Epic Games has purchased a former North Carolina shopping mall and plans to convert it into the campus for its new global headquarters. As reported by the Triangle Business Journal, Epic paid $95 million for the 87-acre Cary Towne Center mall. In an official announcement, the company said the 980,000 sq. ft. facility will include both office and recreational spaces, and will be operational by 2024.
The developer and publisher behind Fortnite and the Gears of War franchise is staying close to home. It currently employs 2,2000 people worldwide and owns several subsidiary companies around the globe, but the new headquarters will be just two miles from its current location in Cary, North Carolina. CEO Tim Sweeney founded Epic in Cary in 1991, and it’s remained there ever since.
Like many shopping malls across the U.S., the Cary Towne Center struggled to compete with online retailers. It originally opened in 1979, but in recent years, anchor stores like J.C. Penny’s and Sears have vacated the site. According to WRAL TechWire, few stores remain open and most of the mall is blocked off. Turnbridge Equities and Denali Properties bought Cary Towne Center in 2019 for $31 million before flipping it to Epic.
Epic’s move to a bigger campus follows the company’s overall expansion in recent years, which is fueled by the wildly successful Fortnite. After it launched in 2017, the free-to-play shooter brought in 125 million players and $1.2 billion in its first 10 months of operation. By August 2019, it was bringing in $2.5 million a day. After Epic raised $1.78 billion in funding in August 2020, its overall value was estimated to be $17.3 billion.
Fortnite continues to be successful despite several recent obstacles. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to cancel all its 2021 in-person tournaments, including the 2021 Fortnite World Cup. Epic is also currently embroiled in a legal dispute with Apple over Fortnite‘s monetization strategy. On August 13th, Fortnite introduced a plan allowing users to purchase in-game currency directly from Epic, intending to work around the fees Apple collected on App Store purchases. Apple responded by removing the game from the App Store. Epic then filed an anti-trust lawsuit, which is scheduled to be heard in May 2021.
The fact that Epic is moving to a huge new space in the midst of all of this upheaval would seem to spell great news for Fortnite fans. It shows that the company is still very much pressing forward. While Epic hasn’t released many specific details about its plans for Fortnite in 2021, Epic’s short and long-term future both look bright.