Epic Games to be valued at $17bn, as Fortnite event shuts out millions of fans
The creator of one of the world’s most popular online games is set to be valued at $17bn (£13.4bn), as demand for its products spike during the coronavirus pandemic.
Epic Games, which developed the Fortnite gaming franchise, is raising a $750m funding round from new investors T. Rowe and Baillie Gifford, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Venture giant KKR is also said to be coming on board, bumping up the startup’s valuation from the $15bn tag it earned in 2018.
Demand for Epic Games’ products has boomed during lockdown, particularly following its acquisition of video conferencing and gaming app Houseparty a year ago.
The app was beset by issues earlier this year following rumours of security issues. Houseparty offered a $1m reward to those who could provide information on the source of the claims.
Epic Games’ time during the pandemic has not been smooth sailing, as fans complained of being shut out of a live event last night designed to launch the next season of Fortnite.
The event — known as The Device — hit capacity within one minute of going live, permitting just 12m users to play along. A further 8.4m watched a live stream of the event via Twitch and Youtube.
“We were overwhelmed by the response to The Device. At 12M players in-game, we capped participation for stability while 8.4M more watched live on Twitch + YouTube,” Epic said on the Fortnite Twitter account.
“As we push the edge of what live-events can be, we’re improving systems so more of you can experience them in-game.”
The release of Fortnite’s third season, which was delayed, is now expected to happen tomorrow. The game has approximately 350m registered users worldwide.
Epic Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.