Sony has invested $250 million USD (about $340 million CAD) into Fortnite developer Epic Games.
Through this move, the Japanese gaming giant has acquired a minority stake in Epic.
It’s important to note that because this is a minority share in Epic, Sony isn’t being granted control over the company. To that end, Epic will still be able to publish games like Fortnite on platforms outside of the PlayStation ecosystem, such as Xbox and Nintendo.
Instead, Sony and Epic say this investment will help “broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.”
Besides continued support for Fortnite on PlayStation 4, Epic Games has also been working with Sony on next-gen technology. In May, Epic partnered with Sony to reveal its Unreal Engine 5 via a tech demo running on a PlayStation 5. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has since sung the praises of the PS5, stating that the console is even “going to help drive future PCs.”
Interestingly, Sweeney also said in the investment press release that Sony and Epic “share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music.” While he didn’t elaborate, this might suggest that the companies have plans for more of the unique programming that Epic has offered in Fortnite before.
For example, Fortnite has hosted special in-game concerts with the likes of Diplo, Travis Scott and Weezer. In the film space, Epic teamed up with Disney in December to run a special Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker experience in Fortnite that let players get an exclusive sneak peek at the movie alongside a virtual version of director J.J. Abrams. More recently, Epic also partnered with Warner Bros. to stream three of Christopher Nolan’s films for free within Fortnite.
These types of cross-media entertainment in Fortnite are rather new to the gaming industry. It’s easy to see, then, how Sony, — a company with major film and music divisions — might be able to help Epic continue to grow Fortnite‘s various entertainment initiatives.
After Sony and Epic announced the investment, industry analyst Daniel Ahmad took to Twitter to provide some noteworthy context behind the deal. Back in 2012, Chinese holding company Tencent spent $330 million USD to acquire a 40 percent stake in the company. At the time, Epic was valued at around $825 million.
Just to put this into perspective.
When Tencent invested $330m in Epic Games back in 2012, that got them a 40% stake with Epic valued at ~$825m.
Sony's $250m investment today gives them a ~1.5% stake with Epic valued at ~$17bn. https://t.co/LR2Q3SqxAI
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 9, 2020
Now, however, Sony’s investment of $250 million USD only nets them approximate 1.5 percent of the company, given its current valuation of around $17 billion USD (about $23.1 billion CAD).
Source: Sony, Epic Games