TOKYO & CARY, N.C.– Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”) have just announced that Sony has agreed to make a strategic investment of $250 million to acquire a minority interest in Epic through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. Sony doesn’t just want access to the gaming world, but to virtual reality as a technology. Epic Game’s Unreal Engine, used for making top quality AAA games for PC’s and consoles alike, is key to that. The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.
Sony is doing something very smart here. The Unreal Engine, already the development platform of choice for game and VR developers around the world, has been evolving in recent years to become a tool for making real-time animation and virtual sets, the most noteworthy recent example being the creation of the virtual backgrounds in The Mandalorian.
Silent pictures gave way to talkies, black and white gave way to color, both gave way to television; music went from vinyl records to magnetic tape to CD’s to digital downloads. The companies who were paying attention made the healthy transitions into the new technologies and rode the wave, and Sony is no stranger to this. They pioneered the Walkman in the 70’s, the Compact Disc in the 80’s. With this new partnership, Sony will have a big say in how virtual reality technology is developed for the entertainment industry, and will secure a first-in-line position for Sony in terms of creating a new hybrid entertainment medium. This gives them a big loud voice in directing what virtual reality will become.
Prognosticating the future is always tricky business, but both Sony and Epic seem to have a pretty clear idea of what comes next.
“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. 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,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation.
“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike,” said Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic.
This is one of those fixed points in time The Doctor keeps talking about. It’s an important, pivotal moment in entertainment history, the moment at which everything turned in a new direction and the tides of fortune shifted. The two giants of entertainment teaming up like this will have a profound effect on the entire entertainment industry, going all the way down to the independent studios trying to find their way in this new landscape.
All that’s missing now is mid-air holographic projection. Watch this space.
About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. From game and network services to music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors and financial services – Sony’s purpose is to fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology. For more information, visit: http://www.sony.net/
About Epic Games
Founded in 1991, Epic Games (epicgames.com) is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates Fortnite, the world’s largest game with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is being adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, and manufacturing for visualization and simulation. Epic has over 2,200 employees across 35 offices worldwide with headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. Follow @EpicGames for updates.