While these days it is better known for the cross-platform gaming sensation Fortnite, Epic Games also makes Unreal Engine, one of the top development environments for 3D content and, in turn, augmented reality and virtual reality experiences.
As a result, the company has managed to close a staggering $1.25 billion funding round, with KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners participating.
"Epic Games has fundamentally changed the model for interactive entertainment under the company's visionary leadership," said Ted Oberwager, director of private equity at KKR, in a statement. "Alongside a special group of investors, we are thrilled to support Epic's dedicated employees and the passionate community of players and developers that lies at the heart of everything that Epic Games does."
Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney remains the majority shareholder, with previous investors Tencent, Disney, and Endeavor, along with the latest investors, making up the minority shareholders. With the investment, Epic Games has established strategic relationships with investors with influence in technology and entertainment, particularly professional sports, esports, and live events, areas in which Unreal Engine and Unreal Studio are used to create 3D content and apps.
"We're excited to partner with the finest minds in the financial, sports, and entertainment communities," said Sweeney. "This reinforces Epic's position of leadership in real-time 3D technology, and accelerates our ability to improve the way people play, work, and interact with the world."
While most AR developers choose Unity, Unreal Engine claims it had 6.3 million users as of July 2018, with support for ARKit, ARCore, and Magic Leap giving developers a wide range of platforms to deploy AR experiences.
Among the experiences produced with Unreal Engine or Unreal Studio are AR-enhanced presentations from The Weather Channel as well as Magic Leap content from Framestore, Star Wars: Project Porg from ILMxLAB, and Pest Control from Peter Jackson's Wingnut AR.
And sure, all those in-app purchases from Fortnite makes Epic Games an attractive investment, but an early foothold in all those future AR games represents some healthy growth potential as well.
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