Sony and Epic announced the $250 million investment in a press release. Though it won't give Sony a controlling interest in the company, it does indicate a desire for even closer cooperation between the two companies in the future. The press release specifically mentions a shared goal "to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services".
"Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations," Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida explained in a statement. "There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite."
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney added that both companies "share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences" that converge gaming, film, and music. That sounds like a pretty direct reference to Fortnite hosting a Travis Scott performance and a bunch of Christopher Nolan movies, on top of other efforts.
Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad compared the deal to when 40% of Epic was purchased by Tencent. While Sony spent nearly as much money on its investment as Tencent did in 2011, Epic's market value has increased exponentially since 2011.
Just to put this into perspective. When Tencent invested $330m in Epic Games back in 2012, that got them a 40% stake with Epic valued at ~$825m. Sony's $250m investment today gives them a ~1.5% stake with Epic valued at ~$17bn. https://t.co/LR2Q3SqxAIJuly 9, 2020
You shouldn't expect this deal to mean that suddenly every Unreal Engine 5 game headed to Xbox Series X will be cancelled. However, you should expect Sony and Epic Games to start working together even more closely to expand their hold on the entertainment industry in the years ahead.
Take another look into the future with our guide to upcoming PS5 games.