Fortnite developer Epic Games today announced its partnership with Lego to create a metaverse for kids. The companies say they will shape the future of the Metaverse to make it safe and fun for kids, while creating an immersive digital experience for kids to play in.
Although the companies have not detailed their plans for this virtual world, they have defined three principles that they believe will guarantee the security of the digital spaces they develop. The two will work together to make children’s safety and well-being a priority, to protect children’s privacy, and to equip children and adults with tools to control their digital experience.
“The LEGO Group has captured the imaginations of children and adults through creative play for nearly a century, and we are thrilled to come together to create a space in the Metaverse that is fun, entertaining and designed for children and families,” Epic’s CEO and founder Tim Sweeney said in a press release.
Sweeney has previously said he sees the Metaverse as a sort of online playground where users can play games, such as Fortnite, and watch movies on Netflix together.
In today’s announcement, Sweeney said the digital experience will be family-friendly and empower kids to become confident creators. He noted that two companies will combine their experience to ensure this next iteration of the internet is designed with the well-being of children in mind. It’s unclear exactly what the virtual world would look like or when the two companies plan to launch it.
“Children love to play in the digital and physical worlds and move seamlessly between the two,” Lego CEO Niels B Christiansen said in the press release. “We believe there is enormous potential for them to develop lifelong skills such as creativity, collaboration and communication through digital experiences. But we have a responsibility to make them safe, inspiring and beneficial for all.
There’s no clear definition of “metaverse” yet, mostly because it doesn’t necessarily exist, but it’s widely seen as a network of virtual spaces that will open up new ways for people to connect in line. The idea of the metaverse is already proving dangerous for children, which will require Epic and Lego to create extensive protections around their intended virtual world.
Epic and Lego join many other efforts by companies looking to create their own versions of a metaverse.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is largely focused on building the metaverse and has even changed its branding to outline its plans for the future. Last September, the company announced a $50 million fund dedicated to investing in research to ensure the Metaverse is built responsibly. Since then, the company has doubled down on its plans for the Metaverse and even canceled its F8 developer conference yesterday, saying it wanted to focus its efforts on building the Metaverse.
Pokémon Go creator Niantic has also detailed its plans to build what it calls the “real-world metaverse.” Last November, the company raised $300 million at a $3 billion valuation and said it would use the money to create a real-world metaverse that will use technology to bring people closer to the outside world.