Startup News: Video game maker Epic Games gains much from deal with Disney

Much has been made of how Disney’s recently announced $1.5 billion stake in privately-held Epic Games will help the House of Mouse expand its brand into video games.

But the deal is also very good for Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite and Gears of War as well as 3-D engine technology. In a press release announcing the deal, Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney said that the deal will help his company build “a persistent, open, and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities.”

And online trade publication Digiday pointed out in an article last week that the deal is particularly beneficial to Epic Games in light of Epic’s troubled relationship with Apple.

“Following a dispute over Epic’s attempts to introduce a direct payment option to its Fortnite iOS app, Apple banned Epic from its App Store in August 2020,” wrote Digiday. That ban still stands. “But deepening its ties with Disney could help Epic circumvent the ban by publishing its games under Disney’s developer account, or by simply helping the company mend its fences with Apple.”

Founded in 1991, Cary, N.C.-based Epic Games now has a private valuation of $22.5 billion based on the latest investment by Disney, according to tech news site The Information. That valuation, which is based on a well-placed source who spoke to the publication, represents a sharp drop from the company’s valuation two years ago.

Epic Games’ Forge Price™ is $550 as of April 10, 2024.

Cohere unveils large language model covering 101 different tongues

Artificial intelligence company Cohere isn’t sitting back while competitors such as OpenAI and Anthropic gain all the glory.

Last week, Cohere announced on its website that its research lab, Cohere for AI, has developed a generative large language research model (LLM) covering 101 different languages, which is “more than double the number of languages covered by existing open-source models.”

As the company put it, the new LLM, named Aya, will help users around the world “unlock the powerful potential of LLMs for dozens of languages and cultures largely ignored by most advanced models on the market today.”

Founded in 2019, Cohere, which is based both in Toronto, Canada and San Francisco, CA, had a valuation of $2.1 billion as of the June 2023 Series C funding round, according to TechCrunch.

Cohere’s Forge Price™ is $110.37 as of April 10, 2024.

OpenAI is improving ChatGPT’s ability to remember

The ability to remember past events is emerging as a trait that can be improved upon by the latest iterations of chatbots.

Last week, OpenAI announced that it is releasing an updated version of ChatGPT that will remember what its users have communicated to it so that information can be used in future chats.

“Remembering things you discuss across all chats saves you from having to repeat information and makes future conversations more helpful,” the AI company said in a note on its website announcing the memory upgrade. “You can explicitly tell [ChatGPT] to remember something, ask it what it remembers, and tell it to forget conversationally or through settings. You can also turn it off entirely.”

Founded in 2015, OpenAI has quickly emerged as the leading privately-held generative AI company because of the widespread use of ChatGPT. In December 2023, Bloomberg reported that OpenAI was in discussions to raise a round of funding that would value it at or above $100 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

OpenAI’s Forge Price™ is $171.96 as of April 10, 2024 which implies a valuation of $99.7 billion.

About the Author

John Kimelman is a veteran journalist who has worked at Barron’s and CNBC covering such topics as investing and commercial banking. Mr. Kimelman has received compensation from Forge Global, Inc. for authoring this article. Read more from John.

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