Sony PlayStation: 1 billion invested in Epic (Fortnite), soon the takeover?

business news Sony PlayStation: 1 billion invested in Epic (Fortnite), soon the takeover?

What is certain is that in 2022 Sony decided to align the currency. After recently acquiring Bungie and Haven, the Japanese company has spent a billion to support the activities of Epic Games, the father of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine. Quite a sum, of course, but what translates to which intentions? Here is our opinion.

Sony PlayStation (Logo)

Slightly modified to use the name of a famous film: “Billion Dollar Baby”. That’s a billion dollars very large sum that Sony has just invested in Epic Games, company behind the famous Fortnite Battle Royale and the Unreal Engine. This concludes the company’s $2 billion fundraiser aimed at “building the metaverse and supporting its continued growth,” which also included $1 billion from Kirkbi (LEGO). “As a creative entertainment company, we’re excited to invest in Epic to deepen our relationship in the Metaverse space.” explain in a communicates Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony Group – the global entity, not just the one dedicated to PlayStation. “We are also confident that Epic Games’ expertise (…) will accelerate our various efforts such as the development of new digital experiences for sports fans and our virtual project initiatives.”.

“Metavers”, “digital experiences for sports fans”? Has Sony fallen on its head? Keep in mind that we’re talking about Sony in general here, not just the “interactive entertainment” division dedicated to the PlayStation brand. The Japanese company is increasingly present (probably as a result of the health crisis) in the field of interactive digital experiences, signing, for example, in early 2022 a great partnership with the famous club Manchester City. His goal: to create an online space where fans can interact with the team within a “metaverse” modeled after the Etihad football stadium.

Sony has spoken of development in the past digital concerts thanks to virtual reality as part of the “Lindbergh” project. And who knows about it? Yes, Epic Games with its now must-have music events in Fortnite (Travis Scott, Aya Nakamura, etc.). Before there is even talk of a takeover, Sony’s investment comes about first Exchange of best practices between the Japanese company and Epic Games. “As we reinvent the future of entertainment, we need partners who share our vision. We found that (…) at Sony.” comments TIm Sweeney, CEO of Epic. PlayStation’s father had already given him $250 million in 2020, then another $200 million the following year. In this way, the two companies support each other, for example with the presentation of Unreal Engine 5 on PS5 in 2020.

Right: Virtual VR concert project (Sony); Left: Travis Scott concert (Fortnite)

Sony PlayStation: 1 billion invested in Epic (Fortnite), soon the takeover?Sony PlayStation: 1 billion invested in Epic (Fortnite), soon the takeover?

Together

PlayStation will also benefit from this even more concrete agreement on a smaller scale. Not necessarily for a metaverse, a term we find little, if any, in the mouths of Sony’s video game industry. But for their approach to future multiplayer-oriented PS4 and PS5 games. An “editorial line” that we don’t necessarily associate with the company, but which is nonetheless taking shape recently, notably with the acquisition of Haven studios led by Jade Raymond. The team is working on “a systemic, scalable triple-A (…) that will entertain and captivate players for years to come,” he says PlayStation Blog. A future exclusive that looks like a real gaming service, a genre Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan recently noted the importance of interview. The man reassures: “We will continue to develop narrative single player games”.

Again, it’s not complicated to draw the parallel between Epic and this project. The true goose of the company, Fortnite has been a nearly unrivaled example of commitment and following over the past five years. Besides that, Can we see Sony acquiring Epic Games? This result seems unlikely. To date, CEO Tim Sweeney owns over 50% of the shares. As a majority, he has the last word. Then there’s China’s Tencent (40% at latest news), while Sony is still – apparently – around 2%. Tim Sweeney’s vision and leadership are very supportive. Few companies have dared to challenge the Google and Apple monopoly on their own turf, even taking the Apple brand to court. But in a world where Activision-Blizzard has been acquired by Microsoft, anything is possible.

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