Japanese technology giant Sony has today confirmed it has purchased a $252 million stake in Epic Games. This decision was made so that it could work closer with Epic Games on the development of its upcoming game engine, Unreal Engine 5.
$252 million dollars might sound like a lot of money, because it is, but Epic is a huge company. That large sum of money is only enough for a mere 1.4% stake. Current estimations place Epic Games’ valuation at a staggering $18 billion. The North Carolina based studio has come a very long way since the days of developing Gears of War for Microsoft.
What this means for Sony
Truth be told, not all that much. Owning such a small percentage of Epic Games doesn’t give Sony much power. It’s unlikely it will be able to impact any major decisions made in-house. However, it could make collaborations between the two companies a little easier since they’re working towards the same goal.
We do know that the Unreal Engine 5 was rewritten to function on the PlayStation 5. Supposedly, the PS5’s SSD is so fast that the first instance of Epic’s new game engine wasn’t optimised to support it. Since then reworks have taken place to make the most out of next-gen technology.
From a financial point of view, it’s hard to find a fault in Sony’s logic. When it comes to game studio’s worth investing in, Epic Games is probably top of that list. Fortnite alone has become a global success on a level that I doubt anyone could have foresaw.
A report from last month showed that the popular battle royale was making Epic over $300 million every month. At the rate of growth Epic has seen as of late, even if this deal doesn’t work out Sony could easily flip its shares for a nice profit. This is a win-win for everyone involved.
It’s fair to say not everyone is a fan of the Epic Store. Many gamers don’t like having their favorite titles locked behind platform exclusivity. The end result is always requiring several launchers all installed just to play the games you own.
Unfortunately, Epic Games thinks differently. For the Fortnite publisher bringing exclusive titles to its platform has been key in the success of the Epic Store. Building on that, it today announced that even more exclusives will be coming in this month’s Spring 2020 update.
Epic Store exclusives
Most notably, on March 26 PC owners of Control will only be able to get the upcoming DLC, The Foundation, if they own it on the Epic Store. Equally, PlayStation 4 players will also get the DLC early. Any unlucky Xbox One users will have to wait until June whilst a Steam version is confirmed, we don’t know exactly when. But if the Epic Store exclusivity lasts a year, a Steam release should come sometime in late August.
Otherwise, both physics simulator Totally Reliable Delivery Service and city sim Industries of Titan will follow in April. Both of these are timed exclusive upcoming indie games that will later arrive in Steam sometime in 2021. Once again, a one-year exclusivity deal seems likely.
The debate of if exclusives are okay or not has gone on ever since the Epic Store made its debut. Many gamers are irritated that a platform lacking many fundamental features is forcing players to use it. Equally, Steam has become the default PC launcher over the last fifteen years. For many, they don’t want to move away from the comfort of what they know.
The counterpoint is that competition is always good. Even if having big titles like Borderlands 3 locked away behind exclusivity isn’t ideal, there’s no doubt it creates competition. If that hadn’t happened, many players wouldn’t have even bothered installing the Epic Store. Given that, this might be a necessary sacrifice to keep PC gaming healthy.