Gabe Newell launched Steam back in 2003, and since then it’s made him a very rich man indeed. The founder of Valve was placed on Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest people in America, with an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion to show for nearly 15 years at the head of the world’s biggest gaming storefront.
Newell has been a fairly regular figure on these rich lists over the past few years, but 2018 saw a new videogame tycoon arrive on the scene, blowing Gaben out of the water. Tim Sweeney, who founded Epic Games in 1991, has shown up on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for the first time.
Of course, Sweeney and his Epic Games compadres have been extremely wealthy for many years. The company has been a successful developer for a long time, but in 2012, a 40% going to Tencent made Sweeney and his business partners millionaires many times over. However, a certain 2017 release has catapulted them all to new realms of extreme wealth.
It’s no secret, of course, that Fortnite Battle Royale has made Sweeney (and the rest of Epic Games) incredibly wealthy. Last year alone, the company banked $3 billion in profit, and over the summer the game was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a month. Sweeney’s stake in the company means that Bloomberg puts his personal net worth at $7.16 billion, making him the 192nd wealthiest person in America, and putting Newell’s paltry net worth – now estimated at $4.3 billion – to shame.
It’s all relative, of course, and by the time you’re commanding ten-figure revenue’s I don’t imagine a few extra billion here or there makes much of a difference. But if nothing else, Sweeney’s dramatic rise to these extreme levels of wealth puts the sheer financial power of Fortnite in perspective.