CARY – Tim Sweeney, the billionaire owner of Cary-based Epic Games and a widely acknowledged visionary of interactive, realistic technology, is coming to the defense of the virtual world known as the “metaverse” even as big backers are cooling on the concept.

From the darling of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Walt Disney and Microsoft, big investors are backing off. Zuckerberg even changed the name of his company to Meta. Now, The Wall Street Journal reads: “The metaverse is quickly turning into the meh-taverse.”

Not Sweeney, whose company is partnered with LEGOS to build a safe metaverse for kids and created the globally popular Fortnite.

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“If you look back over the last six years, you can see the metaverse audience grow from a negligible number to about 600 million,” Sweeney told VentureBeat in an interview at the recent Games Developers Conference.

“It’s easy to overlook that. A lot of people say Roblox is just a kids’ game or Fortnite is just a shooter. But there’s an emerging market here that will reach billions of users. We should appreciate that and separate it from the unfounded hype that was given to it, the claims around it, NFTs and things.”

In December, however, Sweeney said he didn’t see virtual reality in the future of Fortnite.

Sweeney told The Verge that Epic “has no plans” because he doesn’t believe it would work well, given the existing gaming environment, structure, and gameplay.

Read the full VentureBeat interview at:

Tim Sweeney talks metaverse & Epic Games’ vision – watch the video