'Fortnite' Studio Founder Is Buying Forests To Stop Them Being Chopped Down
Since its release in 2017, Epic Games' Fortnite has gone on to become one of the biggest games in the world thanks to its free-to-play battle royale mode, and was named 'Ultimate Game of the Year' at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards a few months back.
You'd imagine all that success will have made the founder of Epic, Tim Sweeney, more than just a little bit rich, right? Well, you'd be right - according to Bloomberg, as of 2019 he has a net worth of $7.18 billion.
But Sweeney isn't just sitting around, setting 100-dollar bills on fire - he's actually doing something worthwhile with a decent chunk of that cash.
Turns out Sweeney, who founded Epic Games in 1991 (originally under the rather-less-impressive name of Potomac Computer Systems), has been spending millions of dollars to support conversation projects over the past decade, according to Vigor News.
In order to help save forest areas in North Carolina, he bought 40,000 acres of land, and also donated money to conservation projects - including one that involved an expansion of 1,500 acres to Mount Michael State Park.
In November 2016, Sweeney also donated a whopping $15 million to protecting 7,000 acres of the Box Creek Wilderness, a forest that sits in the foothills of the iconic Blue Ridge Mountains.
Sweeney said: "It's one of the most diverse areas in North Carolina. It has such rare plant and wildlife species, it seemed a perfect fit with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
"This is a first step - there will be other places protected. The goal is to connect South Mountains State Park to Chimney Rock. This is one piece of the puzzle."
Sweeney didn't stop there, either. The next year, he bought 193 acres of land in Alamance County for $1.973 million, in order to guarantee the land would not be developed.
And just last year, he bought a 1,500 acre area known as Stone Hills, preventing it from being developed into a golf resort.
Sweeney continued: "I bought this land because it has a nice longleaf pine forest and was available for a reasonable price. I'll be holding it until I find a permanent nature conservation home for it, which will take years or decades."
He added that his short-term plans for the area include hiking, "tree thinning" and "burning for ecosystem restoration", but hopes to find a "permanent conservancy or state home" for it.
As for Fortnite, it passed the 200-million registered players mark in November 2018, and continues to grow its audience across multiple platforms. It was the most-played game on Nintendo Switch in 2018, you know. Looks like Sweeney isn't going to be short of a few extra conservation dollars, going forwards.
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