Sony has acquired a $250 million minority stake in Epic Games, the companies announced Thursday. The deal is getting Sony to receive a 1.4 percent interest in the game development studio and publisher and raises Epic Games’ stock capitalization to $1.83 billion.
While Sony does not get a controlling interest in Fortnite‘s creator, the deal will permit for a close working relationship between the two companies.
“The investment allows Sony and Epic to aim to 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,” the press release said.
Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s President and CEO, said that the company is looking to collaborate with Epic’s “powerful technology” in graphics and game engine development.
“Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape,” he said.
One of the recent collaborations two companies have already presented in May is Unreal Engine 5 demo live-streamed on Sony’s next-generation console, PS5, which is going on sale later this year. The demo of the gameplay showcases nanite technology, a “virtualized micropolygon geometry [that] frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see,” Epic explained in a press release. The lumen technology allows artists and designers to “create more dynamic scenes” like “changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney also hinted at the creation of new possible “3D social experiences,” that they have already experimented with.
“Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike,” said Sweeney.
This April, Fortnite hosted Travis Scott‘s concert, with nearly 12.3 million concurrent players participating. With the coronavirus pandemic, many music festivals got canceled, thus, the show became a replacement of in-person experience for many players. Back in February 2019, DJ Marshmello also made a live DJ-set performance in Fortnite.
Epic’s cooperation with Sony may help it in the competition with Microsoft, as both are launching next-generation consoles this year. However, unlike many game developers, who have chosen Sony’s side, launching PS5 exclusive games, like Horizon: The Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Epic confirmed that they will be publishing games to be available on all consoles.