Join Transform 2021 for the most important themes in enterprise AI & Data. Learn more.
Epic Games has announced the acquisition of SuperAwesome, a pioneer in the “kid tech” market that provides children with what it says are safe digital experiences and age-appropriate advertising. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The move comes days after Epic announced its $15 million investment in Manticore, which has created a platform to enable anyone to make games. Today’s announcement also shows that Epic isn’t slowing its deal-making momentum — even while embroiled in an antitrust suit with Apple over App Store policies.
“We want kids to have safe digital experiences absolutely everywhere,” SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins said in an interview with GamesBeat.
SuperAwesome’s “kid tech” infrastructure sees use from more than 300 companies, including Mattel, Disney, Hasbro, and Lego. SuperAwesome says it has defined the digital standards that keep more than half a billion children anonymous when they’re engaging with online games and videos. The company’s Kids Web Services (KWS) platform is a parental consent management toolkit that makes it easier for developers to tailor their experiences to young users. Together, Epic Games and SuperAwesome plan to build a wide range of kid-safe services.
SuperAwesome products comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and they have been certified through the KidSAFE and Entertainment Software Ratings Board’s child protection Safe Harbor programs. With AwesomeAds, developers can offer kid-safe monetization inside their products. Each month, SuperAwesome’s tech enables more than 12 billion digital transactions with children under 13.
Epic Games makes Fortnite, the most popular battle royale game, as well as the Unreal Engine (which more than 11 million developers use). Fortnite has more than 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. SuperAwesome’s tech could work with Fortnite, but the real intent is to enable the tech for Unreal developers, Epic’s Todd Rowe said in an interview with GamesBeat.
Many games and apps simply aren’t built for kids. But for the apps that do target children, developers are prohibited from collecting personal data, and they need some kind of parental consent, which is what SuperAwesome can facilitate.
“If you think about the internet, it was fundamentally designed by adults for adults,” Collins said. “Now we have an internet with … kids under 16.”
“The ecosystem has been building out with more and more privacy laws for children,” Collins said. “Epic is very focused on privacy with everything that they do. We saw growing alignment with [SuperAwesome] about the future of the internet and the importance of kids, family, and privacy. The mission to make the internet safer for kids continues.”
SuperAwesome has the tech to scale beyond the kids’ market and apply its privacy technology to the larger adult market. It can also help Epic move further into advertising. But Epic has no plans to put ads into Fortnite, Rowe said.
“It’s more for the developers who use the Unreal engine to use,” Rowe said.
SuperAwesome has raised more than $35 million to date and has 160 employees. Investors include Mayfair Equity Partners, Microsoft, and Hoxton Ventures.
GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties