As reported by Deadline, Epic Games—the video game publisher behind Fortnite and current owner of Rocket League and Fall Guys, among other things—has just raised a new $1 billion in funding, bringing its current evaluation to $28.7 billion. Disney paid $4 billion for Lucasfilm in 2012, so Epic could essentially buy Star Wars seven times and still have some money left over for the next season’s Fortnite Battle Pass. The justification for why Epic is worth that much money actually makes a fair amount of sense, at least if you put yourself in the mind of an investor with millions of dollars to throw at a tech company, with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney explaining that Fortnite is part of what he calls a “Metaverse” of inter-connected online services.
You can probably already here tech investors getting out their wallets (or at least asking their assistants to pull some gold bars out of the wall safe), but Sweeney sort of pitches Epic’s business model as creating an entirely new media space that encompasses Twitter and YouTube and TV and movies and phone calls and concerts and just hanging out with friends and video games, and it all just happens to be done through Fortnite or one of the other fine products powered by the Unreal video game engine or sold through the Epic Games Store. So, when Fortnite has some goofy concert, it’s not just supposed to be a Fortnite thing to draw attention to Fortnite, it’s supposed to be a cultural event that will—fingers-crossed!—someday be recognized as a normal thing that everyone can engage with regardless of their interest in riding the Battle Bus.
Revolutionizing all of media is kind of hard to do when another major tech company refuses to let you play ball on its court, which is surely one of the reasons why Epic is so mad at Apple for refusing to give it special treatment on its App Store rules. Either way, this all requires continuously advancing what Epic’s various platforms are capable of, which requires money, which is where these new investments come in. No self-respecting firm with way too much money (and, to be clear, everyone involved here has too much money) is going to pass up an opportunity like this. Also: They just added Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn to Fortnite! She’s cool!