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. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The move comes a day after Epic announced its $15 million investment in Manticore, which has created a platform to enable anyone to make games. And today’s announcement shows that Epic isn’t slowing down its rapid pace of doing deals — even though it is in an antitrust suit with Apple over App Store policies.
“We want kids to have safe digital experiences, absolutely everywhere,” said SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins, in an interview with GamesBeat.
SuperAwesome’s “kid tech” infrastructure sees use from more than 300 companies, such as Mattel, Disney, Hasbro, and Lego. The company says it has defined the digital standards that keep more than half a billion children anonymous when they engage with online games and videos.
Together, Epic Games and SuperAwesome plan to build a wide range of kid-safe services. Its Kids Web Services (KWS) platform is a parental consent management toolkit that makes it easier for developers to tailor their experiences to young users.
The 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 is the maker of 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 it for Unreal developers, said Epic’s Todd Rowe in an interview with GamesBeat.
To use SuperAwesome, parents must their identities and give permission for a child to use a service.
Typically, 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.
“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 them 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 raised more than $35 million to date, and it has 160 employees. Investors include Mayfair Equity Partners, Microsoft, and Hoxton Ventures.
SuperAwesome also has the tech to scale beyond the kids market and apply its privacy technology to the larger adult market. SuperAwesome can 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.