Epic Games is the developer of one of the world’s largest gaming cultural phenomenon’s, Fortnite, and also develops Unreal Engine, the most advanced real-time 3D creation tool that powers Fortnite and has been widely embraced by industries beyond gaming! Watch this space as we explain why they have EPIC influence…
Firstly, they developed ‘Unreal Engine’, one of the most widely used AAA game engines. Developers across the world use it to create games for various platforms. It has been free for enthusiasts and creators to learn and the engine first appeared all the way back in 1998 showcased on a game called Unreal. It’s now in it’s 5th edition and has evolved WAY beyond games. It features a complete suite of creation tools for game development, AR & VR, architectural, automotive, movie and video content creation, live events & broadcast production and real-time simulations.
For example, if you’ve watched Mandalorian on Disney+, all the environments were virtually created and filmed using an XR stage and Unreal Engine where actors stood in front of giant digital screens rather than a green screen. Don’t underestimate the potential of this new technology adoption – it is redefining the industry, enabling photo-realistic sets away from physical locations.
You may have also heard about the lawsuit Epic brought against Apple & Google to challenge their app store monopolies. Epic has been very vocal in wanting more payment options made available to it’s players & developers it supports. Apple and its walled garden may have prevailed during the trial. But it has shone a light on what many see as anti-competitive behaviour and the closed software eco-systems that impact consumer choice.
Last but not least, they are the developer of sandbox game, Fortnite, the cultural phenomenon with over 250 million registered players. It has evolved into a unique social platform in it’s own right. A trend that has been growing across the game industry with connected communities creating, entertaining, socialising together as a sort of prototype for the metaverse!
THE SOCIAL PLATFORM OF THE FUTURE
Fortnite has become an exciting living world that has hosted some of the biggest musical events with collaborations and curated content its vast fan audience love so much. The Travis Scott concert for example held in the Fortnite had 27 million unique visitors in game, plus millions more watching on Twitch and YouTube!
SO WHY ARE THEY SO RELEVANT TO THE FUTURE AND WHY IS IT RELEVANT TO CONSUMER BRANDS?
Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney, who founded the company has been focused on creating a Fortnite metaverse for quite some time now. Quoted as saying “We see that as ‘Fortnite’ evolves, it’s evolving beyond being a game.”
Epic’s ultimate goal is a single metaverse, where fans can fulfill all their pop-culture needs. The battle royale game is already evolving into a free social platform that can house everything from music events, brand experiences, theatre, movies and interactive TV shows.
They have championed cross-play so friends on mobile, Xbox, PlayStation and PC can for the first time experience the same events in real-time which has now been widely adopted by other games.
Epic leads the way in collaborations that range from live events, single-player missions, and environmental storytelling with a regular calendar of events. Ultimately, Fortnite has grown around it’s gamers…It’s creator tools have also advanced to a stage where players can now monetize and build their own experience to share.
Fortnite’s creative editing mode is fast becoming brands’ first steps into gaming with the likes of Timberland and Wendy’s Burgers building destinations for their brand to engage consumers in a fun, entertaining way. Carrefour released a Healthy Map, a virtual recreation of a Carrefour store where players regain health points by eating healthy foods.
Designer fashion brands like Balenciaga is offering wearables so players can express their unique style with their character in game.
WWP, the world’s largest advertising company has already identified this vast potential. They have partnered with Epic games to provide training to it’s designers and creatives. Helping WPP agencies deliver digital experiences for client brands in the metaverse – enabling brands to better leverage the purchasing power of online communities.
AN EPIC METAVERSE STRATEGY
As we know, the metaverse is a vision of the future. A more immersive internet, in which users interact in 3D spaces using avatars. A place where people will shop, socialize, play games, and work.
“The metaverse is a term like the internet,” says Tim Sweeney, “No company can own it.”
In April, Epic received $2 billion of investment from Sony and Lego each Investing $1B each as they described “To build the Future of Digital Entertainment and advance the company’s vision to build the metaverse, and support its continued growth.”
“The next three years are going to be critical for all of the metaverse-aspiring companies like Epic, Roblox, Microsoft, Facebook [now Meta]. It’s kind of a race to get to a billion users. Whoever brings on a billion users first, would be the presumed leader in setting the standards.” Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney
CREATING AN OPEN METAVERSE FOR ALL
Epic games, along with some of biggest technology companies in the world, have formed an organisation called The Metaverse Standards Forum. To develop interoperability standards which will be required to create the promise of an open metaverse. The companies involved include Meta, Microsoft, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Epic Games, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Huawei, Unity, and Adobe. One big tech name absent from the list is Apple, which appears to be making its own plans.
SuperAwesome is another initiative developed by Epic. Adopted by both brands and content owners to provides the tools for safe digital engagement for half a billion kids every month. Focused on building a safer internet, aimed at the digital native ‘Alpha generation’, services range from parental consent, moderation, and advertising.
So, ultimately Epic games are ahead of the game. They truly understand what it takes to engage visitors/ players and immerse them in digital worlds that make you want to stick around to experience. PLUS they can provide the tools, marketplaces and moderation needed to help developers, creators, brands, and fans deliver this vision.