Monday, May 16, 2022

Epic and Lego team up to build a metaverse for kids

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Two of the biggest names in entertainment come together to create a virtual space for kids, through a new collaboration between Fortnite developer Epic Games and Lego. “We’re excited to come together to build a space in the metaverse that’s fun, entertaining, and built for kids and families,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement.

Details are scarce — and the concept of a metaverse remains an obscure one — but the companies say whatever they build will be designed from scratch as a family-friendly virtual space. “The Lego Group and Epic Games will combine their extensive experience to ensure that this next iteration of the Internet is designed from the ground up with the well-being of children in mind,” the companies explained in a press release.

The link makes sense. Epic has extensive experience in creating virtual worlds, primarily through the enduringly popular Fortniteas Lego increasingly focuses on video games, most recently with the launch of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga this week. Meanwhile, two of the most popular online video games — Minecraft and Roblox – offer a similar style of sandbox building to Lego bricks. Epic has also talked about creating a more kid-friendly metaverse in the past.

The new partnership joins a host of other companies’ efforts to build their own interpretation of the metaverse, which so far has everyone from pokemon go maker Niantic to the rebranded Facebook and major NFT brands.

There is no information on what this is new Fortnite-meets-Lego world might look like, when it will be available or what platforms it is expected to launch on. But the companies did announce a trio of principles they say will guide their establishment: “Protect children’s right to play by making safety and well-being a priority; protect children’s privacy by putting their best interests first; give kids and adults tools that put them in control of their digital experience.”

The news comes the same week that Epic launched the next-generation version of its Unreal Engine game creation tool.

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