The Walt Disney Company is investing $1.5 billion to acquire an equity stake in Epic Games.
Disney will collaborate with the Fortnite studio on new games that it said will allow consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and Avatar.
In a statement, Disney said that gamers and fans will be able to create their own stories and experience and share content with each other.
“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,” said Disney CEO Robert Iger. “This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion.”
Disney and Epic Games have already worked together on Fortnite content integrations, season collaborations, in-game activations and live events, including the Marvel-based Nexus War with Galactus, which drew more than 15.3 million concurrent players.
Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is used to produce content across the Disney portfolio including in the development of video games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor; in editing and animation; and in the creation of more than 15 Disney Parks attractions like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney’s games business shifted to a licensing business model in 2016, with top titles including Marvel’s Spider-Man.
“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 of 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 of 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.”