Epic Games secures $2 billion in funding, teams with Lego on kid-friendly metaverse

While a singular metaverse does not yet exist, the concept has been drawing major interest and investment from gaming, entertainment, and tech companies across the world. Thanks to Fortnite and popular game development toolset, Unreal Engine, Epic Games has played a huge role in the metaverse conversation, and the company is only getting started.

In early April, Epic announced a $2 billion round of funding from both Sony Group and KIRKBI (the holding company behind The Lego Group) to “advance the company’s vision to build the metaverse.” Additionally, in a direct partnership with Lego, the companies will look to “shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families.”

Details on what a Lego metaverse might entail are not yet clear, but Epic and Lego are jointly stressing that safety for kids is paramount. They plan to safeguard privacy, children’s wellbeing, and “empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experience.”

The idea of a kid-friendly Lego metaverse comes at a time when Roblox has faced criticism for how it handles child safety or the terms for its youngest content creators on the platform. That said, Roblox has clearly been influential as a world building title that has drawn big name participation from brands such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, NASCAR, and more – and as a business that managed to garner a nearly $42 billion valuation after going public last year.

Putting child safety first is a savvy move for Epic and Lego not just because of any skepticism about metaverse safety and privacy, but because Lego has been a cherished brand for 90 years and, much like Nintendo, would not attach its name to something that isn’t family friendly. Even in today’s digital-led world, there are very few brands that resonate with kids as well as Lego. Interpret’s GameByte® data shows that 56% of US children aged 3-12 select Lego as “a brand I love,” whereas Roblox is selected by 36% of respondents.

Beyond brand perceptions, Interpret data also reveals that the world building genre popularized by Minecraft and Roblox is a favorite among kids regardless of the platform they’re playing on. Epic’s battle royale Fortnite has helped the company reach older kids, but a Lego metaverse could help them connect with a Minecraft/Roblox audience while leveraging the enormous popularity of Lego. And, for Lego, teaming up with Epic means an opportunity to truly establish the digital building blocks of the metaverse.

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