American video games and software developer Epic Games is partnering with the Lego Group to build a metaverse virtual world for kids.
Epic Games Inc was valued at $42 billion late 2021 according to The Australian Financial Review. They developed the Unreal engine, and some of the most successful video gaming titles of all time including Fortnite and Gears of War.
Denmark based Lego is reportedly the largest toy company in Europe and the world per Yahoo data on its revenue increasing to 23 billion DKK ($3.4 billion).
Epic Games Metaverse Announcement
The news was announced this week on Epicgames.com:
As the metaverse evolves, it is reshaping how people meet, play, work, learn and interact in a virtual, 3D world. The LEGO Group and Epic Games will combine their extensive experience to ensure that this next iteration of the internet is designed from the outset with the wellbeing of kids in mind. We’re entering a long-term partnership to shape the future of the metaverse.
Epic Games has expertise in building creative tools and immersive worlds that are open and accessible to all players and developers. It is at the forefront of popular culture, creating experiences that connect people through gaming, music and creative collaboration. Epic is also committed to enabling developers to create age-appropriate experiences online and in 2020 acquired SuperAwesome, a company that has pioneered technology designed to deliver safe digital engagement to children under 16.
For 90 years the Lego Group has inspired generations of children through play with the endless creative possibilities of the LEGO brick, the core of its business. The company is a leader in defining safe digital play experiences for children including the development of an industry-standard Digital Child Safety Policy with UNICEF and the 2016 launch of the first fully live moderated social app for children.
A launch date or first look at the artwork aren’t available yet. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and Lego CEO Niels Christiansen stated the focus would be on making it ‘fun, entertaining, exciting and playful.‘
New investment opportunities will arise if either company releases NFTs to be used within that metaverse, or any kind of governance token similar to Yuga Lab’s ApeCoin which powers their Bored Ape Yacht Club metaverse.
Is a Metaverse for Kids Appropriate?
Some parents are concerned however given the recent political climate surrounding what teachers and educators are teaching children in US schools, and the scandals facing Disney. Stocks in Disney and companies like Netflix have been dropping in recent weeks over child abuse arrests and ‘wokeness’.
The Epic Games announcement does have some politically correct coded language such as ‘a safe and positive space‘ and ends with ‘empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experience.‘
That seems to imply adults would be able to access the same virtual universe. It remains to be seen what safeguards will be put in place to protect against predators when the Lego – Epic Games Metaverse is launched.
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