CEO of Fortnite Epic Games Inc. Tim Sweeney was named after Mark Zuckerberg, who turned his entire company into Meta Platforms Inc. The Epic founder had a reason to get started because Fortnite quickly transformed his company from a popular multiplayer game into an online space where people socialized and famous musicians hosted virtual concerts.
It competes with world-building games like Microsoft Corp. Minecraft. and the title of the same name from Roblox Corp. in pursuit of a meta-universal vision of a virtual environment that will become the platform we will use to interact with the internet and beyond, replacing web browsers and mobile apps.
“In the coming decades, the meta-universe has the potential to become part of a trillion-dollar global economy,” the CEO said at a conference in Seoul on Tuesday. “The next three years will be decisive for all the companies fighting for the Metaverse, like Epic, Roblox, Microsoft, Facebook,” he said afterward in an interview. “It’s like a race for a billion users to see who attracts the first billion users, who should be the pioneers in setting the standard.
For Sweeney, the legal and rhetorical battle with mobile giant Apple Inc. and Google Alphabet Inc. for their closed payment apps and stores motivated at least in part by its pursuit of the metaverse and ensuring fair conditions for competing companies.
Epic CEO blows up Apple and Google and demands app stores “Metaverse is a term like an internet. No company can own it,” said the Epic boss.
Epic’s meta-universe strategy has two points: the first is to expand Fortnite from a game with 60 million active users per month to an experience that could reach one billion in the future, the CEO said. Additionally, the company plans to leverage its content creation tools, such as the Unreal 3D graphics engine, to “give all companies in the industry a real-time 3D presence”. On that front, Epic faces stiff competition from Nvidia Corp. whose CEO is also optimistic.
Even if Epic doesn’t build the ultimate metaverse, Sweeney wants to provide the building blocks with its software, using the example of a car manufacturer: With Unreal you can visualize your product in the design and manufacturing process and then generate digital ads. Fortnite added a Ferrari this July that players can drive in-game.
The organization is working to “build a broad range of digital assets that can be used for film and television as well as real-time gaming that is scalable from high-end consoles to low-end phones,” Sweeney said. And while he doesn’t believe that specialized hardware like augmented or virtual reality glasses is needed to access the Metaverse, Epic is working with all of the designers and manufacturers of those devices, he said.
Epic plans to take a similar approach to another big growth opportunity for game developers: China. The company ended its longstanding Fortnite approval effort in the country earlier this month, but will continue to make its tools and software available for other developers to use, he added.