Epic Games, creator of the popular video game Fortnite and the mobile app Houseparty, said Thursday it had received a $250 million (¥27 billion) investment from Sony Corp for a minority stake in the company.
Sony, maker of the PlayStation, didn’t disclose the price it paid for stock in the privately held company. Last month, it was reported that Epic was close to raising a $750 million round of funding, from investors including T. Rowe Price Group Inc and Baillie Gifford, at a valuation of about $17 billion.
Epic, which also develops the game engine Unreal, received $1.25 billion in funding in 2018 from investors including KKR & Co Inc.
Fortnite has been an influential force in games and culture over recent years. The game had more than 350 million players as of April, benefiting from the influx of people spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantine has also been a boon for Houseparty, which allows people to chat over video and play games with their friends. Some 50 million users signed up to use the app in March and April.
Sony is preparing for the introduction later this year of the PlayStation 5, the first major game console release for the company since 2013, with titles including Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V.
Sony has worked with Epic on a new version of the startup’s game development tools, Unreal Engine 5, tailored to PlayStation 5 hardware. The companies demonstrated the technology in May.
Epic is primarily focused on games, but Tim Sweeney, the chief executive officer, said in a statement Thursday that he shares a vision with Sony of a “convergence of gaming, film and music.”
Founded in 1991, the Cary, North Carolina-based company is focusing on interactive entertainment and 3D engine technologies. Epic’s Unreal Engine is being adopted across industries including film and television, architecture, automotive and manufacturing for visualization and simulation. Epic has over 2,200 employees across 35 offices worldwide.