Epic Games Inc. CEO Tim Sweeney may be the most enthusiastic supporter of the metaverse after Mark Zuckerberg, who changed the name of his entire company to Meta Platforms Inc.
The Epic founder has reason to be optimistic, as his company’s Fortnite has rapidly evolved from a popular multiplayer game to an online space where people socialize and big-name musicians host virtual concerts. It competes with world-building games like Minecraft from Microsoft Corp. and the eponymous title of Roblox in the pursuit of the meta-reverse vision of a virtual environment that would be the platform we use to interact with the Internet and others, replacing web browsers and applications. mobiles.
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“In the coming decades, the metaverse has the potential to become a multibillion dollar part of the world economy,” the chief executive said at a conference in Seoul on Tuesday. “The next three years will be critical for all companies aspiring to metaverse like Epic, Roblox, Microsoft, Facebook,” he said in a subsequent interview. “It’s kind of a race to reach a billion users, whoever attracts a billion users first would be the presumed leader in setting the standards.”
For Sweeney, the legal and rhetorical battle with mobile giants Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google over their blocked payments and app stores is motivated, at least in part, by his metaverse aspirations and ensuring there is a field. fair game for him. companies competing to create it.
“The metaverse is a term like the Internet. No company can own it, ”said the Epic boss.
Epic’s metaverse strategy is twofold: The first is to expand Fortnite from a game with 60 million monthly active users to an experience that could reach a billion in the future, the CEO said. On top of that, the company wants to capitalize on its content creation tools like Unreal Engine for 3D graphics, “allowing all companies in the industry to have a 3D presence in real time.” On that front, Epic will face stiff competition from Nvidia Corp., whose CEO is equally optimistic.
Even if Epic doesn’t build the ultimate metaverse, Sweeney wants its software tools to provide the building blocks, offering automakers as an example: they can use Unreal to visualize their products in design and manufacturing processes and then to produce ads. digital. Fortnite added a Ferrari that players can drive in-game this July.
The company is working to “build a set of digital assets that can be deployed in movies and television and in games in real time, scaling from high-end consoles to low-end smartphones,” Sweeney said. And while it doesn’t believe that specialized hardware like virtual or augmented reality glasses is necessary to access the metaverse, Epic is collaborating with all the designers and manufacturers of such devices, he said.
Epic intends to take a similar approach to the other big growth opportunity for game developers: China. The company gave up its multi-year effort to gain approval for Fortnite in the country this month, but will continue to offer its tools and software for other creators to use, he added.
© 2021 Bloomberg