The deal would give Epic a pre-money valuation of $16.3 billion, with a post-money valuation (the value of the company after the deal is done) of $17 billion. Epic Games is the developer and publisher of Fortnite, which has more than 350 million users. And it is also the creator of the Unreal Engine, a toolset that’s the foundation for building many games (and increasingly, making movies and TV). Epic declined to comment.
Bloomberg said that new investors participating in this round are T. Rowe Price Group and Baillie Gifford. Existing investors KKR & Co. will also participate, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.
The deal also gives us a window into the company’s current financial picture, as the privately held Epic does not disclose its revenues or profits.
Above: This Lara Croft-like character is not a glimpse at the next Epic Games title.
Image Credit: Epic Games
In 2019, Epic Games reported $4.2 billion in revenue and $730 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA, a key measure of profitability). Revenue for 2020 is forecast to be $5 billion, with EBITDA of $1 billion.
In April alone, thanks to the pandemic, Fortnite revenue was $400 million, sources told me. Epic has said that in April, players spent 3.2 billion hours in the battle royale shooter. Fortnite also garnered a huge amount of attention for staging a virtual Travis Scott concert that drew more than 27 million people.
In 2018, Epic Games did better than it did in 2019. Revenue in 2018 was $5.6 billion. Epic used a lot of that money to invest in its Epic Games Store, expanding its staff for Fortnite and Unreal Engine, and some acquisitions.
The company has raised $1.6 billion to date, including $1.25 billion raised in 2018. Tencent bought 40% of the company in 2012 and it remains a shareholder.
At E3’s 2019 Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo announced a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and while there are many unknowns surrounding the title, there are still plenty of things players do already know about Breath of the Wild 2. Although a creepy (albeit short) trailer revealed that the game is in active development, much of the specifics of the game has been kept in the dark.
Breath of the Wild launched on the Nintendo Switch in 2017 to massive praise and success. Fans of the series applauded the game for its massive open world environment coupled with an array of interwoven game mechanics which kept players entertained for hours. Due to the non-linear fashion that the game presented, many returned to Breath of the Wild over and over again in order to hone their skills and uncover all the secrets that the Kingdom of Hyrule had to offer. With such a dedicated fan base still going strong, many hope that the upcoming sequel will be just as enjoyable, if not even better than its predecessor.
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According toIGN, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was developed because the team had too many DLC ideas they couldn’t fit into the original. The series producer Eiji Aonuma revealed that there was just too much content everyone wanted to include and, ultimately, this led to the creation of an entirely new game.
Breath of The Wild 2’s Gameplay
These hints about “too much content for DLC” have led to a lot of fan speculation surrounding what features might be included, ranging from possible co-op to a return to the classic dungeon systems previous The Legend of Zelda games had. At this time, there has been no comment made by Nintendo about the legitimacy of these claims, but given the amount of new technical and world aspects the team want to include, it’s possible some of these rumors could be true.
Given the trailer’s overall dark tones, many speculated that the Breath of the Wild sequel will have ties to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. However, Aonuma has confirmed that these speculations are false. While Breath of the Wild 2 is going to be darker in nature to its predecessor, there will be no direct relationship between it and Majora’s Mask. However, this does not discredit the blatantly creepy aspects that Breath of the Wild 2 is setting up. With the latest trailer depicting a mangled zombified corpse suddenly awaking, it’s clear that Link and Zelda will be facing something much more grisly than Calamity Ganon.
Breath of The Wild 2’s Setting
However, fans can expect to return to Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s sequel. Eiji Aonuma spoke to how he has wanted to create a direct continuation from the first game in order to explore the world further through the introduction of new gameplay mechanics and story. While its unknown exactly how much of Breath of the Wild 2 will be taking place in Hyrule, it’s clear that at least a portion of the game will be taking place in this setting. The trailer itself does depict Hyrule Castle, which further solidifies Hyrule as one of the central locations in Breath of the Wild 2.
Breath of The Wild 2’s Release Date
At this time, it’s unknown when Breath of the Wild 2 will be released. Since Nintendo did not include the sequel in their 2019 and 2020 lineup, fans may need to wait until at least 2021 before jumping back into the world of Hyrule once again. Very little can be glimpsed about the specifics surrounding what players can expect in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2beyond what Nintendo has teased out so far. However, with Hidemaro Fujibayashi returning to direct the sequel, it is likely that the team which worked on the first game in the series will be returning as well. It will be exciting to see what new mechanics the team has in store for the upcoming sequel and how they plan to reimagine Hyrule to further expand upon the story they were developing in the first Breath of the Wild game.
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About The Author
Duncan Chetrafilov is a writer, game developer, programmer, and illustrator who recently joined the Screen Rant team. With avid experience as a creator in the games industry and gamer, he is constantly up to the date on the latest industry trends and news. Having studied the history of the games industry while pursuing an Art & Technology degree at SAIC, he is well versed in short and long-form publications regarding game oriented topics.
Ren Amamiya is about to enter his second year of high school after transferring to Shujin Academy in Tokyo. A strange incident triggers the awakening of his Persona, and alongside his friends, he forms the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts” to change the hearts of corrupt adults by stealing the source of their distorted desires. Meanwhile, cases of psychotic breakdowns have been popping up one after another… Living their ordinary high school lives in Tokyo during the day, the group stalks the bustling metropolis of Tokyo as the Phantom Thieves by night.
It’s time for the curtains to rise on this grand, picaresque story!
Aniplex of America first announced that it had licensed the anime adaptation of Atlus‘ Persona 5 game on February 2018. The anime premiered in Japan in April 2018. Aniplex of America streamed the series on Crunchyroll and Hulu as it aired. Crunchyroll began streaming the 50-minute PERSONA 5 the Animation: Stars and Ours anime special in March 2019. The first anime special, PERSONA 5 the Animation: Dark Sun, aired on December 30. Crunchyroll is streaming the first special.
Microsoft(NASDAQ:MSFT) recently announced that it will permanently close all of its brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores worldwide. It will also convert its four stores in New York City, London, Sydney, and Redmond, Washington into “Experience Centers” that showcase its products instead of selling them.
The closures were reportedly planned last year, according to The Verge, but significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company already shuttered all its “Specialty Store” mall kiosks last year. In a press release, Microsoft VP David Porter noted that the tech giant’s “product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location.”
Image source: Microsoft.
Microsoft stated that it wouldn’t lay off any staff as part of the reorganization, and that it would continue paying its retail employees as they transferred to remote sales, training, and support positions. It also said it would “continue to invest in its digital storefronts” to reach over 1.2 billion people monthly in 190 markets.
Let’s see how this strategic shift will impact Microsoft, and why it has failed to replicate Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) success in brick-and-mortar retail over the past decade.
Will these closures dent Microsoft’s earnings?
Prior to the pandemic, Microsoft operated 72 stores in the U.S., seven stores in Canada, and one each in Puerto Rico, the U.K., and Australia. Microsoft doesn’t separately disclose its sales from those retail stores.
However, Microsoft expects the closures of its stores to result in a pre-tax charge of $450 million, or $0.05 per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends on June 30. Those charges will primarily include asset write-offs and impairments.
Back in April, Microsoft guided for 6% to 9% year-over-year revenue growth in the fourth quarter, but didn’t provide any earnings guidance. Analysts expect its revenue to rise 8% to $36.5 billion, but for its non-GAAP earnings to grow less than 1% to $1.38 per share.
Microsoft’s write-offs and impairments will be excluded from its non-GAAP earnings, so the store closures alone wouldn’t cause it to miss analysts’ expectations. However, they’ll still take a bite out of its GAAP earnings, which hit $1.71 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Why couldn’t Microsoft follow Apple’s lead?
Microsoft opened its first retail stores in 2009, eight years after Apple launched its first Apple Stores.
Image source: Microsoft.
The brand appeal of Apple’s products over the past decade — including the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad — turned Apple’s retail stores into major attractions in otherwise struggling malls. Apple has also consistently generated higher sales per square foot than any other American retailer in recent years.
Apple’s stores were so popular that malls granted them sweetheart deals to move in. Back in 2015, Green Street Advisors claimed that Apple paid less than 2% of its sales to malls, compared to an average cut of 15% for other typical tenants. Microsoft, whose stores lacked Apple’s brand appeal, likely couldn’t generate comparable sales or secure similar deals with malls.
Microsoft’s hardware business has improved significantly in recent years under CEO Satya Nadella, with new Surface devices and Xbox consoles attracting new buyers. However, these products were also widely available at other retailers, and Microsoft’s store-based community events arguably couldn’t solidify its stores as “hangouts” as Apple did with its Genius Bar and free classes.
The right decision, but a missed opportunity
Microsoft’s decision was the right move, since there wasn’t a reason to continue losing money on brick-and-mortar stores throughout the retail apocalypse and COVID-19 crisis when it sold all its products online.
The closures won’t meaningfully impact Microsoft’s long-term growth, but they mark a missed opportunity to follow Apple’s lead in strengthening its brand with retail hangouts. They’ll also reduce the number of places where Microsoft can showcase its new and upcoming hardware products.
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