The ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple is only just getting started, potentially leading to lots of insider information regarding how the videogame industry operates. As part of the case newly released documents discuss Epic Games’ battle royale title Fortnite and Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) decision to block PlayStation 4 crossplay functionality in 2018. As part of Epic’s plan to persuade Sony, the company suggested making a VR launch title for its next headset.
As reported by The Verge, confidential emails between Joe Kreiner, Epic’s vice president of business development, and Gio Corsi, Sony’s senior director of developer relations (at the time) highlight Epic Games’ desire to enable crossplay, something Sony wasn’t keen on doing at the time. Inside a raft of proposals, Kreiner suggested: “Epic’s willing to explore more items – maybe we commit to a game at the launch of your next VR platform?”
As we now know SIE did eventually enable crossplay support for Fortnite on PlayStation but the documents don’t elaborate on whether that idea for a VR launch title went any further. A deal was obviously reached thanks to a cross-platform revenue share scheme which Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney reportedly corroborated in his recent testimony.
It’s been a while since Epic Games was last involved in VR. In the early stages the company released tech demos like Bullet Train before eventually releasing Robo Recall for Oculus Rift in 2017 – the recent Robo Recall: Unplugged for Oculus Quest was handled by Drifter Entertainment. Since then, Epic Games has mainly supported the VR industry with updates to Unreal Engine alongside its Epic MegaGrants initiative, awarding grants to Varjo, Theia Interactive and others.
Considering PlayStation VR had only been available for a couple of years at the time of the emails, and was still going strong, Epic Games was really hedging its bets on SIE’s future plans. Especially as the first details of the unnamed PlayStation 5 VR headset have only just been released and that a launch will take place after 2021.
But it does take a few years to build the types of AAA-quality videogames Epic is known for so a project could well be in the works. In comparison to 2018, Sony and Epic Games are closer than ever, with Sony investing $250 million in Epic during 2020 followed by a further $200 million this year.
As further details of Sony’s new VR headset emerge and if Epic Games has anything to do with it, VRFocus will let you know.