Disney Buys US$1.5 Billion Epic Games Stake, To Expand Universe Within ‘Fortnite’

Disney has embarked on a groundbreaking US$1.5 billion partnership with Epic Games, creators of Fortnite, to craft a new, expansive universe that incorporates elements from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Avatar.

This collaboration aims to create a persistent, open, and social space where fans can play, engage, and express their love for these iconic franchises in innovative ways. Announced during Disney’s Q1 FY24 Earnings Call, this venture is set to redefine the boundaries of gaming and entertainment, merging Disney’s vast storytelling heritage with Fortnite‘s dynamic virtual platform.

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Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, highlighting it as Disney’s most significant foray into the gaming sector. “Our exciting new relationship with Epic Games will bring together Disney’s beloved brands and franchises with the hugely popular Fortnite in a transformational new games and entertainment universe. This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion. We can’t wait for fans to experience the Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways.”

“This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion.”

Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games, emphasized the mutual vision shared by both companies, aiming to create a seamless, interoperable ecosystem that unites Disney’s and Fortnite‘s fanbases.

“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.”

While specifics of the project remain under wraps, Disney and Epic Games have teased that this venture will empower players to craft their own narratives and share content in ways previously unimagined. This initiative builds on the success of previous collaborations, such as Marvel and Star Wars-themed skins and events in Fortnite, and aims to introduce a broader range of interactive experiences within the Fortnite universe.

Scheduled as a multi-year project, this ambitious undertaking promises to deliver an unparalleled gaming experience that blurs the lines between play, narrative exploration, and fan engagement. With plans to incorporate Unreal Engine’s cutting-edge technology, the project aspires to offer a richly immersive platform where Disney’s timeless stories and characters come to life in ways that captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.

This closely resembles Epic’s previous partnership with LEGO. In 2022, Epic secured a US$2 billion investment, shared by Sony and KIRKBI, the investment arm of the LEGO family, leading to the debut of LEGO Fortnite early this year. This marked a significant shift for Fortnite, as Epic endeavored to broaden its scope beyond its original battle royale format, transforming it into a hub for diverse games and experiences.

Disney’s investment in Epic Games marks a strategic move to harness the potential of interactive digital experiences, reflecting a broader industry trend toward creating immersive, narrative-driven virtual worlds.