Sony has invested US $1 billion (AU $1.3 billion) in Epic Games in a new round of funding designed to boost the company’s ambitions in the metaverse space. It follows a similar investment from KIRKBI, the investment company behind The LEGO Group, which is also backing Epic’s new ‘social entertainment’ push.
‘As a creative entertainment company, 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 Group Corporation 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.’
It appears Sony is looking to double down in the modern metaverse, despite the failures of its past. The Sony-developed PlayStation Home was one of the first major forays into social entertainment in the gaming space, but the popularity of the service eventually waned as the novelty wore off, and its limitations became clear.
Years on from its glory days, PlayStation Home is now considered a major failure. That Sony is willing to give the metaverse another crack is testament to the recent investor buzz around online social spaces, but many challenges still stand in the way of success.
Global circumstances may have changed since PlayStation Home launched – given many people have spent two years at home, using the digital world to connect – but with daily users now dropping for already-established metaverses, it remains to be seen whether these new iterations will actually thrive.
It’s likely Epic Games will share more about its plans for a ‘kid-friendly’ metaverse as it continues to accelerate its work to develop online spaces ‘where players can have fun with friends, brands can build creative and immersive experiences and creators can build a community and thrive’.