Disney invests USD $1.5 billion in Fortnite creator Epic Games

Disney will reportedly work with the Fortnite team on a new games and entertainment universe.
disney epic games investment

Disney has invested USD $1.5 billion in Fortnite maker Epic Games, with the aim to work with the studio on a new games and entertainment universe using Disney IP. In its announcement post, Disney described the investment as a collaboration to “further expand the reach of beloved Disney stories and experiences.”

It has praised Epic Games for its work on Fortnite and its persistent universe, which will serve as a basis for “a multitude of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more.”

“Players, gamers and fans will be able to create their own stories and experiences, express their fandom in a distinctly Disney way, and share content with each other in ways that they love,” Disney said. As described, the new Epic Games-powered Disney universe will be built in Unreal Engine – and based on concept art, it will seemingly resemble a virtual Disneyland.

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Image: Disney

“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,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said. “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.”

Notably, this is the largest Disney investment in the world of video games since the collapse of the in-house Disney Interactive Studios, and the shuttering of its Disney Infinity franchise – which arguably had similar goals to Fortnite, in its approach to a shared universe filled with Disney characters.

“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,” Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder, Epic Games said. “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.”

While Epic Games and Disney have yet to clarify the nature of their shared project, it appears it will be a new game within Fortnite‘s “open ecosystem” where players will be able to explore and engage with Disney’s worlds. Based on early concept art, its plans involve segmented virtual lands themed around franchises including Wreck-It Ralph, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Star Wars, as well as other content related to ESPN, Lucasfilm, and Disney+.

For now, plans are being kept under wraps – but stay tuned for more details as the Disney and Epic Games project develops.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.