Disney is making a strategic investment of $1.5 billion in Epic Games, the creator of the popular video game, Fortnite, to create a new gaming and entertainment universe. The partnership involves a broader collaboration to develop a transformational gaming and entertainment universe that integrates Disney’s world-class storytelling into Epic’s cultural phenomenon, Fortnite. The collaboration will enable consumers to play, watch, create, and shop for both digital and physical goods related to Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, and more.
The new universe will be an expansive and open gaming and entertainment space where players and fans can experience Disney’s beloved brands and franchises with the hugely popular Fortnite in groundbreaking new ways. The new project is not something that evolved from older partnerships but is a brand-new project that will be built by Epic Games. The companies plan to create a metaverse-like experience, which is a virtual world where players can engage with a variety of immersive experiences.
According to Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, “Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of bringing their worlds together with ours in Fortnite, and they use Unreal Engine across their portfolio. Now we’re collaborating on something entirely new to build a persistent, open and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities.”
Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Experiences, expressed his excitement over the partnership, stating that Epic Games’ industry-leading technology and Fortnite’s open ecosystem will help Disney reach consumers where they are and allow them to engage with Disney in the most relevant ways possible.
The partnership will offer significant opportunities for growth and expansion, marking Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of video games. The new immersive universe will unleash the creativity of players, allowing them to create their own stories and experiences, express their fandom in a distinctly Disney way, and share content with each other in ways that they love. The new universe will be powered by Unreal Engine, which is a state-of-the-art technology that will enable players to immerse themselves in the Disney world like never before.
The new persistent universe will offer a multitude of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop, and engage with content, characters, and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, and more. The universe will be interoperable with Fortnite, but it will not be Disney Fortnite together as a single game. Rather, this is more like a Disney universe that can connect to Fortnite, which is separate.
The move into these metaverse-like experiences is interesting as Disney had a metaverse division but closed it and laid off the 50 people involved. Observers pointed to that March 2023 move as evidence that the metaverse was falling out of favor. It turns out that was perhaps a kind of feint, as Disney evidently remains committed to bringing all of its properties together in a kind of metaverse.
The partnership between Disney and Epic Games will enable fans to experience Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways. The collaboration will create an entirely new gaming and entertainment universe that will integrate Disney’s world-class storytelling into Epic’s cultural phenomenon, Fortnite, and unlock significant opportunities for growth and expansion.
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