Disney and Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, have announced an ambitious partnership to develop what they describe as an "expansive and open games and entertainment universe." This groundbreaking collaboration is underscored by Disney's investment of $1.5 billion for an equity stake in Epic Games.
Although specific details of the project are currently limited, Disney's vision for this metaverse-like initiative encompasses a world-class gaming experience that will interoperate with Fortnite. This new universe is set to offer an extensive range of activities for users, including opportunities to play, watch, shop, and engage with a wide array of content spanning Disney's vast portfolio, which includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, and more. It aims to empower players and fans to create their own narratives and experiences, celebrate their fandom in unique Disney ways, and share content in a community-driven environment, all powered by Epic's Unreal Engine.
This initiative bears similarities to Epic's previous collaboration with Lego, which followed a $2 billion investment from Sony and KIRKBI. This partnership led to the launch of Lego Fortnite, marking a significant evolution in Fortnite's development beyond its battle royale origins to become a platform for diverse games and experiences.
Disney and Fortnite have a history of collaboration, with numerous characters from Star Wars, Marvel, and other Disney franchises making appearances in Fortnite. In 2020, Fortnite even hosted an entire season themed around Marvel characters.
Despite both companies recently scaling back their metaverse and workforce initiatives—with Disney disbanding its dedicated metaverse division and Epic reducing its workforce by 16 percent—this partnership represents a significant move by Disney into the gaming sector. Disney CEO Bob Iger expressed excitement about the venture, emphasizing the potential for growth and new ways for fans to engage with Disney stories. Epic's Tim Sweeney highlighted the collaborative effort to create a new, persistent, open, and interoperable ecosystem that brings together the best of Disney and Fortnite.
Details regarding the launch date of this metaverse are yet to be disclosed. However, the collaboration has already announced an upcoming Mandalorian-themed update for Rocket League, indicating that the partnership is already bearing fruit. This ambitious project promises to redefine the way fans interact with their favorite Disney narratives and characters in the digital realm.