Epic Games Inc. CEO Tim Sweeney debuted on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list last year after amassing an estimate of $4.5 billion net worth. But his riches do not end there. According to the latest estimation from Forbes, Sweeney is currently a proud owner of $5.3 billion in wealth. On the other hand, Bloomberg reported that he is worth $9.4 billion. While it would be impossible to determine the true worth of the successful video game developer without checking his bank account, it is same to say that the billionaire game developer made more money than average gaming programmers. But how did he earn it? Let us take a look at the accomplishments of the influential gaming industry figure.
Who Is Tim Sweeney?
If you are not fond of playing video games, the name Tim Sweeney may not ring a bell. Sweeney is the current CEO of Epic Games and the creator and founder of game development platform Unreal Engine. He also holds many successful software patents, created numerous video games, and owner of Houseparty, a popular social messaging app. He is also known for his commitment to his philanthropy causes and forest conservation.
How Did He Start?
Sweeney was hailed from Potomac, Maryland. At a very young age, he started showing interest in fixing electrical and mechanical devices. He particularly started dismantling a lawnmower when he was five or six years old, then built his go-kart. When he reached 11 years old, he visited his brother’s startup company in California, where he was able to get his hands on the early version of the IBM Personal Computers. During the entire week that he was there, he learned how BASIC works. This experience started his interest in programming. From that point, he decided to dedicate himself to learn more about programming. He also learned the concepts of entrepreneurship from his brother. During his teenage years, he already made a huge amount of money mowing the lawns of wealthy households in their community for less than the amount charged by professional lawnmower services.
The future game development tycoon took up mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, but his heart remains with computers. He started his programming consultancy company Potomac Computer Systems (PCS) during his second year in the university. However, he still craved for more programming challenges. Sweeney started making computer games during his free time. In 1991, he began testing an action-adventure puzzle video game called ZZT through his friends and other students. When the game generated positive feedback, he opted to sell it to a larger audience. He brought back PCS to serve as the game’s distributor and started selling game copies from the garage of his father’s home to his mail-order buyers. This experience helped him can hundreds of dollars every day. The success made him realize that he can turn his game development interest into a full-time career.
How Was Epic Games Born?
Sweeney opted to rename PCS to Epic Megagames, then later simplified to Epic Games. During that time, he started working on his new project. But his talents are not enough to help him achieve his ambitions. To help him achieve his goals, he hired former id Software video game developer Mark Rein to help him take his products around the world. The biggest break that happened for his restructured company came after releasing their first-person shooter game called Unreal. It became an instant hit and managed to earn three Guinness World Records recognition.
The company’s success went on when it released Gears of War. According to a report from Business Insider, the game franchise already generated more than$1 billion and sold at least 22 million copies globally. In 2012, Sweeney’s Epic Games captured the attention of the biggest tech firms, making him earn a staggering paycheck when Chinese company Tencent acquired 48% ownership for $330 million.
How Sweeney Became A Billionaire?
Epic Games made another breakthrough in 2017 when they released the free-to-play cross-platform video game Fortnite. By 2019, the game already earned an estimated $1.8 billion for the company. Because of the game’s success and his hard work, he became one of the richest men in the US.