Disney is investing $1.5 billion in Fortnite developer Epic Games. As part of this initiative, Disney and Epic Games will work together to create an entirely new “universe of games and entertainment” over the next several years, Disney said in a statement.
“Our exciting new relationship with Epic Games will bring together beloved Disney brands and franchises with the wildly popular Fortnite in a transformative new gaming and entertainment universe,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “This marks Disney’s largest entry into the gaming world in the company’s history and opens up significant opportunities for growth and expansion,” he added in a statement.
Players will be able to “play, watch, shop and interact with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more” in a new entertainment universe powered by Epic’s flagship Unreal Engine. Users will be able to create their own stories and experiences, express their passion and share content in a way that is convenient for them.
“This will allow us to bring together our incredible collection of stories and experiences from across the company for a wider audience in a way we could only dream of before,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Experiences.
Disney currently uses the Unreal Engine to create movies, video games, and content used in Disney theme parks around the world. It has also previously partnered with Epic Games to add characters from Marvel, Tron and Star Wars to Fortnite.
“[We’re] collaborating on something completely new to create a sustainable, open and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. “Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of uniting their worlds with ours in Fortnite.”
Neither company said what the valuation of privately held Epic Games would be after Disney’s investment. Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent currently owns 40% of its shares, while Sony owns just over 5%.