Disney announced that it will invest $1.5 billion to take an equity stake in Epic Games, marking its most substantial venture into the gaming space to date. CEO Bob Iger announced this strategic move on Wednesday, emphasizing Disney’s commitment to expanding its presence in the gaming industry.
The collaboration between Disney and the renowned Fortnite studio aims to develop innovative games and establish an expansive entertainment universe. This immersive platform will allow consumers to “play, watch, shop, and engage with content, characters, and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, and more,” as stated in Disney’s press release.
While the financial details of Epic Games’ valuation post-Disney’s funding were not disclosed, Bob Iger described this investment as “probably our biggest foray into the game space ever” during an interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. He highlighted the strategic importance of this move, aligning it with current demographic trends and the preferences of Generation Alpha, Generation Z, and millennials in terms of media consumption.
This partnership builds upon Disney’s previous successes in licensing popular figures like Spider-Man for blockbuster video games. The collaboration with Epic Games has already resulted in bringing beloved characters from Marvel, Star Wars, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Tron,” and more into the Fortnite universe.
Epic Games, known for its major collaborations, has recently partnered with Lego for a survival crafting game within the Fortnite platform, reminiscent of the popular game Minecraft. Additionally, they introduced the Fortnite Festival, a rhythm game developed by Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band.
Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney expressed the significance of Disney’s involvement, stating, “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. 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 strategic investment signals Disney’s dedication to staying at the forefront of the evolving gaming industry and creating a seamless integration of its iconic characters and stories into the virtual world. The collaboration between Disney and Epic Games holds the promise of delivering unique and engaging experiences for gamers across generations.