Disney, Epic Games to create a new entertainment universe

Disney characters would migrate into Fortnite as part of the 1.5-billion-dollar deal.

The Walt Disney Company will invest 1.5 billion US dollars in Epic Games, an American video game and software developer and publisher, as part of a multiannual project that sees the integration of Disney stories and characters into the popular gaming universe "Fortnite".

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According to a Disney statement, the future universe as a result of this synergy “will offer 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 fantasies in a distinctly Disney way, and share content with each other.

The project, which sees the migration of Disney’s portfolio of brands and franchises into the hugely-popular Fortnite, will be powered by Unreal Engine, a series of 3D computer graphics game engines developed by Epic Games. 

Robert A. Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, noted that the acquisition of a stake in Epic Games would be “Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion.”

“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,” Iger was quoted as saying in the statement.

So far, Disney and Epic Games have engaged hundreds of millions of players through Fortnite content integrations, season collaborations, in-game activations, and live events, including the Marvel Nexus War with Galactus, which drew more than 15.3 million concurrent players.

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Unreal Engine meanwhile was used to produce assets and content across the Disney portfolio including in the development of video games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor; in cinematic editing and animation for film and streaming; and in the creation of more than 15 Disney Parks attractions like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

This all builds on Epic Games’ participation in the 2017 Disney Accelerator program, which supports technology for entertainment innovation initiatives.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

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