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Gaming Platform Wars | Sony invests in Epic Games as hedge against Microsoft’s Xbox ecosystem

Sony just invested another $200 million in Epic Games, the maker of popular games such as Fortnite and the Unreal Engine that many game developers utilize for their own games. Sony’s recent investments now put the company at a 1.4% stake in Epic Games, which is valued at $17.86 billion. What is behind these major investments in Epic Games and what is in it for Sony?

Coinciding with today’s latest investment by Sony, the company’s CEO Kenchiro Yoshida said that the company is “excited to strengthen our collaboration to bring new entertainment experiences to people around the world.” The continued investment by Sony makes Sony’s and Epic Games relationship even closer. Epic Games even chose the PS5 last year to show off Unreal Engine 5, instead of the even more powerful Xbox Series X.

The Hedge against Xbox

Microsoft delivers a complete Xbox ecosystem, not only on Consoles, but PC’s and Android via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and its xCloud feature with iOS support coming soon. This complete ecosystem is something Sony cannot currently match. Epic Games popular Game Store could be a bridge to PCs and Sony’s recent job post where it details its future plans with porting PlayStation franchises to mobile could help close the gap in time. With mobile gaming, Sony seems to be relying on local mobile games whereas Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Nvidia are relying on cloud technology to deliver console level games to mobile.

Will Epic game titles now be exclusive to PlayStation?

The current deal does not include any language that makes all future Epic titles exclusive to Sony’s gaming consoles. Epic Games will still be able to publish their games for other platforms, such as the Microsoft Store on Xbox, Windows, Apple’s iOS app store, Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store and so on, according to VentureBeat. This does not rule out however that no future Epic titles will be exclusive to PlayStation, so stay tuned.

Will there be a Fortnite Edition PS5?

Both Sony and Microsoft make a number of limited-edition consoles and the former has made a Limited-Edition Fortnite Xbox One S, so it is highly likely we will see it in the future, but Sony and Epic Games plans are much bigger than just a limited-edition console.

Sony & Epic Games

“We’ve been working super close with Sony for quite a long time on storage,” Sweeny says. “The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now. It’s going to help drive future PCs. [The PC market is going to see this thing ship and say, ‘Oh wow, SSDs are going to need to catch up with this.”

“the next-gen consoles are going to give consumers a quantum leap, and UE5 is another leap on top of that.”

Kim Libreri, Epic Chief Technology Officer

“Sony has really done an awesome job of architecting a great system,” says Sweeney. “The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now. It’s going to help drive future PCs. They’re going to see this thing ship and say, ‘Oh wow, SSDs are going to need to catch up with this.” The PS5, combined with tools like UE5, will enable “nothing but seamless, continuous worlds, and you can have this degree of fidelity going on for as many kilometers and gigabytes as you wish,” Sweeney adds.

Conclusion

Will we see a tighter relationship with Sony and Epic Games in the future? What will that look like? Let us know in the comments below.

A former industry insider and tech industry enthusiast.

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