Fortnite creator Epic Games buys developer of Fall Guys, a title that defined the pandemic gaming boom


Gameplay from Mediatonic’s hit battle royale game Fall Guys.

Mediatonic

LONDON — Fortnite developer Epic Games has agreed to acquired Tonic Games Group, the British firm behind the smash hit video game Fall Guys.

Fall Guys became an instant hit when it launched last summer, attracting millions of players within a month of its release. The game sees up to 60 people play as jelly beans which compete to make it through a series of candy-colored obstacle courses to win crowns, in-game currency which players then use to buy cosmetic items.

It was helped in large part by a wave of demand for video games during the coronavirus pandemic. The deal with Epic comes amid a slew of acquisitions in the gaming industry. Last year, Microsoft agreed to buy iconic games group Bethesda for $7.5 billion, while EA recently closed its $1.2 billion takeover of British racing games maker Codemasters.

“It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse and Tonic Games shares this goal,” said Tim Sweeney, Epic’s founder and CEO in a statement. “As Epic works to build this virtual future, we need great creative talent who know how to build powerful games, content and experiences.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fortnite and Fall Guys are similar in the sense that both fall within the popular battle royale genre, which was itself made popular to begin with by the massive success of Fortnite. Since its 2017 release, Fortnite has amassed more than 350 million players. That’s attracted the attention of notable investors like Sony, which invested $250 million into Epic last year. The firm was last valued at $17.3 billion.

At the same time, Epic has been locked in a tense legal fight with Apple over the iPhone maker’s app store policies. Epic last year published a version of Fortnite to the Apple App Store that included a method for users to make in-app purchases without giving Apple its usual 30% cut. Apple subsequently delisted the Fortnite app and Epic sued Apple later in the day.



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