Sony Goes Big On Epic Games With Whopping $1.35 Billion Investment

Sony Goes Big On Epic Games With Whopping $1.35 Billion Investment

Epic Games recently announced an epic new wave of fundraising, notable both for the $US2 ($3) billion it’s pulled in and for an eye-raising firm present among the leading partners: Sony. The makers of PlayStation VR have invested a cool $US1 ($1.35) billion in Epic to further “the development of new digital fan experiences” and the “metaverse.”

Today’s news comes fresh on the heels of Epic showing off some impressive new tech. Last week, Epic Games hosted a showcase for the release of Unreal 5, the latest iteration of its powerful 3D rendering engine, featuring a number of high-profile developers, including The Coalition (a Microsoft-owned studio best known for recent Gears games) and CD Projekt Red (who’s developing the next Witcher game in Unreal 5). As for stuff you can actually get your hands on today, Unreal 5 was used to create The Matrix Awakens, a tech demo for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S with graphics so real-looking some people were like, “Woah, I can’t tell what’s real or what’s not, man.”

This isn’t the only significant investment Sony has made in Epic. In 2020, Sony invested $US250 ($347) million in Epic for reasons that, at least publicly, could only be defined as “a bunch of business buzzwords.” A year later, Sony poured a further $US200 ($278) million in for much of the same. Today’s investment, the third to date, is more than twice the prior two — combined.

It’s not totally clear what all this money is for, whether it’s laying the groundwork for eventual PlayStation exclusivity of future games developed by Epic or, as heavily suggested by statements from the CEOs of both companies, more about beefing up Sony’s virtual reality endeavours. (Sony’s PSVR2 is coming…at some point.) Representatives for Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Epic Games, meanwhile, simply redirected Kotaku toward the press release announcing today’s news.

“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,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in the release.

“We are thrilled to invest in Epic to deepen our relationship in the metaverse field, a space where creators and users share their time,” Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president, and CEO of Sony, said in a press release. “We are also confident that Epic’s expertise, including their powerful game engine, combined with Sony’s technologies, will accelerate our various efforts such as the development of new digital fan experiences in sports and our virtual production initiatives.”

Sony has been on a bit of a spending spree lately, most notably with its $US3.6 ($5) billion acquisition of Bungie, the makers of Destiny, meant to spearhead a push into live-service games. Last year, Sony picked up Housemarque and Bluepoint, both of whom aren’t known for online multiplayer games but, instead, rather for luxuriously produced single-player PS5 games (Returnal and the Demon’s Souls remake, respectively). And in 2019, Sony paid $US229 ($318) million to bring Insomniac, the studio behind PlayStation-exclusive hits like Ratchet & Clank and Marvel’s Spider-Man, into the fold.

Comments

  • Its just Sony diversifying its portfolio so it claim benefit and influence direction in what is rapidly becoming the monopoly of engines.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see large investments in Epic come from all manners of players in the Industry just to ensure a ‘quasi’ independence.

  • It’s not un-surprising in many ways, however, it also is worrying in others. The three options: (a) building up platform-specific engine tech; (b) building platform-specific games; (c) building their own multiverse. Sony have a crap-tonne of their own quality engines, which I hope they won’t be consigning to the NOT-UE5-rubbish bin. If it’s PSVR specific, then that suggests the tech is niche enough that devs won’t invest in it without there being a UE pipeline in place. If it’s games then this is likely to be Sony further doubling down on a MP MTX strategy – but why not just do a deal with EG on a title-by-title basis. To me this is more like the investment into Discord, where it’s likely to be integrating engine tech more seemlessly (or trying to squeeze more performance out of PS5). If it’s a multiverse investment, then AAAARRRRGGGGHHH… enough with the multiverse. Hell, even Lego invested a cool 1B into Epic Games for it’s own multiverse take… and 1B isn’t enough for Sony to be honest.

    • Edit – ok… I misunderstood – it’s a SGC investment, not a SIE investment. So much more strategically focused.

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