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Disney Epic Games Stake Ignites Metaverse Dreams With Fortnite being an Early Adopter

Last Updated February 12, 2024 11:45 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated February 12, 2024 11:45 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Disney has partnered with Epic Games to integrate Disney’s characters and stories with Fortnite.
  • The partnership goes beyond traditional gaming and interactive experiences with Disney’s IP.
  • This collaboration builds on a pre-existing relationship that was initiated through the Disney Accelerator program.

In a landmark deal, the entertainment giant Disney announced its $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, the creator of the renowned metaverse platform Fortnite.

This strategic partnership  is set to develop a new metaverse that will integrate Disney’s vast array of intellectual properties, promising an innovative coexistence with the Fortnite universe.

Disney Invests $1.5Bn in Epic Games to Forge a Metaverse and Fortnite

With a $1.5 billion investment, Disney aims to create a platform that will feature its iconic intellectual properties, including Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Avatar, among others.

Although the term ‘metaverse’ was notably absent from the announcement, the initiative is described as a “new persistent universe” where users can engage in play, entertainment, shopping, and interactions with beloved characters and stories. This move signifies a significant multiyear project to blend Disney’s extensive entertainment universe with the digital frontier.

The new integration with Fortnite opens Disney up to an initial potential audience of 400 million registered users.

Disney CEO Bob Iger commented  on the collaboration:

“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.”

Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games stated  that Disney was an early believer in the merging of the Disney Universe with Fortnite’s. He highlighted that the current collaboration aims to create an entirely new, persistent, open, and interoperable ecosystem to unite the Disney and Fortnite communities.

Metaverse Strategy Reboot with Epic Games After Initial Setbacks

Disney’s recent collaboration with Epic Games marks a strategic pivot in its metaverse ambitions, avoiding direct mention of the term possibly due to past challenges. Under former CEO Bob Chapek, Disney initially embarked  on a metaverse journey, dubbing it “the next great storytelling frontier” with Mike White leading the initiative.

However, this endeavor was halted in April 2023 amidst company-wide layoffs  affecting 7,000 employees, leading to the dissolution of its metaverse division. This new partnership with Epic signifies Disney’s renewed effort to carve a niche in the metaverse landscape, leveraging Epic’s proven success in the gaming sector.

Strengthening Collaborative Ties Between Epic Games and Disney: A Strategic Overview

The partnership between Disney and Epic Games could significantly impact the gaming and entertainment landscape, and position Fortnite as a platform for immersive content collaborations, dynamic season events, and interactive live experiences. Notably, the Marvel Nexus War event  in Fortnite captivated over 15.3 million concurrent players, showcasing the powerful engagement potential of these collaborations.

Beyond gaming, Unreal Engine, a cornerstone of Epic Games’ technology, facilitates the creation of high-quality assets and content across Disney’s diverse portfolio. This includes pivotal roles in the development of blockbuster video games such as Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, as well as in cinematic production and animation for major films and streaming services. Unreal Engine has also been instrumental in developing attractions for over 15 Disney Parks worldwide, including the acclaimed Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

This evolving relationship was initially fostered through Epic Games’ participation in the Disney Accelerator program in 2017, aimed at driving technological innovation and redefining entertainment experiences. This strategic partnership underscores both companies’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of storytelling, technology, and user engagement in the digital age.

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