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Disney to invest $1.5 billion in Epic Games, plans to create new Fortnite universe

A teaser image suggests a virtual Disney theme park experience featuring the likes of Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar

Disney Epic Games

Disney will invest $1.5 billion USD (about $2 billion CAD) into Fortnite maker Epic Games as part of a larger content partnership.

In a press release, Disney said it’s working with Epic to create “an all-new games and entertainment universe” connected to Fortnite in which users can “watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more.”

While the companies didn’t explain exactly how this would work, some of Fortnite‘s latest content offerings might offer an idea. In December, the company released three experiences inspired by LegoRocket League and Rock Band that are playable for free within Fortnite. These are part of Epic’s larger goal to create an entertainment metaverse centred around Fortnite that extends beyond the game’s battle royale roots.

In a video posted to social media, a brief concept image is shown of what resembles a virtual Disney theme park and includes the likes of Stark Industries (Marvel), Monster’s, Inc. (Pixar) and Lucasfilm (Star Wars). Therefore, it’s easy to imagine a virtual Fortnite-powered “Disneyland” of sorts in which players can interact with iconic Disney brands. This would also be an extension of the existing Fortnite experience, which allows you to play as Disney-owned characters like Spider-Man, Darth Vader and Indiana Jones.

A release window for the new “universe” wasn’t specified, with the teaser video simply saying “soon(ish).” Nonetheless, this is a major deal between two entertainment giants. In fact, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted in the press release that the Epic partnership marks “Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games.”

While the company has a long history in games through licensing deals with the likes of Electronic Arts (Star Wars), PlayStation (Marvel’s Spider-Man) and Square Enix (Kingdom Hearts), it doesn’t own game development studios like rival Hollywood studios Sony and Warner Bros.

Therefore, this deeper Epic Games partnership will allow the company to reach Fortnite‘s massive audience — which can reach as high 100 million monthly players — with its litany of iconic brands. Outside of Fortnite, Disney also works with Epic to license its Unreal Engine to make games like Kingdom Hearts and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and even the Disney+ series The Mandalorian.

Image credit: Disney/Epic

Source: Disney

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