Sarah Needleman's new profile of Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney for The Wall Street Journal covers a wide variety of topic about the Fortnite boss's life and career. Among those are how Epic convinced Sony to finally allow cross-play, how much the man is reportedly worth, how much money Fortnite makes from microtransactions, what food he likes best, and lots more. The full report is well worth a read, and we're highlighting a few of the big points.
Starting with cross-play, WSJ reports that Sweeney spent six months in 2018 calling and emailing the leadership at PlayStation and Xbox to try to convince them to unlock cross-play. The conversations were intense, it seems.
"An effort in international diplomacy," Sweeney said. "Given the long-term rivalries, it was a series of contentious discussions."
Microsoft and Nintendo started allowing cross-play in Fortnite and other titles beginning in June 2018, but Sony held out.
After cross-play support went live between Xbox One and Nintendo Switch for Fortnite, WSJ reports that Sweeney shared data with Sony that apparently demonstrated that cross-play "dramatically" increased engagement. This might have been part of what contributed to Sony eventually unlocking cross-play.
In September 2018, Sony finally agreed to cross-play, beginning with Fortnite. "It was one of the greatest moments in Epic's history," Sweeney said. "I was pleased and tired."
Moving on, the piece also reveals that Fortnite has generated $3.9 billion in revenue from microtransactions, according to numbers from research firm SuperData. Sweeney himself is worth $7 billion, according to the Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.
He's been wealthy for a long time; by the age of 30 he owned a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. People who didn't know him thought he was a drug dealer, he told WSJ.
He's now 48, and he says he lives a "fairly simple life," noting that he is single, unmarried, and has no kids. He enjoys spending his down time hiking. Related to that, he has spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying up land (more than 45,000 acres so far!) in his home state of North Carolina for conversation efforts.
Also in the piece, Sweeney says his favorite food is fried chicken from Bojangles because "it strikes the perfect balance between tasty food and time commitment." He also said he enjoys the fact that Epic Games is in North Carolina because it's far away from the influence of "Silicon Valley groupthink," according to WSJ.
Fortnite almost didn't exist. Epic's former director of production, Rod Ferugsson, said recently that he would have canceled Fortnite had he stayed at Epic.
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