The Origin Story Of Tim Sweeney's Infamous Plasma Ball

Why was it there? Where did he buy it? The Epic Games boss answers the important questions.


Epic Games had big news to share in May when it revealed an Unreal Engine 5 tech demo running on PlayStation 5, effectively showcasing the PS5's first gameplay video. But for all the takeaways regarding what UE5 looked like, one of the big discussion points after the reveal concerned what we saw in the background of a livestream Epic CEO Tim Sweeney was on--a plasma ball.

We've already delivered you the official Tim Sweeney Zoom background, showcasing the room in which Sweeney took part in that livestream (as well as our own kickoff to Play For All). If you haven't yet watched the full interview--check it out below--we wasted no time in uncovering the truth behind the plasma ball.

Sweeney explained that, when he learned he would be on camera for an Unreal Engine 5 livestream, he needed to clean his office, which led to a spill that had to be covered up.

"So, I was running around, cleaning up the office, I knocked over my Diet Coke, which I always have with me, and so I had this giant spill of Diet Coke there and we were about to begin filming in 30 seconds, so I grabbed the nearest object, which was this plasma ball," he said. "It came from Spencer's at the mall, and it was covering up the Diet Coke spill. And nobody was the wiser. In fact, there's all this wild conspiracy theory about what it was meant to symbolize."

We followed up to find out if there is, in fact, some secret meaning behind the plasma ball as it relates to Unreal Engine 5 or Fortnite, but Sweeney denied any such connection.

Later in the interview, just prior to the 27-minute mark, Sweeney actually plugged in the plasma ball to give us a demonstration and warned that it can cause issues with his computer. Meanwhile, Epic CTO Kim Libreri showcased a Zoom background of his own.

Be sure to give the full video a watch above, and just us all month and into July for Play For All.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: Epic Games Talks Unreal Engine 5 On PS5 & Xbox Series X, Future Of Gaming, Impact Of Fortnite

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 1 comments about this story