games’ Metaverse Project

Fortnite developer Epic Games has secured US$2 billion in funding to realise its vision of the metaverse, with US$1 billion each from Japanese console and game developer Sony and KIRKBI, the holding and investment company behind LEGO.

This comes after LEGO and Epic announced a long-term partnership to build a kid-friendly metaverse last week.

This is the third time Sony has invested in Epic, with US$250 million in July 2020 followed by another US$200 million in April 2021, bringing its total so far to US$1.45 billion.

Ariana Grande virtual concert in Fortnite

“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,” Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games says.

What it doesn’t say is what exactly this nebulous metaverse is going to be. In some ways, Fortnite is already a proto-metaverse, having held virtual concerts as well as virtual art exhibitions within the game. But these discrete experiences are still a long way off from an all-encompassing virtual space that can be considered a metaverse.

KAWS virtual art exhibition in Fortnite

So far, nothing we’ve heard about the metaverse has captured our imagination. In many ways, the visions of many companies who jumped on the metaverse bandwagon are already present today – in games we play, online spaces we visit and even just by having access to the internet.

Let’s hope that all these huge investments actually bring out something truly revolutionary in the future. Even if the metaverse as a concept fails to take hold.

As it stands, Sony PlayStation does bring valuable assets to the table. With access to notable IPs, they have the PlayStation VR2 headset in the works as well. There’s only so much hardware can do without the right content. LEGO, on the other hand, is definitely looking into avenues to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation. They’ve dabbled a great deal in online to offline experiences from video games to AR tech but have yet to find the killer piece to complete the puzzle. Being able to rely on a new vertical instead of paying out costly license fees makes total sense from a cost perspective.

Read more about the investment announcement on Epic Games.