Epic Games is an American video game and software developer and publisher based in Cary, North Carolina. The company was founded by Tim Sweeney as Potomac Computer Systems in 1991, originally located in his parents' house in Potomac, Maryland. Following his first commercial video game release, ZZT (1991), the company became Epic MegaGames, Inc. in early 1992 and brought on Mark Rein, who is the company's vice president to date. Moving their headquarters to Cary in 1999, the studio's name was simplified to Epic Games.
Epic Games develops the Unreal Engine, a commercially available game engine which also powers their internally developed video games, such as Fortnite and the Unreal, Gears of War and Infinity Blade series. In 2014, Unreal Engine was named the "most successful videogame engine" by Guinness World Records.
Epic Games owns video game developers Chair Entertainment and Psyonix, as well as cloud-based software developer Cloudgine, and operates eponymous sub-studios in Seattle, England, Berlin, Yokohama and Seoul. While Sweeney remains the majority shareholder, Tencent acquired a 48.4% outstanding stake, equating to 40% of total Epic, in the company in 2012, as part of an agreement aimed at moving Epic towards a games as a service model. Following the release of the popular Fortnite Battle Royale in 2017, the company gained additional investments that enabled to expand its Unreal Engine offerings, establish esport events around Fortnite, and launch the Epic Games Store. As of August 2020, the company has a US$17.3 billion equity valuation.
On August 13, 2020, Epic released a version of Fortnite that included a permanent discount on V-bucks across all platforms, but for those on iOS and Android devices, only if they purchased directly through Epic, bypassing Apple and Google's storefronts. Both Apple and Google immediately delisted the game for violating the storefronts' terms of service by including their own storefront, which led Epic to file lawsuits against both companies the same day, accusing them of antitrust behavior in how they operate their app stores.