Sony Music’s secret video game project keeps building, following parent’s $250m investment in Fortnite maker Epic

Credit: Jennie Book / Shutterstock

Last week MBW broke the news that Sony Music Group‘s parent, Sony Corporation, had made a strategic investment of $250 million in Epic Games – the creator of hit video game Fortnite and Unreal Engine.

You might remember, that a number of months prior to Sony’s investment in Epic, the two companies’ already-close relationship resulted in a record-breaking virtual concert in Fortnite by (Sony label) Epic Records-signed Travis Scott, which was watched by around 28m fans.

Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation, pledged in Sony’s press release last week that “through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape”.

Yoshida’s promise ties in with his company’s long-floated vision of “One Sony”, a roadmap for how Sony Music Group-signed music artists/songwriters could benefit from a unique connection to Sony Corp’s other divisions such as Sony Pictures (movies and TV) and Sony Game & Network Services (including PlayStation).

Back in May, MBW suggested that 2020 could become a pivotal year for “One Sony”, as we revealed that Sony Music was hiring for an in-house team “dedicated to reimagining music through immersive media”, with a specialism in working with Unreal Engine – the Epic Games-developed platform that powers a host of blockbuster video games (including Fortnite).

Now, we learn that Sony Music is doubling down on its investment in that very same team.

According to a fresh pair of job descriptions spotted by MBW, Sony Music is planning to “bring to life a new era of immersive entertainment centered around music for an unannounced project”.

The vacancies were posted by Sony last week.

The Los Angeles-based roles are for a Senior Game Services Engineer and Senior Game Networking Engineer, and while the respective job descriptions don’t spell out exactly what the unannounced project will be, they do provide us with a few clues:

  • Applicants for the Senior Game Services Engineer role require 6-8 years’ experience in developing online game services for large scale, commercial multiplayer games – and, specifically, require experience working with the PlayStation platform;
  • By “Leveraging Sony Music’s vast catalog and roster of artists,” adds the job description,” the successful candidate “will lead the development of online game services and tools ranging from matchmaking to lobby systems and monetization systems to analytics; challenging oneself to bring to life a new era of immersive entertainment centered around music for an unannounced project”;
  • The Senior Game Networking Engineer, meanwhile, will need 4-6 years’ experience developing online multiplayer dedicated servers, again with specific experience of working with PlayStation, but also having “worked on an open world RPG”;
  • The successful applicant, states the ad, will need to have “worked on and shipped multiple online titles using the Unreal engine at scale”;
  • This individual’s remit will also include leading “the development of cross platform online multiplayer game play by synchronizing game state for players through native Unreal engine networking; challenging oneself to bring to life a new era of immersive entertainment centered around music for an unannounced project”.

In May, Epic Games reported that Fortnite has over 350 million registered players.

The mobile version of Fortnite crossed $1 billion in lifetime player spending on the App Store and Google Play, in just over two years after its release.

And as explored over on Rolling Stone this week, Sony Corporation appears to be financially committing to its music division like never before in recent years.

Does this mean that Tencent, which now part-owns both Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, will inevitably be frozen out of buying its way into Sony Music Group?Music Business Worldwide

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