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Disney, to invest $1.5Bn in Epic Games and co-create an open games, entertainment and e-commerce universe connected to Fortnite

The Walt Disney Company and Epic games announced today that they have signed an agreement to create an open, persistent and social universe that will bring Disney stories and experiences to life, interoperating with Fortnite and its more than 100 million active players and creators.

Along with this multi year project Disney will invest $1.5Bn to acquire an equity stake in Epic Games.

An extended content social and e-commerce experience powered by Unreal Engine

In addition to being a world-class games experience and interoperating with Fortnite, the new persistent universe will offer a wide range of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more.

Players, gamers and fans will be able 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. This will all be powered by Unreal Engine.

Building on a long time collaboration since Epic Games’ participation in the 2017 Disney Accelerator program

Disney and Epic Games have engaged hundreds of millions of players through Fortnite content integrations, season collaborations, in-game activations, and live events, including the Marvel Nexus War with Galactus, which drew more than 15.3 million concurrent players.

Unreal Engine is used to produce assets and content across the Disney portfolio including in the development of video games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor; in cinematic editing and animation for film and streaming; and in the creation of more than 15 Disney Parks attractions like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

This all builds on Epic Games’ participation in the 2017 Disney Accelerator program, which seeks to impact the future of technology and entertainment.
“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,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder, Epic Games. “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.”

“This will enable us to bring together our incredible collection of stories and experiences from across the company for a broad audience in ways we have only dreamed of before,” said Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Experiences. “Epic Games’ industry-leading technology and Fortnite’s open ecosystem will help us reach consumers where they are so they can engage with Disney in the ways that are most relevant to them.”

A 3Bn video game players worldwide opportunity and growing

The digital world is growing and evolving with more than 3Bn video game players worldwide who want to move safely and seamlessly between the worlds they love, unleash their own creativity, and experience great gameplay.
Disney’s games business continues to deliver strong results since it shifted to a licensing business model in 2016.

Disney is a leading games licensor working with best-in-class developers and publishers, including on the best-selling superhero game of all-time, Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Licensed games from Disney garnered more than 150 award nominations, wins and other accolades in 2023, including multiple Game of the Year nominations for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.

Disney mobile games have 1.5Bn global installs, and to date, nine Disney games franchises have each grossed more than $1Bn in sales.
Just in the U.S., licensed titles from Disney regularly hit the annual top-10 best-sellers list.

Image over the headline.- Disney x Epic Games future metaverse experience. Image by courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.

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