In a monumental move, Disney is making waves in the gaming industry with a staggering $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite. This strategic partnership sets the stage for the development of an expansive and open gaming and entertainment universe, featuring iconic characters from Disney, Avatar, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and more.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, hails this collaboration as their most significant foray into gaming, foreseeing substantial potential for growth and expansion within the gaming landscape. The project aims to interoperate with Fortnite, offering players and fans a unique opportunity to create their own stories and experiences while expressing their love for Disney in innovative ways. This venture mirrors Epic’s recent success with Lego Fortnite, following a $2 billion investment from Sony and KIRKBI.
The foundation of this gaming universe will be powered by Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D graphics creation tool known for delivering photoreal visuals and immersive experiences. Disney envisions the new persistent universe as a multifaceted platform for consumers to play, watch, shop, and engage with content, characters, and stories from their beloved franchises.
Building on previous collaborations, Disney and Fortnite have joined forces in the past, incorporating Marvel, Star Wars, and other Disney characters into the popular battle royale game. Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney expresses their commitment to creating “something entirely new to build a persistent, open, and interoperable ecosystem” that unites fans of both Disney and Fortnite. The partnership has already yielded a Mandalorian-themed update for Rocket League, complete with a Grogu car topper.
Notably, despite Disney’s temporary setback with the closure of its metaverse division in 2023 and subsequent layoffs, both Disney and Epic Games are now showcasing renewed interest in the metaverse through their collaborative project. The question arises: will this collaboration lead to additional hirings in the future?