Disney will invest $1.5 billion in Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, the company announced on Wednesday. As part of the initiative, Disney and Epic Games will create a brand new “games and entertainment universe” over the next few years, Disney said in a statement.
“Our exciting new relationship with Epic Games will bring together Disneys beloved brands and franchises with the hugely popular Fortnite in a transformational new games an entertainment universe,” wrote Disney CEO Bob Iger in the statement. “This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion.”
Players will be able to “play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, and more” in the new entertainment universe, which will be powered by Epic’s flagship Unreal Engine. Disney currently uses Unreal Engine to produce movies, video games, and content used in Disney theme parks around the world. It has also partnered with Epic Games previously to bring characters from Marvel, Tron, and Star Wars to Fortnite.
Neither company disclosed how much the valuation of Epic Games, a private company, would be after Disney's investment. Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent currently owns 40 percent of Epic Games, while Sony owns just over 5 percent.
“[We] are collaborating on something entirely new to build a persistent, open and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in the statement. “Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of bringing their worlds together with ours in Fortnite[.]”