Sony acquires a minority stake in Epic Games

Sony will spend $250 million to acquire a minority stake in Fortnite and Unreal Engine maker Epic Games, the two companies have announced. The deal, for a reported 1.4 percent stake, values Epic at $17.86 billion.

“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,” reads a joint press release announcing the deal. “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.”

Epic Games and Sony have already been collaborating closely on next-generation video game technology. When Epic debuted its upcoming Unreal Engine 5 in May, it showed footage running on PlayStation 5 hardware, and Epic’s founder and CEO Tim Sweeney sang the praises of the PS5’s hardware architecture. Still, Sweeney also confirmed at the time that future iterations of Unreal Engine, and Fortnite, would continue to be available on multiple platforms, including Sony’s biggest hardware rival, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

While the deal will likely have a significant behind-the-scenes impact, it’s unclear for now whether it will have any direct effect on future releases or PlayStation gamers more generally. VentureBeat reports confirmation from Epic that the company will still publish games on other platforms.

Still, one possible consequence comes to mind: Sony has recently proven more open to releasing its exclusives on PC. Horizon Zero Dawn arrives later this summer on the Epic Games Store—though also on Steam. Perhaps this investment will mean Sony releases select tiles exclusively through Epic’s PC storefront.

The PlayStation 5 launches this holiday season. Unreal Engine 5 will release in full to developers in 2021.

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