As it prepares for the anticipated trial with Apple that will begin on May 3, Epic Games closed a multi-million dollar funding round. The video game developer company added no less than $1 billion to its finances. Thanks to this money, Epic Games’ valuation now stands at $28.7 billion.
The fact that stands out is that a significant part of the money was contributed by Sony. The Japanese multinational earmarked $200 million as part of a “strategic investment,” Epic announced.
According to the creators of Fortnite, Sony’s contribution is based on the close relationship that exists between the two companies, and “reinforces the shared mission of advancing the latest in technology, entertainment and socially connected online services.”
Sony’s new investment in Epic Games reinforces the PlayStation parent company’s interest in video game development. In July 2020, the Asian firm contributed $250 million, a deal that gave it a minority stake in the company.
The US company’s announcement was rather generic. In the first instance they indicated only that the money would serve to “support future growth opportunities”.
Later, they added a statement from Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, who stated that the money will help accelerate the development of connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys. He also referred to “empowering” developers through the Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services and Epic Games Store platforms.
In the announcement of the latest multi-million dollar funding round, Epic Games made no reference to the legal dispute with the Cupertino-based company. However, the inflow of fresh money -and in large amounts- can be read as a show of confidence or support, prior to the trial that will begin in just under three weeks.
It is worth remembering that Epic Games accused Apple of stifling competition through alleged abuse in the App Store review process. The developer also protested the 30% commission charged by Apple for in-app and App Store purchases.
Those from Cupertino claim that the percentage they charge does not differ from that of other app stores, such as the Google Play Store on Android. In addition, they defended the app review policies, as well as the prohibition of downloading apps from an alternative source. In both cases, they cited concerns around potential security threats to iOS.
The highly publicized trial between Epic Games and Apple will begin on May 3 and senior executives from both companies are expected to testify. Undoubtedly, the “face-to-face” between Tim Cook and Tim Sweeney will be one of the most compelling counterpoints between the companies.